Friday, 29 July 2016

50 albums to take to my grave #40: Let Me Come Over

Decisions, decisions... you may remember as an addendum to my '50 Songs...' series that I replaced three songs. This was because I had three songs that appeared on albums I really wanted to include in this series. I'd made a rule - albums could not be featured if I had one of its songs on that list. I was torn - should I just leave it as it is and forget the albums? Of course not. These albums are just too good to leave behind. Replacing the songs was easy. But then I faced another dilemma...

There are some acts who I rate as great singles bands. While some of their albums are great too, generally a 'Best Of' compilation pretty much contains everything you really need. I therefore decided to conclude the series with a few 'Best Of' compilations. One of them was Buffalo Tom's 'Asides From', quite simply one of the most best CDs I own. But at the last minute, I had a change of heart.

Buffalo Tom's third album 'Let Me Come Over' was on my original list of albums right from the very start. I realised the mistake I made early on when I featured Velvet Roof as the very first of my '50 songs to take to my grave'. It is one of my all time fave tracks and has been since I bought the 12" way back in 1992. But when I bought the album, that became one of my all time fave albums very quickly. And doesn't it have one of the best front sleeves ever?

Velvet Roof is arguably the 90s' best-single-that-nobody-knows, a rollicking romp of skittish guitars and harmonica solos. Stymied is probably the most inappropriately-named track on the album; it comes bursting out of the traps and hurtles along at a frightening pace - nowt's stopping it. And as for Larry - well if any lead singer has ever written a better song about his cat than this one, I've yet to hear it.

The thing I love about Buffalo Tom more than other bands is their ability to make me adore their slower songs too. Taillights Fade set a standard that was almost matched on subsequent albums (I'm Allowed from 'Big Red Letter Day'; Wiser from 'Smitten'; You'll Never Catch Him from 'Three Easy Pieces'). Mineral and I'm Not There are also right up there with the best tracks in the band's catalogue, the latter seeing vocal duties taken by bassist Chris Colbourn. While his voice may well suit such songs, I've always been a big fan of Bill Janovitz. If I could sing, I'd love to have Bill's voice.

I love BT's sound, those crunching guitars and Tom Maginnis' solid snare breaking through on every beat. Only Sugar could match them when it came to the top power-trios of the 90s. (Uh-oh, I hear the Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. fans lining up to vent their spleens at that statement. I stand by it.)

When weighing up whether I'd take 'Asides From' or 'Let Me Come Over', I wondered if I'd ever be able to choose between them. In the end, 'Let Me Come Over' won on the grounds that there really isn't a duff track on it. Every song is at least a 4 out of 5 (most are 4½ or over, and there's even a couple of 5s). You'd expect that from a 'Best Of', but not necessarily a standard album. Sure, I'd miss songs like I'm Allowed, Rachael, Tangerine and their excellent stripped-down version of Going Underground, but heck, I do have Velvet Roof, Taillights Fade, Mineral, Larry, Stymied, Darl, Porchlight, I'm Not There..... I think you get the point.



Taillights Fade video:

Even though it's been replaced in the final list, you can still read my original piece on Velvet Roof in the first '50 songs' post back here.

1 comment:

  1. An terrific album by a band at their absolute peak. 'Velvet Roof' is a total scorcher and was on every compilation tape I made for the few years after its release. I saw Buffalo Tom live a couple of times during the 1990's, then once again at what was supposed to be a farewell show at The Bowery Ballroom while I was on holiday in New York in 2002. I'm pretty sure that they never really went away though.
    A great choice Robster.