OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They first covered Powderfinger here. Also Big Rock Candy Mountain and The Beat Generation
LINEUP: Jerry Raney, Buddy Blue, Country Dick Montana, Rolle Dexter
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: EP recorded and release as a parting gift to Rhino is a fun affair from cut one to six.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After the underground success of their first album, the major labels came calling for the Beat Farmers, but they threw Rhino a bone by giving them this six-song EP.
One cut, “Powderfinger”, showed up on their second full album (in a different arrangement). The record also has three great originals (the highlight is Blue’s title track), a cover of “Beat Generation” by Rod McKuen, which was the precursor to Richard Hell’s most famous song, and “Big Rock Candy Mountain” with the real, original lyrics – that ain’t something you sing at summer camp.
Six songs, all killer, no filler.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original “Big Rock Candy Mountain” mentioned cigarettes, alcohol, not changing your socks, and lakes of stew. It was a song for hobos. Heh.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: This is now appended to Van Go on many CDs.
GRADE: A: A must have for anyone who loves roots rock.
ARTIST: The Beat Farmers TITLE: Tales of the New West YEAR RELEASED: 1985 CHART ACTION: No SINGLES: Bigger Stones OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Happy Boy! Happy Boy! Happy Boy! LINEUP: Country Dick Montana, Jerry Raney, Rolle Dexter, Buddy Blue WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: San Diego bar-band makes a good rootsy bar-band album, with two great tunes from the mouth of Country Dick.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Three well-chosen covers (Springsteen, Lou Reed and a great John Stewart song) and seven decent originals would have given this record a B, a good mark for a bar band with some chops and a sense of humor on their first outing.
Then there’s California Kid.
Then there’s Happy Boy. Hubba-hubba-hubba-hubba-hubba.
Two fantastic showcases for Country Dick Montana, the basso profundo drummer who came out from behind the traps to deliver his serenades.
I can’t say enough about those songs. They enhance the record so much.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Country Dick’s real name is Daniel Monte McLain. Before forming the Beat Farmers, he led Country Dick & the Snuggle Bunnies.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple. Both of them have the next EP appended to it (I’ll review it separately) and one has some demos for their next record and some live songs, including a deranged version of Mondo.
GRADE: A-: Like I said, a solid B, then add two legendary Country Dick songs.