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Copperhead Road

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Steve Earle and Nashville had had just about enough of one another once it came time for him to cut his third album in 1988. Earle's first two albums, Guitar Town and Exit 0, had sold well and earned enthusiastic reviews, but his stubborn refusal to make nice, his desire to make more rock-influenced albums, and the faint but clear Leftism in his populist lyrical stance made him no friends at MCA's Nashville offices, and his growing dependence on heroin didn't help matters one bit. Earle was moved to MCA's Los Angeles-based Uni imprint, and he headed to Memphis to cut his third album, Copperhead Road. The result improbably became one of Earle's strongest albums; between its ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Steve Earle and Nashville had had just about enough of one another once it came time for him to cut his third album in 1988. Earle's first two albums, Guitar Town and Exit 0, had sold well and earned enthusiastic reviews, but his stubborn refusal to make nice, his desire to make more rock-influenced albums, and the faint but clear Leftism in his populist lyrical stance made him no friends at MCA's Nashville offices, and his growing dependence on heroin didn't help matters one bit. Earle was moved to MCA's Los Angeles-based Uni imprint, and he headed to Memphis to cut his third album, Copperhead Road. The result improbably became one of Earle's strongest albums; between its big drum sound, arena-sized guitars, and a swagger that owed more to the Rolling Stones and Guns N' Roses than country's New Traditionalists, Copperhead Road was the unabashed rock & roll album Earle had long threatened to make, but his attitude and personality were strong enough to handle the oversized production, and the songs showed that for all the aural firepower, this was still the same down-home troublemaker from Earle's first two albums. The moonshiner's tale of the title cut, the gunfighter's saga of "The Devil's Right Hand," and the story of two generations of soldiers in "Johnny Come Lately" with the Pogues sitting in as Earle's backing band were all tough but compelling narratives rooted in country tradition, and their rock moves updated them without robbing them of their power. And if the songs about love that dominate the album's second half don't have the same immediate impact, "Even When I'm Blue," "You Belong to Me," and "Once You Love" are honest and absorbing reflections of the heart of this dysfunctional romantic. Copperhead Road's production, which occasionally borders on hair metal territory, dates it, but the fire of Earle's performances and the strength of the songs more than compensates, and this album still connects 20 years on: if he had been able to hold himself together and make a few more records this strong, it's hard to imagine how big a star he could have become.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Mca
  • UPC: 039405000728
  • Catalog Number: 7
  • Sales rank: 22,822

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Steve Earle Primary Artist, Bass, Harmonica, Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Douglas Dobro
Sam Bush Mandolin
Bill Lloyd Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar, 12-string Guitar
Edgar Meyer Violin
Maria McKee Background Vocals
Ken Moore Organ, Synthesizer
Radney Foster Background Vocals
Bucky Baxter Dobro, Steel Guitar
Philip Chevron Guitar, Vocals
John Cowan Background Vocals
Custer Drums
James Fearnley Accordion
Jem Finer Banjo
John Jarvis Piano
Kelly Looney Bass, Bass Guitar
Neill MacColl Mandolin
Shane MacGowan Banjo
Mark O'Connor Violin
Don Roberts Guitar, Bass Guitar
Donnie Roberts Bass, Guitar
Spider Stacy Vocals, Whistle (Instrument)
Terry Woods Cittern
Technical Credits
Steve Earle Composer, Producer, Contributor
The Pogues Contributor
Richard Bennett Composer
Chris Birkett Engineer
Tony Brown Producer
Joe Hardy Engineer
Telluride Contributor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    highly recommended

    one of the best Americana albums out in the 80's 90's and beyond

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews