Ween – 12 Golden Country Greats

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Basically Ween’s version of Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, that is to say, the shortest and only country album by a non-country artist that is completely disposable in the grand scheme of the universe that most certainly isn’t the artist’s best album or a great country album but all in all is also really charming because it’s funny, well-sung, well-played and well-produced. Only “Mister Richard Smoker” doesn’t work, because its employment of non-stereotypes to stereotype a black gay man don’t come off as funny; ditto the hook. And maybe for Ween, these songs are too precisely performed, regardless if the song’s meant to be heartfelt (ie. the hook of “I’m Holding You”) or funny (ie. the off-harmonies of “Piss Up a Rope”) such that it sometimes doesn’t pull off either result.

But the songs not named “Mister Richard Smoker” will all have a lyric worth quoting or an instrumental detail worth keeping, mostly provided by the 12 Golden Country Greats (the title isn’t a reference to the number of tracks… or maybe it is, and it’s a 20 Jazz Funk Greats-type joke) (vocals aside, I’m pretty sure the only guitar that the original band plays is the solos on “I Don’t Want to Leave You on the Farm” and “Fluffy”), ie. the pedal steel guitar throughout “I’m Holding You”; the various instruments throughout the hootenanny of “Japanese Cowboy”; Aaron’s voice pitched-down and slowed down to the point of mega-absurdity on “Fluffy.” That’s all I got on this one. For further recommended reading, try Ben Vaughan’s interview with Taste of Country.

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