John Wesley Harding – Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead

January 01, 1970

(Popover Corps)


John Wesley Harding doesn’t need a band to put his songs
across, as anyone who’s seen him in his element – alone on stage, an acoustic
guitar in hand – could tell you. But collaborators the Minus Five will make you
glad he went the extra mile, from the opening track, “My Favorite Angel,” where
the Lennonesque raunch ‘n’ roll swagger of the verses gives way to a string-fueled
chorus as majestic as “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” “And it’s strange how things
change,” Harding sighs, “you were my favorite angel.” As it turns out,
Harding’s playing God, whose favorite angel, Lucifer, is something of a
disappointment. It’s a brilliant twist, the first of many highlights here that
make a solid case for Harding as one of rock’s most underrated wordsmiths, from
the biblical allusions of “A Very Sorry Saint” to the self-mythologizing humor
of “Top of the Bottom.”


Standout Tracks: “My Favourite Angel,” “A Very Sorry Saint” A. WATT


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