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Country Club

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iTunes Review

There was always a neo-traditionalist strain of country running through the work of the Los Angeles punk group X, and John Doe’s vocals exuded that understated country charm. With the Canadian roots-rock group the Sadies providing the lean, mean, neo-traditionalist backing, Doe tries his hand at some serious country classics — Hank Williams’ “Take These Chains from My Heart,” Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” — and other lesser-knowns with positive results. Doe never tries to wring the anguish out of the situation. Instead, in the tradition of Ray Price or Willie Nelson, Doe allows the circumstances to play out and he reports back with a minimum of fuss, expressing his joys and disappointments in the pause of a note. Doe and the Sadies toss in an original apiece (with two brief instrumentals interspersed) that sound right at home. From Merle Haggard to Hank Snow and Elvis Presley, Doe pays tribute without fanfare but with charm and grace.

Customer Reviews

john does "country club" c.d.

ive been waiting for a c.d. like this...i dont listen to country music...but i like this

Terrific set of classic country covers from X/Knitters vocalist

John Doe’s penchant for country and roots has never been a secret. Though originally pegged as a punk rock singer with X, the acoustic spin-off Knitters and his solo work demonstrated he could sing effectively in quieter settings. Paired here with the Sadies, he capitulates fully to the classic country music that’s so clearly influenced him. Best of all, he sings in a relaxed style that unlocks new levels of tone and tempo. The Sadies, for their part, are as tight as the Nashville A-listers who originally cut these tunes behind Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and Bobby Bare. But as easily as they pick the original fiddle-and-steel instrumental “Ping Mountain Rag” and Western-tinged guitar hoedown “The Sudbury Nickel,” they also render “The Night Life” with enough atmosphere to suggest the debauchery of “House of the Rising Sun” and add a spacey edge to “’Till I Get it Right.” Doe proves himself not just a compelling singer, but an excellent stylist. He’s obviously a fan (and in some cases a student) of the originals, but he’s not slavishly devotional. He picks up on Carl Mann’s upbeat rockabilly treatment of “Take These Chains From My Heart” (which itself was quite distinct from Hank Williams’ and Ray Charles’ sorrowful takes), but converts the driving original into a bouncier country beat. His take on “(Now and Then) There’s a Fool Such as I” follows Hank Snow’s slow original (or even more closely, Jim Reeves’ cover) rather than Elvis’ upbeat take. This is everything that Doe’s fans have waited for over the years: a great set of songs filtered through effortless vocal performances and backed by the encyclopedic and tasteful chops of the Sadies. Like all great covers albums, this one will remind you of the original versions’ greatness without sending you scrambling to hear them. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Tracks mixed

11 is 12,


Born: 1954 in Decatur, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As one of the founding members of the Los Angeles punk band X, John Doe was one of the most influential figures in American alternative rock during the early '80s, but when he launched a solo career in the early '90s, he decided to pursue a rootsy, country-rock direction instead of continuing with punk. X's latter-day albums exhibited a rockabilly and country influence, but it wasn't until Doe's 1990 debut, Meet John Doe, that he recorded a pure country album. Meet John Doe was recorded during a...
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