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the_refugees

My Mojo review

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Having not actually heard the album yet, I found it interesting reading these mixed reviews and watching people get angry about any of the reviewers saying anything negative. Now I finally got a chance to listen to it all.

Here's my take. Background - I'm a huge Tom Petty fan and am in a Tom Petty tribute band, and have analyzed at least 50 of his songs down to each little detail of what makes them so good in order to recreate them. So this is a perspective from a musician & a listener. I'm generally not a big blues fan, or a fan of jammy music (one of the reasons I usually love TPATH - "don't bore us, get to the chorus"), so that biases me a bit against the general feel of the album. But here it is.

Jefferson Jericho blues, first flash of freedom, running mans bible, trip to pirate's cove, candy. None of these do much for me.

JJB - riff is not that great, and too repetitive for me. Nice piano work in the background by Benmont.

FFOF - intro is really long, feels like an instrumental at first. A little too meandering for my taste.

RMB - verses musically boring, generic blues stuff. Chorus has nice uplift, might sound good live?

TTPC - ok, just listen to the first 3 seconds, it could be the intro to "Brandy (you're a fine girl)!!! If it just went quickly to the major chord. haha. Odd echo on the lyrics. Much better things have been done with this repeating chord pattern (all along the watchtower, etc)

C - generic blues, silly lyrics. Silly is ok, but silly can be much more clever (girl on lsd, yer so bad)

No reason to cry - first one I like a bit. Man, is it just me, or does this sound like it was written by Mark Knopfler (musically). It sound just like an old dire straits song (which is good as far as I'm concerned, I love dire straits). I just can't help thinking it sounds like Mark should be singing it though. Those minor chord changes, must have been listening to telegraph road when he wrote it.

I should have known it - this one is musically interesting. Not crazy about it at first, but it is really growing on me. Definitely a cool riff, interesting vocals. Way cool rhythmic stops (my drummer loves it...figures!). Not crazy about the guitar solo though.

US 41, taking my time, let yourself go, don't pull me over, lovers touch. These aren't doing much for me either.

US41 - just not much here musically. I am finding I am not very fond of the harmonica used as a background rhythm instrument.

TMT - i find this one very boring.

LYG - Kind of Doors-y with that organ. Little better chorus with a classic Petty "universal" phrase that can apply to anybody.

DPMO - could not get past the reggae beat and the first line (mr. poooolice man??). Sorry had to move on right then and there.

LT - musically similar in tempo and repetitiveness to many others on the album (well I did say I'm not a big blues fan). Musically reminiscent at times of BB King's The thrill is gone. But not as good.

High in the morning - Like the tempo. Much more melodic, better vocals. Nice guitar work. This sounds like Mike Campbell to me. Simple solo, all notes well chosen and places perfectly.

Something good coming - love this one. This is on par with stuff from wildflowers. Nice chords, super simple but effective repeating lick from Mike, very Petty lyrics. Fits his voice perfectly. Slight chord variation for chorus from the verse, just enough to distinguish it. Well done.

Good enough - not a big fan of this riff. And the song is kind of built around it Interesting minor blues pattern. It would be ok, but it just repeats way too many times during the ending. Don't like the ending section at all. To me it would have been a much better song if it ended about 40 seconds earlier.

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It's all about opinions - I'm a 30+ year fan but so far I'm also underwhelmed by Mojo. Marion is right - I don't care for this sound with the exception of Something Good Coming which I think is wonderful. Then again, that sounds like the OLD Tom Petty, so there you go!

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I guess it really is like Marion put it - if you're not much into the bluesy, rootsy music, then you won't like Mojo that much.

My fiancee isn't crazy about it, and she doesn't like the Buried Treasure shows either. That's why I believe in the strong correlation between Mojo and the radio shows.

Blues didn't always appeal to me, mind. But the BT shows opened my mind for it, made me see how strong this music can be and how powerful it can be on the soul if you let it work on you. That's why -to me- Mojo is the perfect album at the moment. It combines the music I enjoy hearing most right now with my favorite artist and band.

I love the sound of Mojo and how I can find other artists in the sound of it (RMB - The Animals, FFOF - The Allmans, ISHKI - Led Zeppelin, TMT - Muddy Waters...), but I can absolutely and totally understand anybody who doesn't dig it. That's why life is so beautiful - freedom of thought and opinion.

I do feel bad for the_refugees, there's little worse than being a devoted fan (with his own tribute band, too) who's disappointed by his favorite artist's new longplayer.

Hope the album grows on you, though, t_r!

