John Hiatt – Mystic Pinball

January 01, 1970

(New West)


As a writer, John Hiatt has seen everyone from Dylan to Iggy
Pop cover his songs, but in deference to those other artists, there really is
no substitute for Hiatt singing his own songs. Those nasally snarls and twangs
that might sound off putting in another genre are part of what make Hiatt such
a great rock singer. Sure he flirts with blues, folk and country here and
there, but he is at his core a pure American rock singer.


Mystic Pinball,
his 21st studio effort, is a collection of Hiatt’s latest “I’m just average guy
trying to make it in the world” ditties that range from mediocre (“Bitemarks”
and “It All Comes Back Someday”) to heartbreakingly brilliant (“You’re All the
Reason I Need” and “Blues Can’t Even Find Me”). Granted, Hiatt gets graded on a
much steeper curve having a 40-year career as one of Nashville’s best songwriters, so mediocre is
a relative term. Take the following lyric from “Wood Chipper”: “Be careful of
any conversation a man starts by calling you skipper/cause there ain’t no ocean
round here, but a lot of little lakes where you could disappear” There is
something wonderful about a guy who can write a dark, whip smart line like that
and then turn in a touchingly romantic song like “No Wicked Grin,” just a few
tracks later.  


Like John Prine, Steve Earle and just one or two other
American songwriter journeymen, it’s nearly impossible for Hiatt to put out a
bad record. You may not love every song, but there’s bound to be a few on there
to make the album well worth the price you paid.


DOWNLOAD:  “You’re All the Reason I Need,” “No Wicked
Grin” and “Blues Can’t Even Find Me” 


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