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Let's Try to Make Southern Accents Great Again

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Dogs On The Runūüźĺ on¬†the album is one of my most beloved of their songs. I'm saying, yeah, sure, maybe¬†playing it using¬†a different form / arrangement could also¬†work.¬†

ps Anyone else read a blog written by one of the 3 brass players? (Consider it for a holiday read.)

image.jpeg.4198a0582787ba5d558751a97b61293c.jpeg

Anecdotes about: how they were asked to join the Southern Accents tour; their contributions to life on the road; first part of the tour including Florida; & playing in Live Aid. 

https://ztribe.com/tom-petty-live-aid-bob-dylan/

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4 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

Dogs On The Runūüźĺ

I think Dogs and Mary's New Car could've both worked with slightly different arrangements and production and no horns. Well, I think they both work but there feels like they could've been shorter. I also think the album suffers from not enough gritty rock songs. That's where Walkin' From the Fire would've been good and maybe another one or two. Maybe they should've just changed the album title from Southern Accents; it really does give the wrong impression.

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W

10 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I think Dogs and Mary's New Car could've both worked with slightly different arrangements and production and no horns. Well, I think they both work but there feels like they could've been shorter. I also think the album suffers from not enough gritty rock songs. That's where Walkin' From the Fire would've been good and maybe another one or two. Maybe they should've just changed the album title from Southern Accents; it really does give the wrong impression.

Oh indeed? So what are some other possible album titles? 

Bearing in mind that the song Southern Accents is not too bad as songwriting goes. :wub:

 

PS read about the horn section & the cigarettes yet?

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1 hour ago, Big Blue Sky said:

So what are some other possible album titles? 

 

Northern Accents

Dave Stewart's Revenge

Not A Concept Album

Damning The Torpedoes With Faint Praise

Walk Don't Run From The Fire

Sweet & Sour Dreams

Still Life With Scythe

Trailer Is Not On This Record

Mary's New & Used Car Lot

DCAHNM

and my favorite:

1 hour ago, Big Blue Sky said:

horn section & the cigarettes

 

cheers

 

 

 

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^^^ too funny! 

Images for album sleeve design? 

  • X-Ray of the pulverised hand because of Rebels? This one below is actually surfer Kelly Slater's foot (as all the hand X-rays available online were just too appalling & horrible).

image.jpeg.c530eeffdd9e4da9340f3ec9234474f2.jpeg

  • This?¬†

image.jpeg.abfb0626de686dbf4a87a30cae5f4005.jpeg

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At the end of the day it's okay that this album was never fully realized because the Drive-By Truckes Southern Rock Opera would surpass the idea as a concept album and make it, well, a rock opera lol. Seriously check it out. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are amazingly underrated in their work and Hood was the one who wrote that great article about Tom after his death and calling TPATH and REM the two greatest southern rock bands ever. He ain't wrong. Except in the fact he didn't mention DBT

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Thanks for your recommendation - I just read his article & am so moved by his thoughts. (I'm on holiday, so I have time!) Incredibly articulate too, given how soon after the event he  would've been writing.  If it's okay, let me quote one paragraph in full, where he's talking about the album Southern Accents. He's an honorary Farmer, saying this:

  • "For whatever shortcomings that album might have, it contained possibly the greatest song anyone has ever written about our conflicted home region.¬†Southern Accents¬†is in itself a master class¬†in writing. It¬†is another of his absolutely Perfect Songs. The song is both personal, dealing with the then-recent death of his beloved mother, and universal in its portrait of the conflicts and duality es of the Deep South, as it sat on the cusp of a new and (we hoped) enlightened age."

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On January 2, 2019 at 9:38 AM, Big Blue Sky said:

Anecdotes about: how they were asked to join the Southern Accents tour; their contributions to life on the road; first part of the tour including Florida; & playing in Live Aid. 

https://ztribe.com/tom-petty-live-aid-bob-dylan/

I think someone posted this link on here a while ago but I checked it out again and I think my opinion is roughly the same. I'm glad he wasn't worshipful of Dylan...that's ridiculous. And I say this not just because I dislike his singing and music but just because I think that kind of awe is wrong overall. At the same time, it's wrong to shake a port-o-potty and make someone piss on themselves.

