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MaryJanes2ndLastDance

Thoughts on Playback

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Nice to see I've indirectly started a discussion!

Having spent the best part of the last week listening to Playback I only have good things to say about it. I'm a huge Southern Accents fan, but how on earth was Trailer left off the album?! Looking forward to dipping in and out of it a lot more in the future!

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I missed Since you said you loved me or forgot about it, either way it doesn't do much for me at all. Good musicianship, there are moments where I enjoy how the instruments blend together but it's a generic kind of a blues song.

 The difference between this and some of the songs on Mojo, are those seem to have more of a unique riff or chord progression, something like this sounds like a local bar band; I like local bar bands but expect more from a band of TPATH's caliber.

At the same time, it never made it onto an album. I think I like TPATH least when they try something like this, or aping Bob Dylan or coming across whiny Accused of Love; but when they come up with a slow or mellower song that has their own unique groove, like Breakdown, Luna or Don't Fade On Me their songs connect in a way those others don't.

Since you said you loved me sounds like more or less a local blues band could've come up with (though true they didn't) whereas Luna or Casa Dega sound like something only TPATH could've done.

In my opinion.

cheers

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Thoughts on thoughts. On Playback. What people think about, when they think about thoughts - on Playback - is the second half of it. The Playback fat. The first half is unthinkable, I suppose. Yet, I took your question to be about the whole release, it's merits and it's raison.. . It's not fair to review just half of it. Out of context. I felt like adding that just now, in case my post - in the light of everybody else's thoughts and ideas (on the second half of the box) - came across as too unspecific or too weird. By all means. It is weird. But please, then, remember that my first impulse was to review the first 3 discs only, in some kinda strike of balancing justice, to honor the thread. So far i havent seen anyone do that. Or even mentioning those discs in any actuall manner at all. How's that for weird. Just a thought. 

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36 minutes ago, Shelter said:

Thoughts on thoughts. On Playback. What people think about, when they think about thoughts - on Playback - is the second half of it. The Playback fat. The first half is unthinkable, I suppose. Yet, I took your question to be about the whole release, it's merits and it's raison.. . It's not fair to review just half of it. Out of context. I felt like adding that just now, in case my post - in the light of everybody else's thoughts and ideas (on the second half of the box) - came across as too unspecific or too weird. By all means. It is weird. But please, then, remember that my first impulse was to review the first 3 discs only, in some kinda strike of balancing justice, to honor the thread. So far i havent seen anyone do that. Or even mentioning those discs in any actuall manner at all. How's that for weird. Just a thought. 

I'm content reading anyone's thoughts on this release, be it the first three discs, last three, all six, the presentation, booklet, whatever. Thoughts on my opinions, or other's too.

I like the discussion. My focus was largely on the songs new to me at the time beyond the Big Jangle.

Hopefully others will join in on whatever angle interests them.

cheers

 

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15 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

To what extent did Denny Cordell & Shelter help TP, MC & BT grow as musicians? To what extent was Shelter losing its way & treating them as just another band? Sure, the retrospective discussion about those early days -in the documentary & books - paints Shelter in a positive light.  There are wonderful supportive aspects - like Cordell spending many evenings listening to music with TP & helping TP develop more of a critical listening ear across a wide range of music.  But same time, they basically jerked the musicians around,

Like giving them the pile of dollars upfront while getting TP to sign away his publishing rights. Like encouraging  Mudcrutch to play white-boy reggae while encouraging TP to work on his song-writing & unique sound. 

I think this could be its own topic. I've not followed their career enough beyond:

1-Cordell "sheltered" them, mentored them but was old school ripping them off.

1a-Jon Scott pushed the band at radio stations I think.

2-Tom gained his power/independence during recording of Refugee.

3-Eventually jumped ship to Warners for Wildflowers, leaving behind Greatest Hits (and box set?) as contracted obligations.

cheers

 

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On March 4, 2019 at 2:59 PM, RedfordCowboy said:

And didn't they release  "Though the Cracks" and "Nobodys Children" as stand alone "albums" a few years ago? Maybe just digitally, can't remember

I don't know but if they did what a deal! Though I'd add a few from "The Other Sides" as well.

Now that I'm typing this, I think I prefer discs 5 & 6 to Echo, the Last Dj and a lot of Mojo. 

On March 4, 2019 at 2:59 PM, RedfordCowboy said:

This song in particular feels like it could be a connector between 70's Mudcrutch and the early Heartbreakers.

 I see your point. This is the original band's last hurrah pretty much save for what else they have in their files. It's kind of like better versions of Let Me Up, a lot of these tracks feel happy in a way a lot of that album didn't. As a collection it's the band rocking out more than they would again till Hypnotic Eye. 

And there's all sorts of fun little oddities. And man, that funky You Come Through, what a song!

cheers

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1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I'm content

Right. I know that. Just.. To the extent some may not be, I merely put my original post in context, by pointing out what is not overly obvious from reading this thread (or hearing about Playback in general) - namely that the set is 6 discs, rather than the two or three generally assumed and talked about so fondly. It's easy to have some rare tracks steal the show, but what about the whole ticket? Doesn't anyone have thoughts on that? Rhetorically speaking. Of course they don't. And that - in big part - happens to be what informs my own thoughts on Playback. Again, just saying.

