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Heal my heart with your bleeding hands

I vaguely remember the first time I heard Jason & the Scorchers back in the early 1980s - "If Money Talks" and "White Lies" got about six minutes of airplay on whatever station I was listening to back then, but that was enough for me to snap up cassette copies of Lost and Found and Still Standing when I saw them in cutout racks a few years later...

I'd never heard anything quite like them before. It was country, but with a raw punk edge nowhere to be found in other country bands; it was punk, but a million miles away from the anarchy and decadence of the London/New York/LA scenes. As I listened to the other songs on the albums, I also became aware of the gospel roots of the band, which made them something truly unique and special to me. Unfortunately, while Jason and the Scorchers attracted a fanatic following, it wasn't big enough to keep the record company happy, and in the days before bands started selling themselves on the Internet that was enough to kill them off.

Anyway...Still Standing was their second EMI album, produced by Tom Werman. Werman is better known for his work with bands like Cheap Trick, Motley Crue, Ted Nugent, Poison...you get the picture. Not exactly the guy you'd pick for a roots/country/rock band like this. Nevertheless, Still Standing is probably my favorite album by Jason Ringenberg and the lads; it features songs that show off the full range of the band's influences, from the hard-charging "Shotgun Blues" and "Ghost Town" through a fine cover of the Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown" and the bleakly optimistic "Good Things Come To Those Who Wait" to the wistful "Ocean of Doubt" and the unfathomably appealing "Take Me To Your Promised Land", which shouldn't work but does anyway. There's only one weak spot on the album, the relentlessly pleasant "My Heart Still Stands With You". While I still really like the double live Midnight Roads and Stages Seen, and pine for the rare Lost & Found, I like this album the best and can't recommend it enough. I may change my mind if I ever get hold of Are You Ready for the Country or Both Sides of the Line, but until then this is as good as it gets.

I really should do a mix CD of Jason and the Scorchers songs as well as a condensed version of the James McMurtry CDs I gave to cableclown and tatsmaru, who found them a little too weird.

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