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Re-imagining Tom Petty

October 24, 2018

The recent release of the 4CD set An American Treasure has bought some new outtakes and alternate versions into the public domain. Whilst I regard some Petty LP’s as unimproveable (Hard Promises fits into this category) there are others that I think could use some help. By also utilising tracks from the earlier Playback set I have reconfigured two LPs which at the time of release I found disappointingly inconsistent.

Long After Dark Revisited

  1. A One Story Town
  2. You Got Lucky
  3. Deliver Me (alt)
  4. Change Of Heart
  5. Finding Out
  6. Keep A Little Soul
  7. Straight Into Darkness (alt)
  8. Turning Point
  9. Between Two Worlds

Tracks 1, 2, 4. 5, 8 and 9 from the original Straight Into Darkness (1982)

Tracks 3, 6 and 7 from An American Treasure (2018)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were in fine form when they toured this LP around Europe in 1982 but for me the original LP rather ran out of steam after Side 1.  Adding Keep A Little Soul – the best unreleased track from An American Treasure – and the tougher live TV version of Straight Into Darkness makes for a better listen. The band really like another outtake called Keeping Me Alive which is included on both An American Treasure and Playback but it means nothing to me. Talking of which…

Southern Accents Revisited

  1. Rebels (alt)
  2. Walkin’ From The Fire
  3. Southern Accents
  4. Dogs On The Run
  5. Trailer
  6. Cracking Up
  7. The Apartment Song (demo)
  8. Big Boss Man
  9. The Image Of Me
  10. The Best Of Everything (alt)
  11. Don’t Come Around Here No More

Tracks 1, 2 and 10 from An American Treasure (2018)

Tracks 3, 4 and 11 from the original Southern Accents (1985)

Tracks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 from Playback (1995)

Southern Accents was originally planned as a double LP and it could have been terrific, it could have been their Exile On Main Street. What eventually emerged was a mess. Whilst Dave Stewart did a brilliant job on Don’t Come Around Here No More – only placed last here because of over-familiarity – the other three tracks he produced were total turkeys. However the LP also contained two of Tom Petty’s best ever ballads in The Best Of Everything and Southern Accents. Adding the more country/roots orientated material such as the cover of Nick Lowe’s Cracking’ Up delivers a more consistent listen.

So sacrilege or creative improvement ? Let me know…


From → Music

One Comment
  1. Mike Baess permalink

    I think I mentioned before that I was always underwhelmed by Southern Accents. It didn’t have the momentum of either of its two predecessors

    and I found it straddled across two stools, with the ballads dragging it down. It also didn’t help having the Dave Stewart inspired novelty song on it – even though I love it – which made the whole thing sound even more incongruous.

    Much has been made of Tom’s 80s heartland rock rivalry with Bruce Springsteen and I think his manager may have been guilty of trying to coax him into delivering a bona fide stadium rock classic, which it pretty much is. I’ll need to put together your re-imagined version to see how if it flows better but it’s a good idea with the benefit of the wonderful An American Treasure. I haven’t listened to Playback for years so thanks for reminding me about that.



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