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1 minute ago, Shelter said:

It's easy to have some rare tracks steal the show, but what about the whole ticket? Doesn't anyone have thoughts on that?

Well, let's wait and see, perhaps others will chime in on this. But my opinion is, well...would the three discs of previously released album tracks/singles really generate that much conversation, from people who have heard them a lot? 

2 minutes ago, Shelter said:

Rhetorically speaking.

Oh. Whoops.

2 minutes ago, Shelter said:

Of course they don't. And that - in big part - happens to be what informs my own thoughts on Playback. Again, just saying.

Interesting. Are you implying or outright saying that the release itself was a mistake in presentation and track selection and the lack of interest for the first discs as a point of conversation or debate is proof of this; i.e. Playback as the first cash grab, forerunner to (possibly) AAT and The Best of Everything?

That's what it seems you're saying and if so, then I'd extrapolate that you think they should've just done a three (or two) disc set instead of offering up the same bunch of songs (with some album tracks) so soon after Greatest Hits? Laid at the foot of the record company and contracted obligations...

Certainly I think, had this come out now I'd be yelling CASHGRAB! But at the time I was perhaps more innocent.

If you also perhaps would like a discussion as to what tracks they picked for those first three and a discussion around that and the flow, the song choices made, how they worked together in this format I think that could be interesting too.

Though I think your focus is more on my earlier interpretation of what you said.

Well, like I said, I"m open to whatever angle people want to address on this set, I mean, before AAT, this was the largest bounty of unreleased or rare TPATH songs officially released and by my estimate, even better than some of the albums they'd record after this release. 

So maybe many more will jump in and share their thoughts, using any of your comments as a launching pad.

 We'll see, eh?

cheers

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And aside from all of that, first Cash Grab or forced Contracted Obligation or both, I'd like to hear more of your thoughts (and others) on the other sides/unreleased tracks as the songs are rarely to my knowledge discussed on here and despite whatever motivation behind the box set, that's a heck of a run of tunes to enjoy!

And If I've aimed for the Shelter bullseye but hit the wall instead I'm sure you'll let me know.

Ciao!

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I ❤️ all of the complete box set & what you call the "big ticket".

Took TPATH time & effort to curate those first 3. Which ones were included, which not. It's like they were choosing the significant songs from their earlier albums. But how did they decide which were significant, hmm? 

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When they were considering songs' significance & whether to include them in Playback, did they want an extended Greatest Hits?

  • Well, there are 20 songs on Greatest Hits. Criteria is usually chart success, big sales or songs that are iconic for the band in some way. 
  • Yeah, 20 in total, with 18 Tom Petty originals plus 2 more. Some Greatest Hits versions include Buffalo Springfield's Something In The Air while others include Stop Draggin My Heart. Technically Stop Draggin duet with Stevie Nicks is "her" release off Bella Donna album, even though we know it's 100% pure Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers through and through. 

Shall we now look at Playback?

  • Playback's first 3 albums have all those 18 TPATH songs plus 31 more Tom Petty songs & 1 cover (Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star).
  • In other words, only about 40% are Greatest Hits while about 60% of those first 3 albums are other songs from across all their albums / back catalog. 
  • 60% ain't padding out.... 60% means the songs off first three albums on Playback creates something that's a very different listening experience than we have when we put Greatest Hits on. 

🎩 You're welcome. 

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9 minutes ago, Big Blue Sky said:

When they were considering songs' significance & whether to include them in Playback, did they want an extended Greatest Hits?

  • Well, there are 20 songs on Greatest Hits. Criteria is usually chart success, big sales or songs that are iconic for the band in some way. 
  • Yeah, 20 in total, with 18 Tom Petty originals plus 2 more. Some Greatest Hits versions include Buffalo Springfield's Something In The Air while others include Stop Draggin My Heart. Technically Stop Draggin duet with Stevie Nicks is "her" release off Bella Donna album, even though we know it's 100% pure Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers through and through. 

Shall we now look at Playback?

  • Playback's first 3 albums have all those 18 TPATH songs plus 31 more Tom Petty songs & 1 cover (Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star).
  • In other words, only about 40% are Greatest Hits while about 60% of those first 3 albums are other songs from across all their albums / back catalog. 
  • 60% ain't padding out.... 60% means the songs off first three albums on Playback creates something that's a very different listening experience than we have when we put Greatest Hits on. 

🎩 You're welcome. 

Something in the air is by Thunderclap Newman.

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Language.

I'm sorry. 

& yes - Don't Bring Me Down is written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King. 

  • Playback's first 3 albums have all those 18 TPATH songs off Greatest Hits plus 29 more Tom Petty songs & 2 covers (Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star and Goffin/King's Don't Bring Me Down).
  • Breakdown is still about the same.  40% of songs on Playback being from Greatest Hits and a massive 60% of songs from other albums / back catalogue. 
  • That's not padding out a Greatest Hits. 

