Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mike Ness gone' country

In 1989, Social Distortion signed a deal with Epic Records and released four albums with that label: the self-titled album (1990), Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell (1992) and White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996).

The band left Epic Records after White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996) and joined Time Bomb Recordings, releasing Mainliner: Wreckage From the Past (a collection of old recordings and singles that were done in the early ’80s) and Live at the Roxy (1998).

In 1999, Ness released his first solo album, Cheating at Solitaire. Although Social Distortion’s music had contained country inflections as far back as Prison Bound, Cheating at Solitaire was an unalloyed expression of Ness’s country side. ‘Solitaire’ included guest appearances by rock icon Bruce Springsteen, former Stray Cat Brian Setzer and drumming legend Josh Freese as well as members of Royal Crown Revue. Springsteen had touted Social D’s ‘Heaven and Hell’ as his favorite record of the year in a Rolling Stone interview in 1992. Ness continued in this vein, releasing a compilation of country covers entitled Under the Influences that same year. Both albums came out on Time Bomb Recordings. Ness toured extensively in the U.S. in support of these albums, backed partially by the present-day (2006) incarnation of Social Distortion; Charlie Quintana (drums) Brent Harding (standing & electric bass) and Johnny Wickersham (guitar tech). Ness and the band played at Woodstock ‘99. After that, his bandmate and guitarist Dennis Danell died on February 29, 2000 due to an aneurysm, but Social Distortion did not completely disband.

1999 - Cheating At Solitaire

Cheating at Solitaire is the first solo album from Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness. Released in 1999, it bypasses much of Social Distortion's punk  muscle in favor of a more roots-oriented approach to rock and roll. It features cameos by Bruce Springsteen, Brian Setzer, and members of Royal Crown Revue. Johnny Cash was invited to perform on the song "Ballad of a Lonely Man", but was too ill to record at the time.

"Dope Fiend Blues" and "I'm In Love w/My Car" were originally written/recorded in 1994 as a demo of Social Distortion's fifth album White Light, White Heat, White Trash. Ness also originally wrote some of the songs on this album around 1997 while Social Distortion was planning their sixth album.

Guest Musicians include: 
Bob Breen – Assistant Engineer
Jolie Clemens – Artwork
Tom Corbett – Mandolin
Mando Dorame – Sax (Tenor)
Paul Ericksen – Assistant Engineer
Josh Freese – Drums, Drums (Snare)
Daniel Glass – Drums, Drums (Snare)
Martin Klemm – Mixing Assistant
Chris Lawrence – Guitar, Pedal Steel
Veikko Lepisto – Bass (Electric), Bass (Upright)
Jamie Muhoberac – Keyboards, Organ (Hammond)
Mike Ness – Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Vocals, Producer, Artwork, Mixing
James Saez – Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Producer, Engineer, Slide Guitar, Mixing
F. Scott Schafer – Photography
Eddy Schreyer – Mastering
Brian Setzer – Guitar
Bruce Springsteen – Guitar, Vocals
Billy Zoom – Guitar

Track Listing:

  1. The Devil in Miss Jones
  2. Don't Think Twice
  3. Misery Loves Company
  4. Crime Don't Pay
  5. Rest of Our Lives
  6. You Win Again
  7. Cheating at Solitaire
  8. No Man's Friend
  9. Charmed Life
 10. Dope Fiend Blues
 11. Ballad of a Lonely Man
 12. I'm in Love w/My Car
 13. If You Leave Before Me
 14. Long Black Veil
 15. Send Her Back

 Total Playing Time: 59:11

Check him out HERE


1999 - Under The Influences

Under the Influences, the second (and most recent) solo album from Social Distortion's Mike Ness, is a compilation of country, rock, and bluegrass covers released just six months after his first solo effort, Cheating at Solitaire. As the title implies, Ness intends the album to be an illustration of the music that shaped him. Songs as diverse as "I Fought the Law" and "Wildwood Flower" make their appearance, each with Mike Ness's unique spin. Included is a honky tonk version of Social Distortion staple, "Ball and Chain".

The artists and the songs

Wayne Walker All I Can Do Is Cry
Wayne Walker is one of country music's more obscure figures. Better known as a songwriter than an entertainer, Walker has penned songs performed by a countless number of major acts including Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and Patsy Cline. He had his first big hit as a songwriter with I've Got A New Heartache performed by Ray Price and ten years later won the Billboard Song Of The Year award with All The Time. All I Can Do Is Cry was one of the few tunes both written and performed by him.

Marvin Rainwater Gamblin'Man
Of Indian ancestry, Marvin Rainwater was a singer and prolific songwriter who became a star briefly in the 1950's. Working in a variety of styles, Rainwater was equally skilled at western ballads, pop confessions and go-for-broke forays into rockabilly. His big crossover hit came in 1958 with the rocking Whole Lotta Woman which propelled him up not only the American pop and country charts, but also skyrocketed him to the number one position on the British charts. Rainwater's American fame was shorter lived than his success overseas and he continued touring there through the early 70's.

Carl Perkins Let The Jukebox Keep On Playing
Carl Perkins was one of the most influential figures in roots music. His country and rock 'n' roll tunes have been deeply ingrained in the American consciousness and are still widely played today. (Under his umbrella is Blue Suede Shoes - the song that made Elvis famous.) Let The Jukebox Keep On Playing is one of Perkins' earliest country songs, recorded before he started playing Memphis rock 'n' roll. Perkins later joined Johnny Cash's road show and continued to play music until he died in 1998.

Bobby Fuller I Fought The Law
Bobby Fuller is the father of "the West Texas rock 'n' roll sound." Deviating from the surf tunes that were dominating the California airwaves in the early 60's, Fuller incorporated the sounds of the British Invasion and Motown R&B techniques into his recordings. His biggest hit was the infamous I Fought The Law, released in 1963. Fuller was found dead three years later; the circumstances of his death remain suspicious to this day.

