Nothing more heartening than on a cold dark Saturday night during a lockdown I sit down and begin typing my review of this rather sparse yet majestic J Mascis box set being released by Cherry Red Records. In fairness over the last few months, it seems a lot of bands are holding back on new material seeing as they aren’t able to trawl the towns and cities of the world promoting their new wares so its ripe pickings recently for the box set after box set of unreleased material or previously released material and hard to find stuff getting a new lick of paint and packaging and being re-released.
Now some companies just knock out reissues on heavyweight vinyl for the audiophiles out there and then there are some labels who actually excel in this field and release some rather nice box sets full of material both previously and not previously released and right at the top of that list has to be Cherry Red. To be fair they also have knocked out some really decent sets this year coving several genres.
Dinosaur Jr had their classic albums re-packaged a while ago with a plethora of bonus material that added up to some pretty impressive reissues and now it seems the turn of the creator in general J Mascis to release some of his live recordings. Starting with 3 CDs of solo acoustic musings. 93s live at the iconic CBGBs. Martin & Me’ that came out in 95. Then finally a live in Copenhagen recorded in 98.
CBGBs is where Mascis tugs on the heartstrings with a spine-tingling set of acoustic renditions of classic Dinosaur JR tunes with the likes of ‘Thumb’, ‘Keeblin’ and covers of ‘On The Run’ as he strums and picks his way through the set even remembering to talk in between songs it’s a glorious mishmash of songs stripped bare.
‘Martin & Me’ is a much clearer set with some of the same songs but a longer set that includes some rather interesting covers like who knew he’d cover ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ but its the emotional renditions of songs like ‘Goin Home’ that steals the show and makes the hair on my arms stand up as I type and listen. Ending the set this time with ‘Grab It’.
The third disc is of varying quality and probably my favourite of the three with awesome renditions of ‘Sure Not Over You’, ‘Little Fury Things’, ‘Drawerings’ and ‘Keep The Glove’. Fans will be all over this (sorry) and if you want to hear rough acoustic alternative rock at its finest drawing from the likes of Neil Young and churning out stripped back picking styles from a genuine guitar hero and songwriter.
Don’t think about it go pick up a copy and like I say if you’re already sold on his solo work or Dinosaur Jr then this is a no brainer.
Buy ‘Fed Up’ Here
Author: Dom Daley