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The Name Above the Title

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With The Name Above The Title, John Wesley Harding paid even greater tribute to Elvis Costello than his studio debut Here Comes the Groom. It isn’t so much the vocal similarities as the stylistic touches. The horn-fired “The World (And All Its Problems),” the claustrophobic rumble of “Fifty Fifty Split,” the sweet balladry of “The Movie Of Your Life,” and the rhythmic punctuation of “I Can Tell (When You’re Telling Me Lies)” all borrow in subtle ways from the metrics and deliveries that Costello had mastered in the previous decade. That said, these are strong compositions no matter who has written and performed them and if Harding doesn’t quite establish his own distinctive style here, he still shows a mastery of the basic songwriting concepts. A cover of Tommy James’ “Crystal Blue Persuasion” is one of Harding’s oddest moves and remains the biggest curiosity in his catalog. “The People’s Drug,” with its witty social observation, is more in line with Harding’s strengths and along with “The Person You Are” and “Long Dead Gone” among his strongest tunes to date.

Customer Reviews

The story behind the title.

So, Wes sent me a postcard asking for a suggestion for a name for the second album. If you've read the liner notes to his cd's, you'll know better his sense of humor. Anyway, I suggested "Insert Title Here", because I'm not quite as clever as him. This is what he chose. Arpita loves this album too. He still hasn't told me what the guy in "Driving In The Rain" died of. Crystal Blue Persuasion is perfection.

Easily one of his best

Crisp writing, beautiful arrangements, but some of the album sounds to slick for it's own good nonethelss, a fine effort by a true songwriter. Think Elvis Costello (Bruce Thomas plays bass here (Attractions) along with very tight backing bank) Think Elvis C. but more with a more bitter pop culture spin. The Movie of Your Life is my favorite track.


Born: October 22, 1965 in Hastings, East Sussex, England

Genre: Rock

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

John Wesley Harding may take his name from a Bob Dylan album and be a modern-day folksinger, but with the biting, cynical observations in his songs and a sharp sense of humor combined with winning melodies, he shows that his true forefathers are Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe with a hint of Billy Bragg. Far from being a follower or strict revivalist, however, Harding draws on a wide assortment of musical influences, pushing the boundaries of the all-too-often formulaic singer/songwriter tag to create...
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Top Albums and Songs by John Wesley Harding

The Name Above the Title, John Wesley Harding
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