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|The Replacements||Primary Artist|
|Alex Chilton||Background Vocals|
|Chris Mars||Drums, Background Vocals|
|Paul Westerberg||Guitar, Piano, Vocals|
|Tommy Stinson||Bass Guitar|
|Peter Jesperson||Liner Notes, Reissue Producer|
|Bob Mehr||Liner Notes|
|Debbie DeStaffan||Art Direction|
Posted October 1, 2010
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After The Replacements' "Let It Be" turned into a huge critical success, the Minneapolis group signed to Sire Records in 1985. They may have jumped ship from the indie label but Paul Westerberg and his band of misfits remained as unruly, untidy and unpredictable as ever. Their first album for Sire remains one of their best, "Tim", produced by Tommy Erdelyi (aka Tommy Ramone), whose ramshackle sound fits the group well. "Bastards Of Young" and "Kiss Me On The Bus" are great should-have-been-rocker-hits while "Swinging Party" and "Here Comes A Regular" are the most painful ballads Westerberg would ever write. While Westerberg's songwriting has improved dramatically, guitarist Bob Stinson is somewhat reined in here which is shame, because his wild guitar tangents gave the band genuine character. Needless to say, after this album, Bob was out. Although the expanded edition of "Let It Be" features some terrific outtakes, including an early version of "Can't Hardly Wait", which appeared on the next record.
Many have called 1987's "Pleased To Meet Me" their best album since "Let It Be" and it probably is. The group was now reduced to a trio (though Slim Dunlap would join the band shortly after its release) and seemed to have a more devil-may-care attitude this time. It also helped that they went to Memphis and recorded this album under the auspices of Jim Dickinson and even Alex Chilton (one of Westerberg's heroes) dropped in for some production assistance. And they even returned the favor with a song called "Alex Chilton". The band's sloppy, drunken rockers sound more slovenly than ever while the acoustic "Skyway" is one of their most beautiful songs.
As The Replacements' critical cred grew, they tried to make a more commercial sounding record in 1989, "Don't Tell A Soul". The result was perhaps their weakest-sounding record, even though it did produce their biggest single, "I'll Be You". Yet, the additional tracks reveal what an excellent record this could have been---"Birthday Gal" (which gave the album its title) and "Portland", a forlorn tune about backwoods life on the road.
By the time "All Shook Down" was released in 1990, The Replacements were all but finished as a band. The album was pretty much a Westerberg solo album all but in name. In fact, all four of the band members appeared on only one track: "Someone Take The Wheel". Yet, there are brilliant songs on this album featuring many different guests---John Cale's mournful viola on "Sadly Beautiful", Benmont Tench's disjointed piano on "The Last" and Johnette Napolitano's roaring duet with Westerberg on "My Little Problem". The group also seemed more comfortable with producer Scott Litt (R. E. M.) than anyone else. The album also includes a sloppy three-song EP of cover tunes called "Don't Buy Or Sell, It's Crap". Fortunately, that can't be said about this record.
Posted October 23, 2008
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