Marty Robbins Big Iron
Marty Robbins was one of country music's most successful and diverse performers. His vocal style was compatible with almost all types of country music: weepers, western ballads, pop standards and rockabilly. Robbins made his chart debut in 1952 and managed to place records on the country and pop charts every year for the next 31 years, ultimately taking 16 singles to the number one position. Big Iron appeared on the 1959 concept album Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs which was influenced by the movies of Gene Autry.

Billy Lee Riley And The Little Green Men One More Time
Billy Riley is one of rockabilly's original performers. In the 50's, affiliated with Sun Records after recording his first hit record Flying Saucer Rock there, Riley backed up many of the performers who came through the doors to do session work at the label. Joining him during many of these sessions were Roland James and J. M. Van Eaton who later became The Little Green Men. The three went on to record together and perform on the songs of other acts such as Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison for Sun until 1960. One More Time was one of Riley's last recordings for the label. Riley continued to work as a session player and touring musician for the next 25 years.

Hank Williams, Sr. Six More Miles/House Of Gold
Hank Williams, Sr. was country music's most charismatic and tragic figure. One of the few performers who wrote most of his own material, Williams left a legacy of over 700 songs, recording 129 during his career. He was only 13 when he started his lifelong band The Drifting Cowboys, who gained immediate recognition playing regularly on WSFA-AM in Montgomery, AL. Partnering with Fred Rose, a Nashville, TN music publisher, Williams signed to the newly formed MGM label in 1947 and quickly shot up the charts. His memorable performance of Lovesick Blues on the Grand Ole Oprey in 1949 won him a permanent place on the show. Unfortunately Williams was a habitual drug user and alcoholic who cut both his career and life short. He died on New Year's Day at the age of 29. Williams was well-loved in the country music community with over 20,000 people attending his memorial service. His albums continued to chart and sell after his death.

Jean Shepard A Thief In The Night
Few female country singers have produced a body of work as enduring as Jean Shepard. A country purist, Shepard is best known for her devotion to hardcore Honky Tonk, which gained her a series of Top Ten hits in the early 50's. In 1956, her success at a peak, Shepard was invited to join the Grand Ole Oprey. That same year she wrote and recorded Songs Of A Love Affair, the first-ever concept album in country music history. As rockabilly started to top the charts in the early 60's, Shepard fell out of site for nearly ten years as she remained committed to her undiluted brand of country music. Her star rose again in 1964 with the single Second Fiddle (To An Old Guitar) and Shepard continued to record until the end of the 1970's and tour well into the1990's.

George Jones Once A Day
Once called "the second best singer in the world" by Frank Sinatra, George Jones is one of the biggest stars country music has ever produced. His vocal style has influenced countless performers and though he suffered many personal and professional setbacks, Jones never left the top of the country charts through the length of his career. Jones started in 1957 on Starday records, doing stints on Mercury and UA, before settling into a record deal with Musicor where he spent a good number of prosperous years recording number one albums and singles for the label. But by the time he met and married his third wife country star Tammy Wynette in 1969, his career had begun to wane. After some dispute, he relinquished the rights to all of his Musicor recordings and switched over to Wynette's label Epic. The two began a musical partnership recording and touring, reviving Jones' career and making them the biggest stars in country music. Unfortunately, as the duo toured the country, Jones sunk deeper into the alcoholism and drug abuse that had simmered under the surface for years. Subsequently, their marriage and Jones' career began to fall apart. However, in the mid-seventies Jones became a star again in his own right. He was voted Rolling Stone's Country Singer of the Year in 1976 which was followed by a series of Top Ten hits that lasted until 1987.

Wanda Jackson Funnel Of Love
Wanda Jackson is credited with being America's first female rock 'n' roll singer. A child prodigy that could play both the guitar and piano by the time she was ten, Wanda Jackson's musical career began early. At 13 she had her own radio show; by 17 she was cutting records for Decca; and at 18 she was on tour with Elvis and subsequently became Capitol Records leading rocker. Jackson's recording career spans 40 years with over 50 albums to her credit. Originally released as a single, Funnel Of Love did not appear on a full-length record until Capitol Records put together a compilation CD of Jackson's greatest hits in 1997.

The Carter Family Wildwood Flower
One of the most prominent families in country music, the Carters enjoy a lineage of country music that spans from the early 1920's to the present. The original Carter Family (A.P. Carter, his wife Sarah and Maybelle Addington who joined the group after marrying A.P.'s brother Ezra) was first recorded in August of 1927. A short six months later the group recorded its biggest seller Wildwood Flower. The single was recorded at Camden in New Jersey on May 9, 1928 and has registered over a million in sales to date. In 1943 the group officially disbanded, having recorded over 250 songs. In 1960, Maybelle and her daughters began working as the Carter Family; June Carter eventually going solo and becoming part of the Johnny Cash Road Show (and later marring Johnny Cash). In 1970 the Carter Family was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Track Listing:

   1. All I Can Do Is Cry
   2. Gamblin' Man
   3. Let the Jukebox Keep on Playing
   4. I Fought the Law
   5. Big Iron
   6. One More Time
   7. Six More Miles
   8. A Thief in the Night
   9. Once a Day
  10. Funnel of Love
  11. House of Gold
  12. Wildwood Flower
  13. Ball and Chain

Total Playing Time:   41:14

Check him out HERE

I just noticed that I uploaded both of these with variable bit rates, but no worries, I'll hopefully have them both converted to 320kbps by tonight.

1 comment:

  1. excelent album,awesome mike ness, in live great,cheers!!


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