As for his jokes, I give Tom a lot of credit for not firing him and being patient. At the same time, I thought he'd at least confess to spare Howie. Of all people to pick on in that moment! Poor Howie.

Anyway, this type of thing, behind the scenes of a tour would be a very interesting book, tackling memorable shows what the band thought, how Tom did sets, what the other band thought of the song selection and jamming and of course, memorable tour stories.

That's my take Big Blue Sky.

cheers

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Apparently that's him playing harmonica on Eurythmics' Missionary Man. Even a YouTube clip of Missionary Man Live Revenge Tour 1987. 

Yes, always interesting to hear other people's points of view about their experiences, not just the "official" story.

Even just little snippets! I can't remember now where I read this, but it was by a musician in a band. They were super excited because their manager confirmed that they'd be TPATH's opening band on next tour & they're huge fans though they'd never actually met anyone from TPATH. Anyway, soon afterwards, this musician's feeling pretty good about life & is watching another band at a gig. He's in a sort of private curtained-off space to the side of the stage. There's a tap on his shoulder, but he's focused, so he puts up his hand (stop that!) without taking his eyes off show. Song finishes. He turns to see who it was & if they're still there.  It's... Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench... both smiling at him. He melts down in combined embarrassment & fandom & barely stammers out hello. (I might have misremembered - but it's such a fine anecdote!)

 

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13 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

Yes, always interesting to hear other people's points of view about their experiences, not just the "official" story.

 Yes, I think there's an audience out there for these types of books; I'm not even talking about the salacious element because I get it, groupies, sex etc. Who cares. But what life was like on the road, interactions, practical jokes, special moments, songs written on the road, set list arguments, memorable shows and experiences, well...that would be interesting and largely ignored. I much prefer Zollo's book to Zane's but neither really did too much with the live element and the one thing that stood out from Zane's was the collapse of Mike and Stan's friendship.

So there's a lot of (great) wide open territory there.

ciao

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On 12/29/2018 at 8:06 PM, Big Blue Sky said:

Nice! Agree - Dogs On The Run without so many horns'd sound good too.  

And are you thinking of adding those 2 tracks onto the existing album Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) or redesigning it too?

I wouldn't want to redesign Let Me Up. Just add them. 

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When I think about it now, the difference between Southern Accents and Let Me Up, perhaps the two weakest albums in public perception (if anyone really even thinks about these records outside of this place) is that I'm more apt to return and give Let Me Up another listen, overall the songs seem to be of higher quality, there's just something off to me in the order, rarely do I listen to the whole record from beginning to end. SA has the weaker songs, two definite highpoints (it Ain't and Dont' Come Around) and a near miss of an anthem in Rebels. 

But Let Me Up for all its spontaneous songwriting (on some tracks anyway) has a more experimental feel despite the two above mentioned high oints on SA. Let me Up seems like a weird album, not just from the combination of slicker pieces and off-the-cuff songs but in some of the structure as well. It'll All Work Out is tender in a unique way for the band, followed immediately by the strange funkiness of My Life/Your World, an interesting combo. 

Now that I wrote this out, A Self Made Man feels like Spike on steroids, both have a countryish jaunty feel, both seem to be mocking the subject of their songs and both have potent choruses. Maybe these albums have more in common than at first glance...and yet the strange twists and turns hold more appeal than the more poppy, brass and woodwind style of the attempted concept album.

cheers

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6 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Southern Accents and Let Me Up, perhaps the two weakest albums in public perception 

Not sure about that. I'd say that among the classic rock crowd, SA still is a bit of a classic album, while LMU may indeed be quite overlooked. (And frankly I think it was from the start, all things considered, and that may have shaped its' legacy.) Also, certainly Last DJ or even Echo may be viewed as being as obscure, unknown, or even "weak" albums "in public perception". Generally people have a low level awareness of the post Wildflowers Tom Petty catalogue. (And here again we touch upon the subject of why Tom wanted to keep his live gigs so focused on the Greatest Hits album and the first 20 years of recordings. Now, I managed to say that without using the s word. Marvel!) 

