When I was digging in the bins at She Said Boom! in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, I learned that they have boxes underneath the LP bins. Those boxes are where they put the LPs they’re selling for $1.00. Yep, that’s right. $1!
Tom Cochrane And Red Rider
Of course, if I’d been thinking about it at all, I would have posted this up yesterday, for Canada Day, because this 1986 album just screams Canada to me. It just sounds like home, in the best possible way.
On the back cover of this LP, there’s a line at the bottom that says “Suit me up, I’m ready to go.” Sounds an awful lot like a GIVE ‘ER, to me! Attaboy, Tommy! Here’s a quick and dirty run-down of the tunes, from my point-form notes jotted as I listened:
Boy Inside The Man – you know this song, it’s a classic, and a huge hit.
Love Under Fire – very 80s, with a very familiar (but elusive, to me) bass line.
Untouchable One – another one you’ll know, a template TC&RR tune!
Lasting Song – has a sweet build, more great Red Rider magic.
Citizen Cain – straight up rocker a la Mellencamp, even Springsteen. Yes!
Ashes To Diamonds – bluesy 80s sythn dirty alley rocker.
The Loading – very 80s, slinky beat, funky groove.
Ocean Blues (Emotion Blue) – could be a lost Bryan Adams track. Cool!
River Of Stone – 80s pop rock, twinges of the Police as done by TC&RR. Great drum outro.
One More Time (Some Old Habits) – another rocker, busy track, huge sound.
All throughout this album, Cochrane’s distinctive voice resonates with so much power, lifting these strong songs to new levels. This album is full of fantastic lyrics and great playing. Recommended very much!
How many times have I heard this record? I couldn’t guess. It is university days, to me. It was everywhere, and all because of Life Is A Highway. You know something, I’m fairly over that song. But it’s still fun when it comes on, I guess.
But there’s much to love about the rest of this album. The title track is slinky and rocking, and then we get my favourite album track, possibly even my favourite Cochrane song – No Regrets. “After all the shit that you know we’ve been through here / there ain’t a shovel big enough in the world that could move it.” Right on, Tom. Thanks. Just a great tune.
Sinking Like A Sunset is another hit, and a stone classic. Washed Away is a perfect follow-up, a bit slower but no less important. What becomes quickly apparent, as you go through this album, is just how great Cochrane is at writing perfectly-crafted pop songs that tell stories… Everything Comes Around picks up the pace again, and I’m surprised some new country act hasn’t covered this one yet. It’s a pure Tom track, but they could do it. Then again, I’ve heard Rascall Flatt’s fuck-up of Life Is A Highway, so maybe it’s better if the new country people continue to ignore it.
The Secret Is To Know When To Stop is a slower piece, contemplative and beautiful. Brave And Crazy is a bluesy little number that swings along awesomely. Eventually it becomes a full-on shouter. Awesome. Up next is Bigger Man, which is a cool mid-tempo rock song about, you guessed it, being the bigger man. Friendly Advice is another classic Cochrane track. How were these not all on the radio? Why are they not still all on the radio?
Get Back Up goes back to the blues, stomping along in such a way as you can’t help but move to it while it plays. Emotional Truth slithers along with a certain amount of menace, and some really great guitar lines woven all through it. And finally (as if all of THAT wasn’t enough), All The King’s Men is a pretty acoustic-based track that eventually builds into a light full-band track. I listened to this one twice in a row, this time through, just ‘cos I liked it so much.
You know, I saw Tom Cochrane in concert (with Emm Gryner opening), back when I lived in Mike’s hometown. It was a really great show. He played several of these songs (it was later on, though, so he had other new awesome songs to add to the mix along with the classic ‘oldies’). The crowd seemed really into it, I was two or three rows from the stage (standing room only). Gryner even joined his band on stage for most of their set, playing keyboards. They thrilled me by playing No Regets. Anyway, it was really a fun time. And then, of course, towards the end they played Life Is A Highway. And all of the people who’d been hanging back and drinking and talking all crushed forward as if being nearer the stage would help them enjoy it that much more. I genuinely feared for my life, feared being crushed by the mob. It happened so fast. And then, as soon as the song was over, they all melted away again. So strange. Poor Tom, he does so much great work and that one song, even six or seven years later, still sends people into a frenzy not unlike Bill Clinton on a hamburger. A brief, violent flash and then it’s over.
Anyway, I love this record. I figure you should too (if you don’t already). So very, very good.