Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever

(Click on heading to visit official website)
Style: acoustic, folk rock, Americana
Label: MCA
Year: 1989
Home: California

Members: Tom Petty ~ vocals/guitars/keyboards/tambourine/hand claps
Mike Campbell ~ lead guitar/mandolin/slide guitar/dobro/keyboards
Jeff Lynne ~ bass/electric guitar/keyboards/b. vocals/hand claps
Phil Jones ~ drums

Additional: Jim Keltner ~ drums/percussion
Kelsey Campbell ~ b. vocals
Alan Weidel ~ hand claps

Guests: George Harrison ~ acoustic guitar/b. vocals
Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, Howie Epstein ~ b. vocals
Benmont Tench ~ piano



This might be one of the best albums to sing along with. TP isn’t the greatest singer, he drolls his notes & his voice is almost whiny, but his songs are simple & memorable. Actually, they are so memorable that its easy to walk away remembering each song, making this probably the best album with TP's name on it. The music is primarily acoustic guitars a la Americana not pub rock, where TP started his career, making him almost an unsung hero of pop Americana. If this was the only album you knew & it wasn't for the rest of his catalog, such as the must hear later career bluesy Mojo, he very well could be named an Americana artist right up there with Mellencamp & Springsteen. Full Moon Fever is technically the first of three solo albums away from TP & The Heartbreakers, but with his bandmates all present as guests, except for drummer Stan Lynch, the difference between the outings is a small one on that level. Actually, for many of us TP's career starts here & this is the sound we know him for, that is, this is the template not the career bump it actually was. If there's any difference between this & what folks knew TP for previously it can all be laid at the feet of the producer Jeff Lynne, famously of Electric Light Orchestra, who moves TP away from the raw rock he'd made a name for himself with via Damn The Torpedoes . Though, following Full Moon Fever the Heartbreakers would return with the hit "Learning To Fly" also produced by Lynne & the division between the two would crumble into obscurity almost making a mockery of what it means to go solo. As I said, this is the template & the starting point. Actually, it's so much a mockery & starting point that outside of TP fans few probably know this is a solo album. This very much sounds like another album he'd be involved with a group called the Traveling Wilburys that featured TP, Lynne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan & Roy Orbison. The two albums would actually be written over-lapping, one influencing the other even down to TP's new bandmates guesting here. This album was interrupted for the creation of the Wilburys while some songs that did not make those sessions would appear on later TP albums such as the hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance." The big hit from this album is the addictive "Free Fallin'", which is both a good example of the style of music here but also what makes this album so lyrically great - its mysterious. What does the song really mean behind its playful feeling? It discusses a lover yet also "vampires" & "bad boys" like it’s skimming alongside a topic that's dark but trying to stay safe. Actually the whole album sounds nice when it probably isn’t (for example, "Won’t Back Down"). It bears repeated listening to discover this mystery ... the fact that this album is a pleasure to listen to helps a lot.

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