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Monday, 27 July 2015

Rewind: 1987 - 10,000 Maniacs Release In My Tribe

In My Tribe - 10,000 Maniacs
Released 27th July 1987
Produced by Peter Asher
US Chart #37

All songs written by Natalie Merchant, except where noted.
  1. "What's the Matter Here?" (Robert Buck, Natalie Merchant) – 4:51
  2. "Hey Jack Kerouac" (Buck, Merchant) – 3:26
  3. "Like the Weather" – 3:56
  4. "Cherry Tree" (Buck, Merchant) – 3:13
  5. "The Painted Desert" (Jerome Augustyniak, Merchant) – 3:39
  6. "Don't Talk" (Dennis Drew, Merchant) – 5:04
  7. "Peace Train" (Cat Stevens) – 3:26
  8. "Gun Shy" – 4:11
  9. "My Sister Rose" (Augustyniak, Merchant) – 3:12
  10. "A Campfire Song" – 3:15
  11. "City of Angels" (Buck, Merchant) – 4:17
  12. "Verdi Cries" – 4:27
10,000 Maniacs
    Natalie Merchant – vocals
    Robert Buck – guitars, mandolin, pedal steel guitar
    Steve Gustafson – bass guitar
    Jerome Augustyniak – drums, percussion
    Dennis Drew – keyboards

Additional musicians
    Michael Stipe – vocals on 10
    Don Grolnick – piano
    David Campbell – string arrangements on 12
    Dennis Karmazyn – cello on 12
    Bob Magnusson – acoustic bass guitar on 12
    Novi Novog – viola on 12

Back in the 1980's I had a pen friend  in the USA, Michelle from Denver, Colorado (yikes do you remember when we actually used to write letters? Can't think of the last time that I did!) . One time she sent me a cassette featuring some of the music she had been listening to and one of the tracks on it was 'City of Angels' by 10,000 Maniacs and thus began a lifetime love with the music of the Maniacs and in particular Natalie Merchant. If I didn't say it before I'll say it now, thanks Michelle.

They had released their first full album independantly in 1983 (The Secrets of the I Ching) and it caught the attention of John Peel, DJ at BBC Radio One in the UK. My Mother the War was a bit of a hit on the Indie Charts in the UK. In November 1984 they signed to Elektra Records and a year later they released their 2nd album The Wishing Chair to critical acclaim.  In 1986 co-founder of the band John Lombardo left, he had been the songwriting partner to Natalie Merchant on previous recordings and so now the band had to step up and they collaborated on a number of tracks for In My Tribe, but the writing partnership of Merchant and Robert Buck really began to flourish here with four tracks (What's the Matter Here, Hey Jack Kerouac, Cherry Tree and City of Angels). Jerome Augustyniak co wrote The Painted Desert and My Sister Rose, Keyboardist Dennis Drew co-wrote Don't Talk and apart from the Cat Stevens cover Peace Train the rest was solely written by Natalie Merchant (Like the Weather, Gun Shy, A Campfire Song and Verdi Cries).

On release the album hit the charts peaking at #37 and then stayed on the charts for a total of 77 weeks. In 1989 Peace Train was removed from the album in the US following comments from Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) that seemed to indicate his support for Fatwa against author Salman Rushdie.

The two singles released from the album (Like the Weather and What's the Matter Here) dented the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

In My Tribe Live
What's the Matter Here (Milano 1987)
Hey Jack Kerouac (New Haven 1989)
Like the Weather (The White Room Channel 4) 
Cherry Tree (New Haven 1989)
The Painted Desert (New Haven 1989)
Don't Talk (The White Room Channel 4)
Peace Train (Unknown TV Show)
Gun Shy (New Haven 1989)
My Sister Rose (New Haven 1989)
A Campfire Song (Milano 1987)
City of Angels (New Haven 1989)
Verdi Cries (Natalie Solo on Jonathan Ross Show 199?)
Oh, and just in case you are wondering I'm still in touch with Michelle via the wonder of Facebook.

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