Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - American Treasure




This is an excellent compilation box set, largely made up of alternative and "outtake" versions, and live versions, spanning Petty's career with The Heartbreakers, on his own and also some tracks from Mudcrutch (his pre-Heartbreakers band, who re-recorded some of their early material relatively recently). It is not an "anthology" or a "greatest hits" so it is of more interest to hard-core fans as opposed to casual ones, however, listening to it, it is so good that it can be appreciated by anyone, really.

Most followers of Petty's career will be familiar with the material so the point I want to make here, as opposed to analysing each track individually, is jus how damn good the sound is. It is the best I have ever heard Petty - big, thumping, bassy and loud, as his music should be, for my taste anyway. Just check out "When The Time Comes" or the marvellous "Surrender" (inexplicably left off their debut album). The latter is listed as an "outtake". It is one of the finest quality outtakes I have heard. That is the great thing about this album, the outtakes are excellent in quality, putting it ahead of many such complications, where the outtakes and demos are inferior in sound quality. What is still frustrating for me is that the first two Heartbreakers albums are in need of further remastering, yet tracks like "The Wild One, Forever", "No Second Thoughts" and "When The Time Comes" are given an excellent makeover here. Why not re-do the whole albums they came from? Even "Wild One" sounds better here, and the material from the first album is notoriously poor.

Incidentally, just as an aside, I am sure "No Second Thoughts" has hints of The Rolling Stones' "Factory Girl" in it. "What Are You Doin' In My Life" is very Springsteen-esque too. Another aside - good old Tom looks far more handsome on the cover drawing than he actually was, bless him.

Overall, this is an invigorating, sonically pleasing, spirit-raising compilation from a much-missed, honest and highly respected artist. Just listening to the "alternate version" of "Here Comes My Girl". Great stuff. The bass is just beautiful. Regarding the two editions, the full 63-track "deluxe edition" is the one to go for.

B+

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