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MaryJanes2ndLastDance

Recently listened to Pack up the Plantation

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It's such an odd live album, instead of a full show, it's spliced together from different locations. Instead of a lot of songs from Southern Accents, there's three. Five songs are covers, nearly half the album!

 There's a horn section that blares across almost everything. It's just such a strange record. Why have Needles and Pins follow the upbeat energy of So You Want To Be...? The audience singing the opening to Breakdown is good and I like the long version except for Tom's improv, it's fun to hear once and then gets old.

Back to the horns. Why are they on here? Perhaps they should've been relegated to a few songs but they're so loud and don't offer much. The ending to Refugee has them playing the rhythm and their sound jars with Mike's guitar solo. The thing is, having listened to so many TPATH live shows, ironically the horns offer up something different which is very welcome at this point. 

For me, the centerpiece is It Ain't Nothin' To Me. Just a great version, with interesting guitar solo from Mike and inspired playing from Benmont. 

It's good to have a big extended song at the end, but they should've thrown Dog on the Run  here instead. This version of Shout reminds me too much of Gloria and Breakdown from earlier in the album, too much Tom talking, not enough pure instrumental chaos. 

While I don't care for covers generally, So You Want To Be is a fun uptempo song, Stories We Could Tell seems fitting to close out a live album with some good singing and Don't Bring Me Down shows a heavier part of the band which I enjoy.

Every so often I throw this album on to see how it sounds and each time I find my opinion pretty much remains the same, acceptance on the horns based on how much I want to hear something new from the band in a live setting and the brass are pretty much the one true departure they've taken in concert.

What do the rest of you think?

 

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1. So You Want To Be A Rock 'N Roll Star - I like it. It's one of those songs that seems like it should be better (same w/ Byrds' original) and I cannot put my finger on why I feel that way... it's a good opener. I've seen you describe "Wildflowers" as a pretty good song that lasts 3 minutes, but feels like twice that length. That kind of sums up how I feel about this one.

2. Needles and Pins - Not going to lie, I love this cover. Everything about it. I don't agree that it halts momentum, at least not for me.

3. The Waiting - I love the original, but like "Rebels", I feel like it's a song that works best either really rocking out, or softer like this. Great version of a great song.

4. Breakdown - Loved your assessment of this one, MJ2LD. It's a bit long but I don't mind that, the seemingly-endlessly improv was an odd choice for an album. One of several choices made that make PUTP an album that I almost never listen to front-to-back.

5. American Girl - Phenomenal cover. Not much to say about it, it's a slightly rockier version of the original with few real changes. 

6. It Ain't Nothin' To Me - Very underrated song. I get bored sometimes towards the end when I'm not in the mood for it, but I do think it's a real improvement over the (still great) studio version from SA.

7. Insider - One of my top five TPATH songs ever. Lyrically I'm not sure Tom has ever done better. His mellower stuff has always appealed to me, and I'm glad he held onto this one rather than SDMHA. Goes to show you how great Petty is, the fact that he just give away a hit song almost as a favor. Prefer the Hard Promises version though.

8. Rockin' Around With You - Just a great song to jam out to. Really never heard another TPATH song quite like this one.

9. Refugee - Amazing, though them stretching out the slowest parts of certain songs has long been a pet peeve of mine... "You Wreck Me" comes to mind, but he kind of does that here too. Vocally the original is unmatched IMO.

10. Southern Accents - It felt extra. This song is at its most powerful when stripped down, but with it being a new song at the time I see why they felt the need to experiment. 

11. Rebels - Maybe my favorite song he's ever written, chorus gets me every time. It does feel like in recent years, Petty has finally shed his confusion as to the way this song is meant to be played. He seemed caught between midtempo, harder edge, softer etc. I love the Southern Accents version and this live one, but the song feels most "at home" and right with the acoustic.

12. Don't Bring Me Down - I like it but it made no real impression on me.

13. Shout - Come on man... it's 9 minutes of just pure skippability. It's not bad but it's probably been 15 years since I sat through the entire thing. What's the point, replace this with 2 WAY better non-covers. I don't hate it, there was just no reason for its inclusion.

14. Stories We Could Tell - Highlight of the album bar-none IMO. The song is inherently super-nostalgic, but the band ramps it up even more. It's a great closer and almost flawless.

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45 minutes ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

. Rebels - Maybe my favorite song he's ever written, chorus gets me every time. It does feel like in recent years, Petty has finally shed his confusion as to the way this song is meant to be played. He seemed caught between midtempo, harder edge, softer etc. 

 Wow, then this album definitely has some peaks for you. I'm curious to hear what a no frills, let's say, Mojo like take on the song would be like with an extended outro solo sans horns.

 It seemed to me like it was another attempt at writing Refugee, particularly with how it begins, instruments coming in one after the other. 

I think you're on about Tom really liking it in the stripped back acoustic versions he's played in recent years. It seems like once a song gets played like that, rarely does he bring it back to the electric, like Walls, etc.

42 minutes ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

4. Stories We Could Tell - Highlight of the album bar-none IMO. The song is inherently super-nostalgic, but the band ramps it up even more. It's a great closer and almost flawless.

