My First Series-The Tragically Hip-Road Apples

I grabbed this cd off the shelf and opened it up. “OK. WHO DIDN’T PUT THE CD BACK IN THE CASE” I yelled. No answer. I knew who she was though. There is almost nothing I hate worse in this world than cd’s put back in the wrong case. Oh well. I guess it will be a couple of firsts. My first series combined with my first cassette review.

When I first bought this album I mainly played the first 2 songs and played them over and over. I’m not sure why. Maybe because they were so damn good, or perhaps because the last album was so good there was no way this one would be nearly as awesome. Back in those days, I had a really bad habit of buying albums for the hits and only playing those songs. The first 2 songs on this albums were the popular singles. I would have missed out on a hell of a lot if I had only listened to those songs.

Little Bones. “The long days of Shockley are gone. So is football Kennedy style. Famous last words taken all wrong. Wind up on the very same pile.” Shockley was responsible for starting Silicon Valley among other numerous accomplishments, and football Kennedy style is a simpler time with no padding or helmets. Great driving beat. The song lyrics mix history lessons with happy hour and eating chicken slow. Nice opener.

Twist My Arm. If anyone thought the band did not have a bass player since he may have been foreshadowed on previous songs, Gord Sinclair perks up and lets us know he can be slappin’ da bass with the best of ’em, mon. Also, great guitar work as usual.

Cordelia. Great song. I’m still not sure why this was not a single, but very glad I finally decided to give it and the rest of the album a fair shake.

The Luxury. There is that bass again. Maybe the rest of the band unplugged the bass on the previous albums so that Gord did not make them look bad. Now that the cat is out of the bag, he wants to let it shine. Gord Downie also has that growl that makes you sit up and take notice.

Born In The Water. Great guitar work. Kind of a Southern Rock diddy.

Long Time Running. Amazing guitar echo. One note echoes numerous times as if this was recorded in a cave. A slower song with a little bit of rockabilly goodness “I’ll drop a caribou. I’ll tell on you.” This lyric confused me for years. I’m still not sure I know the meaning. The best I can figure is like dropping a dime on someone, or putting a dime in a payphone to tell the cops. The Canadian quarter has a caribou, and payphones were a quarter, so that is my guess. The Hip lyrics are definitely thinking mans lyrics.

Bring it All Back. A slower groove with great drumming and guitar work. Fuzzy guitar, wah pedal, groovy goodness.

Three Pistols. Another history lesson about one of the Group of Seven. Every time I see one of his paintings, I think of this song. I also think of this song when I want a f*cking awesome groove with some wah pedal wocka wocka wocka wocka(that’s how it sounds to me).

Fight. Did someone introduce Rob Baker to the guitar effects half way though this album? Before the last 3 songs he was more straight up guitar goodness, but with the effects mixed in he is the complete package. Clapton, Bonamassa or Trucks would all be proud to call this one of their songs. The bass is groovy, the lyrics are growly, and the drums are spot on.

On the Verge. Great lead mixed with background vocals. Pulsing drums and bass. Great lead and rhythm.

Fiddler’s Green. Nice acoustic change. Kind of reminds me of music from the East coast of Canada. Lyrics quiet but powerful in a Gordon Lightfoot kind of way. When the electric guitar chimes in it has a twangy feel to it that suits the song.

The Last of the Unplucked gems. Gord Downie is very subdued on this song. This is a good song to end the album with. Not a bad song, but not awesome either.

Don Smith did another great job on production. Great musicianship, great lyrics, great vocals. Just a slight notch below the album before it.

9.5/10

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30 thoughts on “My First Series-The Tragically Hip-Road Apples

    • I really feel Robby Baker is also really underappreciated. Even I was not as huge of a fan as I am after really listening closely during this series. I met him once and got a picture with him. He seems like a real nice, down to earth Canadian dude. I think I might do a write up about that week. Seeing the Hip at a small venue with 100 or so other people, meeting Robby Baker, and then seeing The Hip again at large venue. It was a great week.

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    • The cassette thing is always something I was going to do. I will be doing cassette deck comparison, and a 3 way review of the same album on cassette, cd and vinyl in the future, and some other cassette reviews, including some things only on cassette. To me it is a lost medium just starting to scratch the surface at coming back. The Metallica RSD release may open the gates a bit though.

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  1. I ❤ this album so much! Great write-up!
    But I must correct you on one thing: Tom Thomson was NOT part of the Group of Seven. He influenced them, but was never a part of the Group (he died before they actually formed), just like Emily Carr is attributed to them, but was not part of the group. (Sez Sarca, B.A. Hons, Visual Arts and French lol)

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  2. Nice call on sinclair’s bass – the outro to twist my arm especially, brilliant!
    I think this one lends itself well to the a/b format, long time running makes for a fine side a closer, bring it all back setting the stage nicely for side b.
    And Baker, what a guitar tutorial throughout!

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