John Wesley Harding | Awake: the new edition

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Awake: the new edition

by John Wesley Harding

"Harding's craft remains untouched. His acid-tongued, always-clever phrasing, folky leanings, and strong sense of melody show him to be one of the finest (and unfairly overlooked) songwriters of the Nineties." - All Music Guide
Genre: Folk: Power-folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Good Morning (I Just Woke Up)
0:43 album only
2. Your Ghost (Don't Scare Me No More)
3:53 album only
3. Window Seat
4:47 album only
4. Burn
4:41 album only
5. It's All My Fault
5:03 album only
6. Sweat Tears Blood and Come
6:28 album only
7. Poor Heart
3:44 album only
8. Miss Fortune
5:05 album only
9. Song I Wrote Myself in the Future
3:25 album only
10. Something to Write Home About
4:32 album only
11. You're Looking at Me
4:07 album only
12. You So & So
3:12 album only
13. I'm Staying Here (And I'm Not Buying a Gun)
3:38 album only
14. Good Bye (Late O'Clock)
1:37 album only
15. Wooden Overcoat (bonus track)
3:40 album only
16. Jackson Cage (bonus track)
3:29 album only
17. Punch 'n' Judy (bonus track)
3:51 album only
18. I Just Woke Up (bonus track)
2:10 album only
19. Wreck on the Highway (live bonus track)
3:45 album only


Album Notes
This remastered re-release of the 1998 CD by acerbic, articulate singer-songwriter and self-proclaimed practitioner of "gangsta folk" John Wesley Harding is bolstered by five bonus tracks, including a live acoustic duet with Bruce Springsteen on the Boss's "Wreck on the Highway."

"Awake: the new edition" boasts a higher-tech and rockier, more electronically-influenced sound than some of Harding's earlier releases, but his songs remain melodic and catchy. Studio versions of concert favorites like "Window Seat," "Miss Fortune," "Burn," and "Something to Write Home About" are among the highlights, full of Harding's trademark wordplay and wit. "I'm Staying Here (And I'm Not Buying a Gun") is a defiant declaration of pacifism by the transplanted Englishman, who had the misfortune of moving to Brooklyn from Seattle right around the time of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

The CD also has plenty of tender movements, including a quiet version of Springsteen's "Jackson Cage" and the exhausted, troubled love songs "Sweat Blood Tears and Come" "Poor Heart" and the self-flagellating "It's All My Fault."

Although Harding performs on a wide array of instruments here, including guitars, percussion, synthesizer, and keyboards, he also receives sympathetic instrumental contributions from the ubiquitous Robert Lloyd (keyboards), solo artist Chuck Prophet (electric guitar), power-pop maven Chris von Sneidern (bass, backing vocals, co-producer) and members of Seattle's Young Fresh Fellows.

Balancing sincerity and sarcasm is a Harding trademark well-showcased on "Awake: the new edition." It's great to have this CD back in circulation again.



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the definitive version of this album
First of all, I have to adress the fact that I have got the original 1997 pressing of the album so I cannot comment on the bonus tracks 16 to 19. "Wooden Overcoat" was included on the original pressing as a hidden track despite not having been included on its track list. And it's a good song. I guess this new edition of "Awake" is the one to get, because the original is missing the full version of "I Just Woke Up" and only has 43 seconds of it that is track 1. It's a great song to play in the morning.

On "Awake", John Wesley Harding is backed by producer Chris von Sneidern, his studio band and a few select guest musicians including Chuck Prophet, who plays the electric guitar solo on the outro of "Window Seat", but the beautiful, simple acoustic guitar solo in the middle of the song is played by Harding himself. That song is my choice for 1st single from this album. Kelly Hogan's beautiful voice turns "It's All My Fault" into a duet. She can also be heard joining the "yeah" chorus on the time travelling "Song that I Wrote Myself in the Future", one of the album's best rockers.
Other favourites include the dark "Burn", the spooky "Your Ghost (Don't Scare Me No More)" and the song mentioning handguns "I'm Staying Here". They strangely do not include "Miss Fortune", the song that inspired Harding to become a writer of novels. Or maybe it's just that I prefer his music over his books?