 They really documented something special with this song, I've never heard the original but it does fill one with longing.

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1 hour ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

13. Shout - Come on man... it's 9 minutes of just pure skippability. It's not bad but it's probably been 15 years since I sat through the entire thing. What's the point, replace this with 2 WAY better non-covers. I don't hate it, there was just no reason for its inclusion.

 It's why I think Dog on the Run with Ron Blair bass solo would've been good, not only was it an original but a rarely heard one on no official albums and supplied a more exciting big finish song to the record. Since this live album is a patchwork anyway, why not pull out something from the past? 

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Oh man... Dog on the Run deserved an album spot at some point, and I'm still holding out hope that one day they'll do it. A revised and expanded "Playback" style release in the future would be great.

It would be nice if the only live album released by the Lynch-era HBs (sans Blair) featured more original songs by the band. 5 covers out of 14 was not a move I would have made. 3 out of 15 sounds a lot better. IMO keep the first two and Stories, replace "Don't Bring Me Down" and "Shout" with "Dog on the Run" and maybe leave "I Need To Know" and "You Got Lucky" (?) in there like the video release supposedly had? Not sure why they would pull them out, especially when they otherwise had no problems picking and choosing songs from different live shows.

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It's no secret that I am not overly crazy about this album. The video/film version is a great watch.. as in time piece.. eh... you know.. But overall I find the song selection and the sound and arrangements to be considerably less interesting than say the 1982 tour or the 1987 sets that it followed and was followed by. While this 1985 piece feels extremely dated at times, a live album from any of those surrounding tours - or even from the 1989 tour would've been a classic to this this day, I think. So, why indeed it's ironic and a bit too bad that this is the official live document off Stan. Still it is kinda fun, somehow, that they got themselves documented at their most "80s". The rooftop stuff from the same era, from the documentary, is far more interesting as far as 1985 stuff goes, but in part that may be due to the photage..

However. There are a few exceptions to this general uninterest of mine. And CrescentMoonFever are on to them all.

15 hours ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

2. Needles and Pins - Not going to lie, I love this cover. Everything about it. I don't agree that it halts momentum, at least not for me.

Yes. One of the most underrated covers, or songs in general, on a TP album. And perhaps today it's a little known fact that this was actually a single release - ah, live singles, those were the days! - and quite successful at that. I absolutely love this song and this version. Definately a defining moment for TPATH in terms of roots, legacy and tribute. Halts nothing!

15 hours ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

7. Insider - One of my top five TPATH songs ever. Lyrically I'm not sure Tom has ever done better. His mellower stuff has always appealed to me, and I'm glad he held onto this one rather than SDMHA. Goes to show you how great Petty is, the fact that he just give away a hit song almost as a favor. Prefer the Hard Promises version though.

Well, yeah. It's hard to argue with the album version of this masterpiece. But still. It was still a fairly current song at the time, and the version is quite great. Totally an overlooked song in the live set as far as slower material goes, at least a must each time Stevie shows up, imo. (Hyde Park 2017, common!!!!)

15 hours ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

14. Stories We Could Tell - Highlight of the album bar-none IMO. The song is inherently super-nostalgic, but the band ramps it up even more. It's a great closer and almost flawless.

Yes. Another one of those "defining moments", in my book. They really nail this one and it's so perfect down their alley, one of few songs that absolutely benefits from this particular era, the arrangements and the temper. One of the few songs they ever did that I think - while great and timeless and all - perhaps would not be bettered, or even equal, had they tried it today. Not sure..

 

2 hours ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

Oh man... Dog on the Run deserved an album spot at some point, and I'm still holding out hope that one day they'll do it.

It did get an album spot! On the UK promo version of "Official Live Leg". It totally rips it! To have that one and Luna on the same live disc is almost more than my mind can take. Needless to say, that is a good thing. But sure.. that was what.. 40 years ago.. so sure, I too hope that one day they'll do it again! (And Luna too!!)

Oh.. wait.. you meant studio album? That too!

 

 

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17 hours ago, CrescentMoonFever said:

13. Shout - Come on man... it's 9 minutes of just pure skippability. It's not bad but it's probably been 15 years since I sat through the entire thing. What's the point, replace this with 2 WAY better non-covers. I don't hate it, there was just no reason for its inclusion.

 

Hey, I was there.  Definitely not something to skip.  This song has become a cliche by now but back then it was the ultimate party song.  And give the Heartbreakers credit, they were doing "Shout" before Animal House came out.  It was their usual encore from 1977 to 1983 so to me it would have been a major omission if they didn't include it.

Live albums had kinda fallen out of favor by this time, they didn't fit well on the radio next to the slickly-produced music of the time.  I don't know but I think that might have something to do with how this album was mixed, like they wanted it to play like a studio album.  Same sort of thing ruined Springsteen's Live 1975/85, they took recordings of one of the greatest live bands and made it sound bland.  I wish I woulda worked for a record company.  I would have been Vice President in Charge of Not Letting People Fuck Things Up.  Imagine all the live albums and box sets I could have saved.

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