Desert Island Discs: “Fervor” by Jason and the Scorchers (1983)Posted: April 2, 2012
I think if a person buys a cassette — twice, and plays it until it’s in ribbons — twice, that ought to qualify it as one of his Desert Island Discs.
Yes, I confess to watching a dangerous amount of MTV when it was new (i.e., back when it still actually played music). One night in 1983 I watched a video block that featured cowpunk. The first bit featured Rank And File (I bought their albums too, by the way).. and then these guys played the best Dylan cover not recorded by The Byrds.
The very next day I ran out in a buying frenzy and bought their EP, “Fervor.” Played it until it was in ribbons, bought another and did the same.
If you read the Desert Island Disc about The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, you already know that I think most “country rock” is weaksauce. Mainly because it wusses out on the rock: but often cowpunk bands seemed to almost mock the “country” part of the equation, played it for laughs. That’s not just weaksauce, it’s clownshoes too. Yup, you read it right: weaksauce and clownshoes. Country rock can be done right: listen to the Daredevils, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Son Volt, and the post-Crosby Byrds. Jason and the Scorchers also get it right.
Seven songs on this EP and each is amazing. (Jason Ringenberg co-wrote “Both Sides Of The Line” with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe.) Ringenberg has the ideal voice for cowpunk, and Warner E. Hodges is one of the half-dozen best damn rock’n’roll guitarists I’ve ever heard. Example: “Harvest Moon,” the best song on the EP not written by Mr. Bobby Zim.
“Fervor” is out of print as a free-standing EP, but EMI has repackaged and reissued it a couple of times, usually with the follow-up LP “Lost And Found.” It’s a great buy. Some listeners pronounce “Lost And Found” the better of the two. I won’t quarrel, but I side with “Fervor.” Listen and decide.
Clips from youtube