|Artist: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers|
|The first thing that hits you about Mojo is that the spirit of the Mudcrutch sessions has carried on with Tom Petty & Heartbreakers. This is the sound of a band playing together in a room - not a studio - facing each other, all singing and playing at the same time. The music is alive, with no overdubs or studio trickery. What you hear is what they created on the spot at that time.|
As for the songs, Mojo showcases a wide variety of American music from rock 'n' roll to country and both electric and acoustic blues. And then there are the images in Petty's lyrics which slip in on the melodies and set up a home in your head: The barefoot girl in the high grass chewing on a stick of sugar cane, the run-in with the law that begins when a carload of buddies decide to party with the motel maids, and the hilariously audacious idea of opening an album with an electric blues rocker about Thomas Jefferson's love affair with Sally Hemings. Petty would probably chuck a rock at anyone who called him a poet, but he sure is a southern writer of humor and sensitivity.
Mojo has juice and guts but it also has some sweet balladry for the slow dancers and even a wacked-out reggae number that is unlike anything that Heartbreakers have done before. It's the kind of album nobody's supposed to be able to make anymore. It got here just in time.
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Personnel: Tom Petty (vocals, guitar); Scott Thurston (guitar, harmonica); Mike Campbell (guitar); Benmont Tench (piano, organ); Steve Ferrone (drums, percussion).|
|Audio Mixer: Ryan Ulyate.|
|Recording information: The Clubhouse, Los Angeles (04/28/2009-01/11/2010).|
|Photographer: Sam Jones .|
|Tom Petty has been fronting the Heartbreakers off and on (mostly on) for over 30 years now, and he and his band have been delivering a high level of no-frills, classy, and reconstituted American garage rock through all of it. Petty often gets lumped in with artists like Bruce Springsteen, whose careful and worked over lyrics carry a kind of instant nostalgia, but Petty's songwriting at its best cleverly bounces off of romance clich?s, often with a desperate, lustful drawl and sneer, and he's usually more concerned with the here and now than he is about musing about what's been abused and lost in contemporary America. Petty has always been more immediate than that -- until now, that is. Mojo is Petty's umpteenth album, and technically, the first he's done with the Heartbreakers since 2002's sly The Last DJ. This time out, he's tackling the blues, trying to graft the Heartbreakers' (Mike Campbell on guitar, Scott Thurston on guitar and harmonica, Benmont Tench on keyboards, Ron Blair on bass, and Steve Ferrone on drums) patented '60s garage sound to the Chicago blues sound of Chess Records in the '50s. Sonically it certainly works, mostly because this is a wonderful band, but it seems a little tired, worn, and exhausted in spots, and there's a regretful and meditative tone to so many tracks here, which is not what one expects from a band as vital as this one. But the playing is solid, especially Campbell's clear and precise slide guitar leads, and if things don't always gel to the level of either the classic old Chess sides or this band's own impressive legacy, the good news is that the group will tour it, and this is as good a rock band as there is in the land. ~ Steve Leggett|
Producer: Ryan Ulyate; Mike Campbell; Tom Petty
Engineer: Ryan Ulyate; Greg Looper
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Associated Artists and Works
|Heartbreakers (Tom Petty) (The)|
|Release Date : 06/11/2010|
|Original Release Date : 2010|
|Catalog ID : 9362496680|
|Label : Warner Bros.|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00093624966807|
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "MOJO is dynamite....The performances are natural knockouts -- cocksure grooves, pithy knife-play guitars and little overdub fuss -- worked up, then nailed, some on the first full take..."
- "Tuneful and gently flowing, MOJO is endowed by the qualities diehards expect..." -- Grade: B
- "It's not news that these guys rock, but on their first new album in eight years the Heartbreakers have their MOJO working like they never have before -- which is a fine thing indeed."
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "15 crunching, clever, moving tracks....'I Should Have Known' is a leg-trembling Led Zep rocker, with Petty primal and vengeful..."
- "The album may be the loosest of his career, an unfussy, shuffle-mode assortment of blues-infused jams and steel guitar-haunted ballads..."
- 3 stars out of 5 -- "'Jefferson Jericho Blues' is an irresistible opener, a pugnacious choogle in the style of Dylan circa HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED."
BioTom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Upon the release of their first album in the late '70s, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were shoehorned into the punk/new wave movement by some observers who picked up on the tough, vibrant energy of the group's blend of Byrds riffs and Stonesy swagger. In a way, the categorization made sense. Compared to the heavy metal and art rock that dominated mid-'70s guitar rock, the Heartbreakers' bracing return to roots was nearly as unexpected as the crashing chords of the Clash. As time progressed, it became clear that the band didn't break from tradition like their punk contemporaries. Instead, they celebrated it, culling the best parts of the British Invasion, American garage rock, and Dylanesque singer/songwriters to create a distinctively American hybrid that recalled the past without being indebted to it.
The Heartbreakers were a tight, muscular, and versatile backing band that provided the proper support for Petty's songs, which cataloged a series of middle-class losers and dreamers. While his slurred, nasal voice may have recalled Dylan and Roger McGuinn, Petty's songwriting was lean and direct, recalling the simple, unadorned style of Neil Young. Throughout his career, Petty & the Heartbreakers never departed from their signature rootsy sound, but they were able to expand it, bringing in psychedelic, Southern rock, and new wave influences; they were also one of the few of the traditionalist rock & rollers who embraced music videos, filming some of the most inventive and popular videos in MTV history. His willingness to experiment with the boundaries of classic rock & roll helped Petty sustain his popularity well into the '90s.
The release of 1993's Greatest Hits featured two new tracks produced by Rick Rubin, including the Top 20 hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance,". Drummer Stan Lynch left the Heartbreakers in 1994 as Petty was recording his second solo album with producer Rubin and many members of the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers reunited in 1996 to record the soundtrack for the Edward Burns film She's the One. The resulting soundtrack album was a moderate hit, peaking at number 15 on the U.S. charts and going gold. Echo followed three years later. 2002 saw the release of The Last DJ, a scathing attack on the corporate greed inherent in the music business. It was followed in 2006 by Highway Companion.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide