Has it been 30 years since the album “Road Apples” has been around?
Where does time fly?
For Kingston’s The Tragically Hip, we know how time passed – a rise to glory as Canada’s quintessential rock band, eventually releasing 14 albums, filling spots, and winning all kinds of honors before the glioblastoma diagnosis truly singer Gord Downie’s tragic drama was released on May 24. , 2016; the beloved group making one final appearance in their hometown that was televised nationally by CBC and attracted an estimated audience of 11.7 million.
A legacy for the ages.
When “Road Apples” was recorded and released in 1991, it was just at the time that Kingston’s best rockers Really He wowed the crowd as their tough live shows crossed the threshold from “bubbly bass” to the “must see” stature that would transform and transport most Canadian hearts.
There was such a surge in popularity that it was easy to forget that “Road Apples” was just the band’s second album, preceded by “Up to Here,” the Don Smith-produced model that produced gems like “Blow at High Dough,” New Orleans. is sinking “,” 38 years “and” Boots or Hearts “.
It’s no wonder the second album was hilariously called “Road Apples,” a sardonic reference to horse waste deposited on the asphalt, because this was an extremely fertile period in the band’s canon.
Also produced by Smith, the effort served as an important bridge to the skillful refinement of “Fully Completely” that would follow two years later: Downie’s grainy tremolo was passionate and only somewhat disciplined; the granular guitars of Rob Baker and Paul Langlois provided blues-inspired licks and satisfying fulls; Along with the vigorous rhythm section of Gord Sinclair on bass and Sammy Bo, Dean-style backing vocals with drummer Johnny Fay supplying the centrifugal drive that, on a live stage, always accelerated the momentum toward a fiery reward.
And then there were the clever images of Downie’s often cryptic lyrics: “Little Bones” combined references to New Orleans with political disillusionment: Shockley’s long days are gone / Also Kennedy-style football / Famous last words misinterpreted / They end up in the same pile / 2.50 for a decade / And a dollar and a half for a year / Happy hour, happy hour / Has arrived the happy hour.
Pick any fan favorite on “Road Apples” – “Twist My Arm”, “Cordelia”, “The Luxury”, “Three Pistols”, and each letter reveals the mind of a poet leaving enough clues to intrigue you. song. subject, but refuses to spell it, prompting you to draw your own conclusions.
As the ever-unpredictable frontman, disappearing into his own world in full view of his concert audience, Downie was no less enigmatic.
Releasing October 15, Road Apples 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is a four-disc set featuring the studio original remastered by Ted Jensen; the recently discovered and released six-song “Saskadelphia”; a discarded takes and demos album called “Hoof-Hearted”; and the 15-song set “Live at the Roxy Los Angeles, May 3, 1991”, offering plenty of evidence of Downie’s willingness to take entertaining and improvised paths . , often in the middle of songs.
For example, in Roxy’s nine-minute presentation of “New Orleans Is Sinking”, Downie uses the “Peter Gunn” flavored bridge to describe his previous job as a man who “cleaned and scrubbed the killer whale tank in an aquarium”. and somehow becomes the victim of a love triangle between the two whales.
He tells an audience of roughly 500 people that “Twist My Arm” is “a song about bringing pizza to a crack house” and that a bout of appendicitis could be coming at the end of “She Didn’t Know.”
This spontaneity was what Downie fans often lived through, though most of the time it caused people to scratch their heads in amazement. But, coupled with the electrical energy of the band, the Roxy concert reminds us that Hip’s unmistakable vision was almost totally and completely realized in that moment.
There are some interesting findings in the nine song demos of “Hoof-Hearted”, including an acoustic rendition of “Little Bones” that finds Downie softly and repeatedly singing the two chorus lines before ending the lyrics in one. date later.
“Angst on the Planks” is an older, straightforward version of “Cordelia” that lacks the melodic magic and has very different lyrics from the final work, but it’s a good look at Hip’s creative process and how they sometimes resorted to drastic reimagining to do the work.
“If You Lived Here” is a June 1990 demo of an unreleased song and, listening to it, you understand why The Hip decided to skip it; It really has nothing distinctive and is easy to forget.
The discarded version of “Born in the Water” sounds a bit more complete with an extra guitar; “Fight” adjusts the mood slightly to a shade more blue and the haunting “The Last of the Unplucked Gems” spans a good minute and a half from its original 2:04 time frame.
“Road Apples 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition” offers Tragically Hip fans a somewhat complete take on a creative period that, framed with “Up to Here”, brought the band to the hearts of millions of Canadians: literally, both albums passed. The one million sales mark in this country is not the easiest milestone to achieve.
Not only did it provide a harbinger of a dazzling career to come, but “Road Apples” cemented Hip’s fanbase with a compelling musical adhesive that time refuses to tarnish; it still sounds as good and fresh as the first day you heard it.
Road Apples 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
The hip tragically. Universal Music Canada