Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jason and the Scorchers - Absolutely Sweet Marie

This is the second appearance on the blog for Jason and the Scorchers (JATS), as "White Lies" showed up on ERV in April 2012.  As we pointed out then, Jason and the Scorchers is one of the great unknown country rock bands of the 1980's.  The band produced a catalog of stellar cow punk (country rock), but never found their audience.  In my view, they were just a bit ahead of their time, and as has been mentioned several times on ERV, country rock bands had a particularly difficult time breaking through in the eighties.

For the second JATS video, we went with "Absolutely Sweet Marie" from the band's 1983 EP Fervor.  This was the record that really placed them on the map, and it was a critical darling to boot.  The New York Times rated it the EP of the year, the Village Voice placed it third on the critics poll, and Rolling Stone gave it a four star review. How's that for impressive?

The lead single was a re-worked cover of Bob Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie" this is truly marvelous.  As an aside, Dylan remains a wonderful artist to cover, as he wrote a truckload of great songs, many of which were not huge commercial successes.  The video did show up on MTV for a time, but the single did not chart, and the EP only reached #116 on the charts.

Jason and the Scorchers would go on to release three LPs during the 1980's before breaking up in 1990.  The band periodically re-formed several times since then, most recently in 2010-11 when they recorded a new album (Halcyon Times) and toured to support it.  It is not clear what the current status of the band is, as drummer/songwriter Perry Baggs died of complications from diabetes in 2012.

Here is the JATS version of "Absolutely Sweet Marie:"



And the Bob Dylan original ...


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