Artist: Cracker

Album: Countrysides

Appears On: The Opposite Of Smoke Is Egg Whites

Song Notes: Cracker used to be on Virgin records. They're not anymore. Why? It's because of Countrysides, the album "Duty Free" comes from. Cracker wanted their next album to be a collection of covers of country songs that they loved; Virgin didn't get it, didn't like it, and dropped them (rather surprisingly, after the push behind Forever and Garage D'Or, they seemed to think of the band as one of their prestige acts). They shopped the record around and released it on iMusic. (On one hand, though, this turned out to be a decent thing; had Virgin not dropped them, we wouldn't have gotten the last (and only original) track on Countrysides, "Ain't Gonna Suck Itself". This song was originally by Ike Reilly from his album Salesmen & Racists; I've never heard the original, but the Cracker version is so strong, I'm tempted to pick up the Reilly album. Even though it sounds like it'd be a side project or a cast-off, this is actually one of my favorite Cracker albums; they even do a good version of a Hank Williams, Jr. song ("Family Tradition"). Of course, Cracker's got a surprisingly good hold on the country tradition anyway; of special note is the album they did with Leftover Salmon O Cracker, Where Art Thou -- bluegrass versions of their old songs. Another item that might be written off as a novelty… until you actually hear it. - Rev. Syung Myung Me


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