The Mekons - Honky Tonkin - Cassette tape on Twin Tone Records

The Mekons – Honky Tonkin – Cassette tape on Twin Tone Records

 

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The Mekons – Honky Tonkin – Cassette

Song List
1. I Can’t Find My Money
2. Hole In The Ground
3. Sleepless Nights
4. Keep On Hoppin’
5. Charlie Cake Park
6. If They Hang You
7. Prince Of Darkness, The
8. Kidnapped
9. Sympathy For The Mekons
10. Spit
11. Trimdon Grange Explosion
12. Please Don’t Let Me Love You
13. Gin Palace

The third album from what could be called the Mekons’ “soused socialist hillbilly-punks from Leeds” period, 1987’s Honky Tonkin’ built on the country-influenced musical and lyrical themes of Fear and Whiskey and The Edge of the World, where the boozy ambience of classic Nashville sounds found a sympathetic ear among this pack of political and emotional underdogs. As a set of songs, Honky Tonkin’ isn’t quite up to the standards of the previous two albums, which creatively kick started the band after a period of inactivity, but as an album Honky Tonkin’ is one of the band’s best efforts. Touring and frequent visits to the recording studio had tightened up the Mekons’ sound a bit (“tight” being a highly relative concept), and while it’s many miles away from slick, the more full-bodied engineering and production on Honky Tonkin’ was a decided improvement on the often hollow and slapdash recording of Fear and Whiskey. And given a sympathetic recording environment for a change, the Mekons truly delivered the goods; the rollicking sway of “Kidnapped” and “Keep Hoppin'” finds room for a boozy joy in an unfriendly world, while the bitterness and defeat of “Spit” and “I Can’t Find My Money” put a sympathetic human face on this band’s class-conscious rage. And while this album didn’t contain the Mekons’ first stab at the 19th century protest song “The Trimdon Grange Explosion,” this version was a remarkable meeting of folk-rock’s earnestness and punk’s spitting wrath which ranks with the group’s most powerful recorded moments. Just short of a masterpiece, and one of the high points of the Mekons’ twangy period.

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