🎸🎹  You're still welcome. 

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19 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

whether to include them in Playback, did they want an extended Greatest Hits?

My guess is the record company wanted to hedge their bets and make more money; box set is pricier than a double album of unreleased songs. They had to "pad" it out with other songs besides singles. I really don't know how much the band or Tom had a say on it but overall, I think they or Drakoulias or whomever did a good job. For my taste I'd have swapped a few songs, Baby's Rock n roller, Anything that's rock-n-roll, A thing about you----out and threw on Criminal Kind, Nightwatchman, You Tell Me and Same Old You instead. Maybe Finding Out too.

Yes, I think they wanted an extended Greatest Hits.

cheers

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On March 6, 2019 at 5:06 AM, BobbyJames said:

Having spent the best part of the last week listening to Playback I only have good things to say about it.

Besides Trailer any other stand out tracks to you? And yes, I don't understand how a southern themed song didn't make the SOUTHERN CONCERT ALBUM!

cheers

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22 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Are you implying or outright saying that the release itself was a mistake in presentation and track selection and the lack of interest for the first discs as a point of conversation or debate is proof of this; i.e. Playback as the first cash grab, forerunner to (possibly) AAT and The Best of Everything?

I'm fairly certain the latter don't follow from the first with any necessity. Either way, I don't think I implied neither. (For the record, I wouldn't call any of said releases a "cash grab", from most view points.)

Contractual obligation, you say? Well, that was probably part of the reason behind the "why" aspect of this release. (Not that a why was really needed in that certain point in the TPATH career.) What's more interesting is the "how", isn't it? 

That said, it's difficult not to ponder the set up, the who, really, in 1995, was the target group -issue. It's one of the weirder nuts to crack, if you ask me. And you kinda did. 

That is, the sequencing as such is no problem (I don't think). Neither is the song selection. But who are in the market for 9 albums (+ one single track + one off christmas carol) sampled on 3 discs. "Nine albums is too much for me. Not consistent enough. Too much filler! But one disc highlights are not good enough either!!! I want more! Aarrgh" That guy. Mr 1/3. Mr I want Full Moon Fever and Into the Great Wide Open condensed to one perfect disc, please! And who are in the market for three discs of pure rarity extravaganza (minus a few obvious picks). I am. I admit it. The real aficionado. That guy. Who, then, seriously, cutting the c-rap, are in the market, wholeheartedly, honestly, for the whole nine yards - the rehash half as well as the refined specialties equally.. Are we talking some kinda eat anything and everything hog here. Good lard! You tell me..  (pun again) who they aimed for. It's all very interesting and mind tingling, surely. Still no one talks about it.

I guess that's about all I was implying or outright saying. That it's a hopeless bastard to characterize. So full of.. not quite everything. Is it too much? Is it not enough? I have no idea, but it sure hasn't granted those first three disc much legendary status.

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7 minutes ago, Shelter said:

but it sure hasn't granted those first three disc much legendary status.

All right. And I don't think anything will; but the latter three discs are quite the bounty. I think it was maybe also viewed as a farewell to MCA (?) RCA (?) as well since Tom jumped over to Warners. A clearing of the decks. Besides, who the heck even considers such things other than the members of this place and not even a large chunk o' that.

In the end, sure, I'd have been happy with three discs, you'd think they'd have done that since they just had Greatest Hits but it doesn't matter, now we have Come On Down To My House and Depot Street, Make that Connection and such.

cheers

 

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27 minutes ago, Shelter said:

But who are in the market for 9 albums (+ one single track + one off christmas carol) sampled on 3 discs.

Pre-internet file sharing and post-Wildflowers maybe they figured now's the time to strike and get rid of or cash in on the inventory! Plus it was released close to or around the Christmas holiday season so it could lined up as a gift for someone. Maybe that factored into the decision as well.

ciao

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You know when tea / coffee shops create sample bags by getting someone on staff to select some goodies from the entire range? Then over the next few weeks you try out the different sample options & find what you love & decide you want to explore further or get more of?

You've tasted something that you like (Greatest Hits* even just one song) & now you can see what else there is from a selected range (Playback). If you want to explore further you sure can (original albums, singles, live concerts). 

Also helpful to remember transition from vinyl to cd was happening late 80s early 90s. New technology: portable Walkman, CD player in car etc... Do you go back & buy all the earlier albums etc... For me, can easily imagine smart move to stash Playback box set safely in car glovebox before I set out for a 6 hour car trip in car with CD player. 

And maybe, you know, people started by mentioning songs unique to Playback when they're talking about Playback. If you want to enthusiastically talk about chord progression in, say, American Girl, you are spoiled for choice as it's on so many albums, not just Playback. 

 

* 12 million copies of Greatest Hits - sensible to consider that after 1993 at least some of these people might want to explore the back catalogue a little further. So, releasing Playback & VHS video collection 2 years later seems a very smart & logical move. To me & many more considering that Playback went platinum too.

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