Perhaps paradoxically to your views of the two initially mentioned albums, I would guess that most rock fans at least know that SA exists, while LMU perhaps is more of a ghost album in many people's minds.. I don't know. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Shelter said:

SA still is a bit of a classic album

Wow, interesting. Never knew that nor would the record seem like it. Damn the Torpedoes seems like the go-to for the classic classic rock record for the band. Southern Accents seems like the record with the good cover, the attempt at a concept record and the one with the horns and that cool single with that video. 

2 hours ago, Shelter said:

Also, certainly Last DJ or even Echo may be viewed as being as obscure, unknown, or even "weak" albums "in public perception". 

Yes.

2 hours ago, Shelter said:

Generally people have a low level awareness of the post Wildflowers Tom Petty catalogue. (And here again we touch upon the subject of why Tom wanted to keep his live gigs so focused on the GreÔĽŅatest Hits album and the first 20 years of recordings. Now, I managed to say that without using the s word. Marvel!)¬†

It nearly got ya though! Teeth snapping, catching air.

I think SA and LMU are part of that pre-Wildflowers catalog that is largely a blind spot. Do others think the same about SA that it has some classic status outside of debates on a place like this? 

2 hours ago, Shelter said:

I would guess that most rock fans at least know that SA exists, while LMU perhaps is more of a ghost album in many people's minds.. I don't know. 

I can see that largely because of DCAHNM. Jamming Me never attained such status, didn't even make the Greatest Hits, which would've elevated it for sure. I still think it belongs on there between DCAHNM and Won't Back or Free Fallin', whatever the order is. 

I just think LMU is the more interesting record to go back and listen to, that individually the song's have more interesting takes, twists, turns than SA, so much so the record has hijacked the SA thread...!

cheers

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On 1/2/2019 at 6:38 AM, Big Blue Sky said:

ps Anyone else read a blog written by one of the 3 brass players? (Consider it for a holiday read.)

Yeah a good while ago; I know someone who knew Zavala back in the day (i.e. around the same time that he worked with TPATH) and says he was pretty much out of control but because he was a good player he worked a lot.  But he usually got those jobs because he had partied with various people.

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So I'm in the middle of reading the new 33 1/3 book on Southern Accents. It's good. Both Ben and Mike were interviewed for the book, and it's neat to hear their thoughts looking back on it. Of all of Tom's albums, why are we still drawn back to this one?...in equal part frustration and fascination. To me, it makes a ton of sense that of all his albums to analyze, that the author would've picked SA.

It further breaks down the southern mystique, and discusses where Tom got it right and where Tom got it wrong. He talks at length about how Tom doubled down on the Confederate Battle Flag concept and imagery after the album came out...putting it T-shirts, stage backdrop, tour program, coat with flag lining, and wearing it on a trucker hat around this time in vidoes, etc.

He comes away saying that it's a deeply flawed record..basically a failed attempt for a myriad of reasons (the band members agree they didn't achieve what they set out to do). Many of which we know and have discussed at length here. Drug problems. Self producing it. Home studio. Dave Stewart. Losing vision and concept. Recording frustrations on top of recording frustrations. Demo envy. Tom's broken hand. Tom hearing The Boys of Summer. Doh!

What might be most fascinating is in essence the complete reinvention of Tom Petty, from the Gainesville Southerner of SA, to the California Dude of Full Moon Fever. Those album are night and day different in almost every way possible. Look at 1985 TP to 1989 TP....what happened!??

It does mention that they were looking at 26 tracks (!!!) for SA, and that when Iovine was finally called in, he pared it down to the 9 songs that we know. Going from 26 down to 9 is a huge jump! And of those 9, I would say a solid 4 are quite subpar. Not to mention it totally destroyed the idea of it being a double album. The whole thing comes out as a muddled mess. Ben says in the book, "it was the one that got away from us."

