The Walking Rock Alphabet: U

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it’s been way too long since I had a walking report. I have some excuses, though. Trust me, lots of excuses. I won’t bore you with them, however, as I can see the eyerolling through this text.
I know. I should have kept on with it. I should have found that time somehow, but I didn’t. In fact, it took some “bullying” from a friend to get back on the mean streets of southeastern Sioux Falls. Bullying, you ask? Well, since that has become the misused word of the last couple of years, I figured it was my turn to describe anything that isn’t a complete compliment as that awful word.
Enough of the backstory. It’s Sunday afternoon, and I just transcribed an interview. Not knowing how I’m going to turn that transcription into a story, I figured it is a good time to clear my head. It’s super humid outside, but the temperature isn’t bad. It’s now or never.
My album for the day is Anodyne, the final album from legendary alt-country leaders Uncle Tupelo. While we didn’t know at the time of its release that the band was about to call it quits, listening to it almost twenty years later it seems pretty obvious. This is a record that really set the stage for both Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy’s post-Tupelo careers. Songs like “Slate” and “Chickimauga” are templates for the first handful of Son Volt albums, while “The Long Cut” and “New Madrid” would have fit perfectly on the first Wilco album.
Yes, this record in hindsight is sort of like the Beatles’ White Album, where instead of it being a “band” album, it is two solo albums backed by the rest of the band. Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, as the White Album is a sprawling affair that jumps from genre to genre. A more realistic comparison is probably the last couple of Husker Du albums, where Bob Mould and Grant Hart alternated songs with minimal input from the other.
Not to say that Anodyne isn’t a great album. It stands proudly with the rest of their catalog. In fact, Uncle Tupelo is one of those rare groups where every one of their albums has at some point stood out as my personal favorite.
Anodyne was a great soundtrack for my return to my middling version of working out. I promise to get out more often. If I don’t, I’m sure I will be “bullied” some more!


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