Classic Album Review: 12 Golden Country Greats

Full Title: 12 Golden Country Greats
Artist: Ween
Year: 1995
Label: Elektra
Tracks:
1) I’m Holding You- 9
2) Japanese Cowboy- 8
4) Piss Up a Rope- 9/10
4) I Don’t Want to Leave You On the Farm- 9
5) Pretty Girl- 7
6) Powder Blue- 7/8
7) Mister Richard Smoker- 9/10
8) Help Me Scrape the Mucas Off My Brain- 9
9) You Were the Fool- 7
10) Fluffy- 5

Comments: Every now and then I take a look at my vast quantity of music and pick out an artist- take a careful look at their discography and choose an album I feel my ears deserve the pleasure of hearing. This time it was Ween and the album is their take on Nashville Country with the 1995 record, 12 Golden Country Greats. Being a big fan of Ween, I had a feeling this record had some potential and I knew a couple of the songs already, so I wasn’t totally a stranger to this release. But, at the same time Ween typically shift from one style to another totally different style and for me this is one of most appealing aspects of their art, so, I wasn’t sure if the duo could pull off a one genre LP. Also most of the reviews of this album are unfavorable, could it be a case of critics schmitics or are they on to something. Only one way to find out, listen to the damn thing! And let me tell ya, I was suprised at how stellar this record is. They really capture the country sound to a tee and still manage to spit out their distinct, silly/sick humor, Ween touch! I mean, knowing their musical aesthetics, there are no major suprises here. In other words, unlike their magnum opus, The Mollusk (1997), which I reviewed almost exactly a year ago, this is pretty much what we would expect from a Ween country album, but that’s not a bad thing. They deliver, they deliver hard. The album explores a wide variety of country styles, but still maintains an overall album vibe, even with some of the weaker tracks, which are not many. Often when I hear a weak song on an album I feel like it had no place on the record and makes the good tunes look bad or fucks up the vibe of the record, but that doesn’t happen here. Songs like “Pretty Girl” and “Powder Blue,” didn’t hit me as hard, but they still complement the sound of the album as a whole and never distract you from the album’s tone. “I’m Holding You,” is a great opener, just simple, humble, 50s (?) country ballad, George Jones esque vocals. Not being a country afficionado, I don’t quite appreciate Ween’s clear dedication to the genre. Lyrically licentious tracks such as “Piss Up a Rope,” and “Mister Richard Smoker,” are classic, nasty, hilarious, typical Ween ditties. A bit more modern and of the Ween persuasion, but without a doubt for my tastes they are the best numbers featured here; like or not like, listeners will most likely muster at least a smirk, if not a gigantic burst of laughter or for some complete shock and disgusts! Haha. I won’t go through all the songs, but most are of high quality. The only below average track is the closer, “Fluffy,” which is amusing in its bizarre nature, but doesn’t do much for me and I would have loved a more epic, savage closer. Oh well, the Ween boys succeeded at what they set out to do (at least in my eyes) and I’m ultimately glad I revisted their discography.

Grade: 9/10

Biddley bah boo, biddley bah boo, biddley bah boo bow!

Classic Album Review: The Mollusk

Artist: Ween
Title: The Mollusk
Label: Elektra
Year: 1997
Length: 43 minutes
Fun Fact: This LP is often considered the band’s magnum opus and supposedly (wikiquote) Dean Ween himself stated, “I will say that the only record that I ever felt really confident about was The Mollusk. That’s my favorite record we’ve ever done.” I am a huge Ween fan and before hearing this record, Chocolate and Cheese (1994) was my favorite Ween album, but I am now convinced that Dean is indeed correct in his confidence.

1) I’m Dancing In the Show Tonight- 9- A cute, funny, little opener. Funny in the weird Ween way, if you know of Ween’s music, then you know what I’m speaking of. This tune reminds me of little girls dancing with their grandpas at some family function. Don’t know why. It just carries a sort of innocence with it, I suppose.

2) The Mollusk- 9- Wonderfully catchy; not catchy in the mindlessly humming to the songs on the radio sense of catchy, but rather creating memorable songs that become etched in your psyche. Lyrically, this song kicks off the album’s theme of ocean like subject matter. I particularly dig the line, “Let’s be forever and forever be free.”

3) Polka Dot Tail- 9/10- Bizarre, trippy images of whales with polka dot tails, shrinking ice creams, and squishing fans in your hand. Yeah, I know crazy, but Ween’s uplifting music satisfies the ears so much that you just take it all in; no questions asked.

4) I’ll Be Your Johnny On the Spot- 8- Unlike, the first three tracks, this number is fast paced and not as humorous.

5) Mutilated Lips- 9- Of course, it’s fucked up, it’s the Ween boys. For a song with such a violent title, this tune is actually quite satisfying to my mutilated ears.

6) The Blarney Stone- 9- Haha, completely hilarious, drunken sing song about fucking some chick! Yeah, not the most savory of songs. This would be apropos in some Irish pub or on a pirate’s ship. Perhaps, the latter, considering the ocean theme.

7) It’s Gonna Be (Alright)- 10- Fantastic pop song! I’ll chop up my limbs to say this is the best tune in the brothers Ween catalog. Sure, lyrically it sounds more like an AM top 20, Madonna love song, “It’s just not our time, but you’ll find a new love and you’ll be fine.” The only flaw here is the brevity: 3:18, which actually isn’t that brief, but still it’s too short, when you have gold on your hands.

8) The Golden Eel- 8- I love how the tempo shifts back and forth from slow to fast and I dig the strange, low vocals. There is some pretty cool jamming going on toward the end. All for this very special eel.

9) Cold Blows the Wind- 8- Back to the more “traditional” vocals. This is a slow number about the powerful desire a man has for a kiss, a kiss of Lilly White lips. Go figure.

10) Pink Eye (On My Leg)- 7- It’s an ok tune, nothing bad, but I don’t have anything special to say about it.

11) Waving My Dick In The Wind- 9- Fast and hilarious. For no apparent reason, the narrator is waving his dick in the wind until he reaches his lover. The old Gee Tar is pretty nasty here. Simple, but nasty.

12) Buckingham Green- 9/10- One of the best tracks on this record. I really dig the sorta low-fi vocals. I don’t honestly know how to describe Ween’s music, which is kind of cool in a way. It’s so spectacular and they switch it up so well, you never know what you’re going to get…. yeah, I just watched Forrest Gump.

13) Ocean Man- 9/10- Good shit! This is perhaps, the album’s most accessible song with it’s danceability, upbeat music/lyrics, and almost Disney/Nickelodeon character like vocals lol.

14) She Wanted To Leave- 9- Solid closer, very passionate lol. If I were “she” I’d feel important. The second half of the song is a subtle reprise of the opener. It’s a perfect way to transition to silence.

Grade/Final Thoughts: A, I highly recommend this crazy, little ditty to anyone that wants to expand their musical horizons and especially to any Ween fans who haven’t heard this.

Chris