I got on board The Wallflowers train in the 90’s. When this album came out, I had a 140 minute commute to work and home and I listened to mix CD,, purchased CDs and a lot of radio.
“One Headlight” was everywhere. They even made Bowie hip again in the 90’s with their cover of “Heroes”. If you don’t believe me, go and check all of the accolades the song has received post 1996.
And who knew that The Wallflowers released their debut album in 1992 on Virgin Records. They then lost the label deal and went back to playing clubs. By 1994, they got a new deal with Interscope Records.
Music is a lifers game. You don’t quit when the times are tough. Jakob Dylan was never going to quit. He grew up with music in his life. But others in the band didn’t have the same perseverance. In between the debut album and this one, they changed bass players, drummers and during the recording lost their lead guitarist.
And through all the struggles, Jakob Dylan created a 4x Platinum selling album.
A galloping groove, a memorable vocal line and southern rock country guitar licks dominate.
We can drive it home
With one headlight
It connects immediately, as I had a Nissan Pulsar that had a wiring problem and one of the headlights kept switching off. Hit a bump and I have two headlights. Hit a bump and I have one headlight.
Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same
We don’t change our views or habits that much, but as we got older we are not the same spirit. Death changes us. Relationships change us.
“6th Avenue Heartache”
It’s like a Tom Petty cut and it’s also one of the older songs that was written pre-90’s.
And it’s a whose who of musicians. Mike Campbell from Petty’s band does slide guitar on this and Counting Crows vocalist Adam Duritz does backing vocals.
Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries, screams out loud
I had my world strapped against my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act
Jakob Dylan describes the streets, much in the same way Nikki Sixx described L.A in “Wild Side”.
And check out the descriptions in the last verse.
Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams
Can you picture it?
It’s got a strummed riff that feels like it’s ascending and it makes me feel good.
But this ain’t my first ride
It ain’t my last try
Just got to keep a-movin’ on
That’s right, it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to be disappointed. Don’t let it get the better of ya. Just keep on moving on. That brighter day is just around the corner.
This one reminds me of “Born To Run” from Springsteen and I like it.
The only difference
That I see
Is you are exactly the same
As you used to be
“Laughing Out Loud”
Another “Born To Run” vibe.
Laughing out loud
When I didn’t ever know just what it was all about
I’ve been in situations like this before when I was the joke but I didn’t know it. I wish I knew back then what I know today, that it’s so easy to change my situation as nothing is absolute.
Well I’m doing time inside a grapevine
Little things amuse little minds
You know the grapevine of rumours and b.s. Each day, there is a different topic. I have it at work, at the football grounds, in society, within the family and so on. The grapevine is everywhere.
“God Don’t Make Lonely Girls”
It’s a rock song, in the Mellencamp/Adams way.
“I Wish I Felt Nothing”
Great title. The barroom country rock ballad feel is back.
Say when you’re alone
It’s better cause nobody knows you
When no one’s your friend
It’s better cause nobody leaves you
So you turned your back
On a world that you could never have
Easier said than done, because humans like to belong to a tribe.
And then the band just disappeared. But they didn’t really disappear. The press abandoned em, in the same way the press abandoned other artists and genres. And the rise of the internet, made it easy for other artists to participate and suddenly, the market is flooded with new music and peer to peer sharing.
The follow up album “(Breach)” came out in 2000, and it went unnoticed in Australia.
I never heard from em again, until this year with the release of “Exit Wounds”, which got me googling the band name and I was surprised to read that there was another three albums by the band after “(Breach)” and three Jakob Dylan solo albums in between plus a lot of soundtrack work for movies and TV shows.
True lifers to the arts.
7 thoughts on “1996 – Part 2.7: The Wallflowers – Bringing Down The Horse”
140 minute commute to work! Yikes! This is a good album that I’m going to stream sooner than later.
Great stuff Pete!
70 there and 70 back.. on a good day. With traffic or a breakdown, add another 20 minutes
Spot on about Bowie. I remember when he was mostly thought of as a has-been. Then The Wallflowers covered Heroes…
I still prefer The Wallflowers version over Bowie’s. Jakobs vocal tone is more appealable to me.
I have missed this band. So glad they are back with a new album after 9 years.
Agreed. I need to spend some time with it as well.
This a great record! I was on board with them with One Headlight.