The author states that the core 5 songs that faithfully make up the core of SA are Rebels, DCAHNM, Dogs on the Run, Southern Accents and Spike. I can agree with that. So I'll start there and build the perfect SA album.

He mentioned that still fans (ahem...us) who are still to this day trying to piece this album together. To re-imagine it closer to Tom's original vision. To make it great again. Basically, we made it in the book.

Which immediately made me think of this thread. And I had to come up with my updated track list....AGAIN.

Side A:

1. Rebels

2. Spike

3. The Apartment Song (feat. Stevie Nicks)

4. Dogs on the Run

5. Casa Dega

6. Don't Come Around Here No More

Side B:

1. Trailer

2. Image of Me

3. Big Boss Man

4. Cracking Up

5. Walking From the Fire

6. Southern Accents

This feels closer to some sort of southern theme or idea. Supposedly, the album was to be based on the outlook and journey of a solo southerner (the character we discover in Rebels.) But is he mentioned or referenced anywhere else as the album unfolds? Maybe SA was never so much a southern "concept" album, as a southern "themed" album. An exploration of the American South. Maybe I can be done with my nagging restlessness to make this album work now....who knows, maybe not.

* I would add Casa Dega since it feels like it fits the mysterious southern theme and landscape, and it's such a moody song. Every time I listen to it, I think of how powerfully it would be a home on SA. And they would've had this song in the vaults by this time. They could've easily looked back into their inventory to see if they had anything that would fit along the way.

** If someone wants to create an actual playlist of this, I'd love to hear it in this order. Yes, that's an invitation :)

***Also, who knows, if there were 26 songs around this time to work with, how many haven't we heard yet? Maybe the "Revisiting SA" package that Adria mentioned would be super cool...finally creating a fuller picture & depth to this album that has been hidden or lost all these years....

 

 

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I really like the slide guitar live version of Southern Accents off of the Kiss my amp vol 2/ Live Anthology. Could have been an entirely different approach to the albums if they did more slide and less horns...   such a raw feel to the song in that version which seemed even more heartfelt somehow.  

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^^^^ Good point! 

Yeah, it's interesting how during some tours they promoted most, if not all, of their songs from their most recent albums. Like you say, petersdimples, this is the case for Southern Accents - playing everything except Mary's New Car.  With some albums it's obvious which songs they recorded but didn't play live... And so speculation begins ... maybe they didn't like those songs much... maybe those songs just didn't sound good live. Or whatever. 

According to stats in setlistfm site, they've played all the songs (at some time or another) on:

  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers¬†
  • The Last DJ.

And they played everything (except one song for each album) for:

  • You're¬†Gonna Get It
  • Damn The Torpedoes¬†
  • Full Moon Fever

Those three songs on the cutting room floor being Magnolia, You Tell Me or Zombie Zoo.  In an interview, TP said though people hold up signs asking for Magnolia, they'll never play it live because he was really forcing the muse, creating a song to offer Roger McGuinn, who didn't even want it in the end! I'm sure we've all read some :mellow: criticism of Zombie Zoo, although it's cute & has good harmonies, it just seems the poor cousin when compared to the rest of Full Moon Fever. As for You Tell Me, I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's just a mistake? 

And of course at the other extreme there's the whole album of Echo...

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On 4/24/2019 at 10:04 PM, Big Blue Sky said:

^^^^  With some albums it's obvious which songs they recorded but didn't play live... And so speculation begins ... maybe they didn't like those songs much... maybe those songs just didn't sound good live. Or whatever. 

I always liked to predict what songs on each new album would go in the live show. When Hypnotic Eye came out, I was sure that "All You Can Carry" would be in there, right around the place that "Out in the Cold" was on the Great Wide Open tour. I was wrong.

Its also interesting to see songs like "All or Nothing" or "Fault Lines" get pulled out one or two times early in the tour and then shelved.

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