CRACKER "Greatest Hits - Redux"
CRACKER "Countrysides" (COOKING VINYL) Irish Released 25th July 2003

"Greatest Hits - Redux"
Irish Release 10th March 2006 on Cooking Vinyl

::: Features reworkings of the the Band's Hits including 1994 wordldwide MTV hit Low, Get Off This, Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now) and Eurotrash Girl :::

Friday 10th March see alt-rock legends Cracker releasing their “Greatest Hits – Redux” album after years of persistent requests by a legion of their devoted fans. “These songs rock better, somehow, than they did before. I can just hear these guys taking back the rights to their own music in every note,” says an anonymous post on the band’s weblog, posted just after a recent sneak-peek at the new recordings. The 13 track album features Cracker’s best-known radio singles including 1994’s Low, the band’s biggest MTV and radio staple, as well as radio hits Get Off This, Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now) and Eurotrash Girl. Redux features higher fidelity recordings of the band’s work than the originals, and subtly re-interprets each track without departing too severely from its classic form. The songs on Redux have simply evolved over time, according to the band, which has toured constantly, releasing five original recordings and three compilations since its formation in 1991.

“Fans have been asking for us to record versions that were truer to our live performance ... and now we’ve got 15 years more playing under our belts,” said band members in a live web chat about the Greatest Hits. “We loved doing these versions.”

The timing of the album’s release, as well as fan-submitted questions in the Redux liner notes, suggests a secondary motive for the re-dos ... a defiant nose-thumbing at the band’s former major record label, whose own release of the original recordings comes out this month. Cracker frontman David Lowery and co-founder/guitarist Johnny Hickman don’t deny their disregard for their former label’s interests, claiming, “We wrote songs 15 years ago that are still getting regular radio play today, and even more songs that would have gotten play if the industry hadn’t become so corrupt during the peak of our popularity. A lot of bands suffered in that era, many were forced out. We survived through loyal fans and grueling hours of work without a major’s support. We own these songs, and now, we own the new recordings.”

Lowery is considered one of the genre’s smartest and most influential songwriters, and Hickman’s unforgettably catchy guitar riffs and trademark style have made Hickman Lowery’s equally influential counterpart. Greatest Hits Redux features ten-year veteran drummer Frank Funaro, veteran keyboard player Kenny Margolis (who is featured on the cover), and guest bassist David Immergluck (also a multi-instrumentalist in the Counting Crows, as well as friend and peer to original Cracker bassist and songwriter Davey Faragher).

The songs on Greatest Hits - Redux include the well-known hits as well as fan favorites, songs which show the breadth of Cracker’s scope and influence, from true indie rock to southern rock, alt-country, and improvisational / jam. Full track listing as follows :

1. Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)
2. I See The Light
3. Mr Wrong
4. Low
5. Get Off This
6. Lonesome Johnny Blues
7. Euro-trash Girl
8. Sweet Thistle Pie
9. Big Dipper
10. The World Is Mine
11. Duty Free
12. It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself
13. Something You Ain’t Got

"Countrysides" (COOKING VINYL)
Irish Released 25th July 2003

It was in the recording studio last year that Brandy and Kenny first discussed the sudden appearance of the mullet haircut worn by hipsters in the East Village. Though widely parodied, it seemed as if a few brave souls had embraced the haircut as the ultimate fashion statement.

Brandy: Yeah, but they're not real mullets.

Kenny: You mean they're wigs?

Brandy: No, they're wearing them ironically.

Kenny: Ironic mullets hmm. That's a good band name. Maybe that should be the pseudonym for Cracker's alter ego.

The alter ego Kenny referred to is the country band that lurks within Cracker. The band within the band. The one that manifests itself in a song or two on every Cracker record and live during a Merle Haggard song at soundcheck or a Dwight Yoakam song during the encore.

Before long, the "alter ego" was booked for one show. The band humbled the audience with its business on top and a party in the back show. The show was a success and the band asked, "What would Cracker sound like if it were a country band?" This was an interesting question for a band that draws so much from Americana and country music.

The band decided that the only way to answer this question properly was to get out and play some more shows. Some might call this method acting. Of course, it couldn't play in the traditional venues that Cracker had become used to and it couldn't perform under their own name.

Thus, Ironic Mullet was born. The band, not the haircut.

During a six-month period, the band played redneck and biker bars as Ironic Mullet. You've seen these places along the old highways and on the outskirts of our big cities--bars with names such as Ape Hangers, Bubba's and The Rebel Lounge.

"Countrysides" is the result of this experiment. Its sound is more garage country than alt-country. More Southwestern than Southern.

Yet undeniably, it still has the things that I like so much about Cracker's records. Best of all, the record has that sense of place and context that Cracker records always have. This is evident in the film that accompanies the record (the enhanced portion of this CD contains an excerpt).

In the film, it's explicitly clear that the band made this record against the backdrop of a coming war, resurgent American imperialism and a far-right Christian fundamentalist regime in Washington DC. Songs like Merle Haggard' s "Okie from Muskogee" and Ray Wylie Hubbard¹' "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers" are changed from being quaint relics of a bygone era to timely agit-pop.

And then there was the personal drama. Virgin Records, the band's label since 1987, fell under new management and soon after that it became clear to the band that the new regime did not understand Cracker's particular genius. Virgin understood "Countrysides" even less. Virgin bought the band's contract out but the band vowed to continue working on the record without Virgin's support. During the sessions after the split, keeping in the spirit of the record, David penned the funniest record company kiss-off song ever, "It Ain't Gonna Suck Itself."



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