Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15, 2009: The Gun Club - "Hearts"

One of the great feelings in discovering music is when something lives up to the hype.

Remember the old days (which, for me, I mean the late 90's), when we didn't have Youtube, Myspace, or iTunes to instantly check out something that we were curious about? For the most part, we still had to hear it from a friend or roll the dice and buy it. The latter is difficult for a 21 year old without much disposable income. Therefore, a huge perk when I started working behind the counter at Oar Folkjokeopus in 1999 was the sheer volume of music I had access to. Over those first few months on the job, my brain was frying with overstimulation from all the new music I was processing. Not only was my boss Mark turning me on to things I had never even heard of before on a near-daily basis, but I was also getting a chance to check out legendary albums and artists who I simply had not the opportunity to hear.

One such album was The Gun Club's Fire of Love. The debut album from Jeffrey Lee Pierce and company is widely heralded for it's meshing of punk, blues, and glam. It was released in 1981. I heard it in 1999. My expectations were high, but were ultimately exceeded. For nearly ten years now, I've been able to count it as one of my "desert island" albums.

For some reason, though, as much as I loved Fire of Love, I didn't bother digging any deeper into The Gun Club's catalog. Actually, I take that back. There were a couple of reasons. For one, I had been told by numerous sources that the rest of the catalog was not anything special. And for another, I believe that most of the catalog was out of print at the time, making it less accessible to me.

Because of all this, when I saw the fantastic, short-lived Minneapolis band Little Dirt (who's one EP is still available on Heart of a Champion!) cover "Hearts" around 2003 or 2004, I had no idea it was a cover. (That's always an embarrassing moment, too... when you tell your friend's band, "Great show! That last song in particular was fantastic!" "Oh... thanks... yeah, that's a cover.")

And that's my convoluted way of getting to today's Song of the Day. Despite the fact that Fire of Love is their masterpiece, and one of the greatest albums ever, Jeffrey Lee Pierce and The Gun Club did have great moments throughout their history. "Hearts" is one of them.

Speaking of hearts, I would like to thank everyone who wrote me after last Friday's story of my dad's surgery. I'm sorry that I didn't write you all back individually, but your thoughts meant so much to me. I visited him today in the hospital. He was in good spirits, felt pretty good, and was in the middle of some physical therapy exercises when I arrived. If everything goes as planned, he should be on the way home around noon on Friday the 16th.

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