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Thanks for your review. I may be the only Farmer who hasn't heard all of the new songs yet. (I know I'm weird). The songs I've heard are gonna have to grow on me. I'm trying my best not to get all too hyped-up about this record. I did that with The Last DJ, and that is my absolute least favorite cd by Tom. Plus the "blues-y" thing kinda scares me, lol. Not a big fan of the blues. I'm gonna let my freak flag fly and wait until Tuesday and get the cd then. (Did I mention I was weird? lol)

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haha, don't feel bad for me. As much as I like Petty and the band (no other artist comes close to having the sheer number of songs that I like from their catalog), this is not the first album where I only really like a handful of songs. I'm just really picky. Of course there are a few albums where I really like most of the songs, but you can't expect those every time. I would never want them to stop doing new stuff, if everything was always the same it would get boring, and you'd never have gotten things like Don't Come Around Here No More, or Full Moon Fever, or many others. I see no conflict in being an overall fan of someone's songwriting or a band's ability, and not liking some of their material. Much of it is that it deviates from the type of music I like most. But I think it is a bit more than that - as of now, I don't see any songs on this album that people will be listening to in 25-30 years, as some of Petty's big songs of the past still get regular radio airplay today, but only time will tell if I'm right on that part. And of course that isn't the most important thing either. As far as the concert reviewers who say (or imply) that the fans only really paid to see them play the greatest hits, I think that's pretty ridiculous. They have a new album, of course people want to hear some of that. I think 5 new songs out of 20 is just about right, that's still sticking with a lot of older stuff that everyone wants to hear, while giving some highlights of the new album. On the other hand, i can understand a reviewer not liking the new stuff as much - but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be playing it. Returning to King's Highway as an opener - awesome. The only issue I have with the setlists I have seen is that they are playing "Oh Well" and "Mystic Eyes" again, like last tour. They always play covers so well, that it's disappointing they wouldn't pick a couple new ones for a new tour. That should have been a no brainer.

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The only issue I have with the setlists I have seen is that they are playing "Oh Well" and "Mystic Eyes" again, like last tour. They always play covers so well, that it's disappointing they wouldn't pick a couple new ones for a new tour.

Agreed!

I guess we need another Fillmore session. Heck, I'd even fly in from Germany for that! :)

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A good review. I think I like "the last DJ" better when I first heard it, where as this CD is taking some time to get use to. I, too , have been listening to a lot of blues lately ( muddy waters and chess records ) and I am reading a book by Bill Wyman ( blues Odyssey, a history of the blues ) and at times it sounds like Tom is trying really hard, maybe to hard, to sound authentic . ( check out the review at all music guide ) . These songs don't jump out and grab me, liked some of the ones on "highway companion" too. I think after 8 years there would be something more catchy than these songs. I still can't believe its been 8 years since "last DJ"

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There are some interesting views here. I appreciate your honesty, The_Refugees. I was talking to someone who wasn't a big fan, but she really liked the album because it had the feel of blusey Bay Area rock in the late 60s. The interplay of guitar work and blues was a common element in music back then. I think the Butterfield Blues Band was mentioned in a review. There were so many others -- Big Brother, etc.

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DPMO - could not get past the reggae beat and the first line (mr. poooolice man??). Sorry had to move on right then and there.

Tom's voice on is one of the reasons I enjoy this song. The reggae beat is different and kind of refreshing compared to all the blues-ey stuff.

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Oh man. After listening to this CD over and over again this week I have to say I LOVE it. It took a few listens to catch on to First Flash of Freedom, and I'm not totally wild about Lover's Touch. But the rest I am just majorly digging. Right now I have US41 on replay. I love how Tom says "that's right, US41". The whole song just paints a picture in my head.

To each his own, but dang I'm having fun with this CD.

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I think it's really interesting that everyone is so split on what they like and don't like on this album. I'm crazy about "Lover's Touch" but don't care for "No Reason To Cry." Funny what touches us. I also really appreciate everyone being honest but respectful of the band.

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I think Ellyn or Nancy could give a better answer to that. I'm not real familiar with Knopfler.

On "No Reason To Cry" - Usually when Tom sings a song, I can picture the scene in my head and I buy the story he's trying to get across but this one doesn't feel real to me. I felt like he was grasping for lines and settling on them. I had the same feeling with "Free Girl" from Echo. I know it was about Dana and all but I never bought that one either.

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On June 19, 2010 at 5:35 AM, Marion said:

I had the same feeling with "Free Girl" from Echo. I know it was about Dana and all but I never bought that one either.

That's very interesting, maybe that's why the song never became a big hit single; maybe other listeners also got what Tom was going for but didn't feel it in their hearts.

cheers

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