Friday, May 22, 2009

Absolutely Sweet Marie by Jason and the Scorchers

I have been working on a post about Jason and the Scorchers for over a week. When I heard their cover of Absolutely Sweet Marie on Outlaw Country yesterday, I knew it was time to get back to the keyboard.

In 1983, I heard one of my favorite Dylan songs on an album by a Nashville band called Jason and the Scorchers. I was completely blown away by their version. It is not easy to take on a Dylan song from Blonde on Blonde. Those songs are so definitive that most covers sounds like wedding band material. After hearing Sweet Marie, I bought the album and I was not disappointed with the rest of the cuts.

 Formed in 1981, Jason and the Scorchers were a Nashville based band that pioneered the punk/country sound that predated all of the alt-country bands. Led by Jason Ringenberg, their energetic live shows and inventive covers of rock and country classics made them popular with critics and country music fans. They released Fever in 1983 and Lost and Found in 1985. These are now available on a a single CD.

Besides the Dylan song, they play a great cover of Hank Sr's Lost Highway, which sounds like Hank on steroids.  Several original songs by Ringenberg also deserve mentioning. Harvest Moon, Hot Nights in Georgia, and Pray For Me Mama are well written and and show off the energy and style of the band. 

Unfortunately, the band was probably a little ahead of their time and they broke up in 1990. If you like your country with a little harder edge, I would recommend this CD. It is available on iTunes and from Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Next to Hendrix' "All along the Watchtower," Jason and the (Nashville) Scorchers' version of "Absolutely..." is my hands down favorite Dylan cover. Thanks for telling folks about this awesome cover version and this awesome band!