Hello all and welcome to a NEW Daily Blog series from me… TFG1Mike! The idea here is for me to write something, anything, once a day for 365 days. From January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023. In my 225th entry, Well this is something I never thought I’d be diving into, but here we go! Join me TFG1Mike as I make my way through John Hiatt’s Recovery Tetralogy of albums!
There are three tracks I’ve heard before this listen through/write up. Those are Child Of The Wild Blue Yonder, Back Of My Mind, and Bring Back Your Love To Me! All Thanks to Jesse and Sylvan on The Perfectly Good Podcast, and I think because of that I’m not feeling this album….. HUGE THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO JESSE JACKSON AND SYLVAN GROTH and their NEW John Hiatt From A To Z Podcast PERFECTLY GOOD PODCAST, because without listening to them, I most likely would not be writing up this 4 part series! So I’ve been trying to listen to Stolen Moments from cover to cover for the past week, and I just can’t get into it! The tracks seem like they are a mishmash of songs, not a fluid flowing album. I want albums to have a track list sequence that flows, I don’t want the jumping from track to track feel. Sadly that’s what I get here, like as a listener I’m a musical frog hopping from one lily pad to the next. Let me break these tracks down, and see if I can be convinced otherwise that as a whole Stolen Moments is a good or great album.
Track 1: Real Fine Love – Just like the previous album’s opening tracks with Memphis In The Meantime and Drive South, I had to keep these at the top of my most recently played on Spotify. By doing that I’ve heard the opening notes to all these opening tracks so much, that I love just the notes. As far as the rest of Real Fine Love… It’s a cool classic John Hiatt sounding song. It’s a love story that we are sorta familiar with, and that is what makes it very comfortable to me.
Track 2: Seven Little Indians – The opening riffs on this second track, and the melodic undertone was NOT something I was expecting from a John Hiatt song. But I enjoyed it, even though the story of the song is very sad. However the Big Chief’s stories always ended well. Speaking of endings, the song just trails off, it doesn’t fade out into the next track…. The next track starts up immediately like it’s a brand new episode of your favorite 80s TV show! Yup musical frog ribbit ribbit! Jumpin’ from track lily pad to track lily pad!
Track 3: Child Of The Wild Blue Yonder – Once again as I go through this album, I’m liking the songs on their own, not necessarily the way that they are sequenced on the album, you can blame-thank Jesse and Sylvan for that! And listen to their podcast episode covering this song right HERE! This might be one of my top three favorite songs off this album. The melody is a toe tapper, and the rhythm is intoxicating! Once again love the story in the song, and I think that John’s voice soars as it feels like we are flying right through the wild blue yonder!
Track 4: Back Of My Mind – I think that this one follows up Child Of The Wild Blue Yonder very well. However they don’t fade into each other. It’s a start and stop, stop and start! You can listen to PGP’s episode discussing it right HERE! What a story! There’s so much here to love, and wow so much thinking in this song. As someone who deals with being brain damaged, and always reading too much or not enough into things, I really liked the way that this story was told. The instrumentals on this are good, but the lyrics are where I was full focused. Not saying the music completely fades into the background for me, but it doesn’t jump out at me either. And now title track time….
Track 5: Stolen Moments – The fade out of track 4 and into track 5 is about the same as the rest so far, almost non existent. I haven’t really spent much time with this song, so it’s almost like picking fresh tomatoes. And I’ve now had it on repeat the whole day! This might be my number one favorite song off this album. The instrumentals and vocals meld together so well, and the story of the song is amazing. Very classic John Hiatt, DARE I say, ALMOST on the level of HAVE A LITTLE FAITH!!!!!! Yeah YOU READ THAT RIGHT!!!!!
Track 6: Bring Back Your Love To Me – The sequence is….. better going from track 5 into track 6. And once again here’s Jesse and Sylvan’s episode of Perfectly Good Podcast covering this song, you can Listen HERE! This song does not feel like a 90s song at all. The way it begins, it almost feels like 80s synth. However as it goes along, it kinda turns into a 70s sounding tune. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something I noticed. The story of the song is wonderfully told, and I dig it…. Not as much as other tracks, but maybe this would be in the bottom of a best of list from this album. The twangy guitar and dooo dooo dooo moment was cool! This happens around the 1:55 mark.
Track 7: The Rest Of The Dream – The beginning of this track reminds me of 80s comedy tv show themes! The flow from track six into seven was much better. As far as the song goes, add it to my favorites from this album. Between the story and the melody I really love it. So between this and Stolen Moments those are my top two songs off the album so far. ‘The Rest Of The Dream’ reminds me of the relationship Karen and I had, and that is definitely a warm feeling. We were always there for each other, and we always got through everything together! Whether those were the good or bad moments. I wish the rest of our dream was coming true…. ugh! At least this song brings me joy with what she and I had!
Track 8: Thirty Years Of Tears – I’m Not Crying, You Are Crying! What’s that old Elton John line, “Sad Songs Say So Much!” Wow what a song this is. Crying for 30 years or so, that’s how I feel with Karen being gone now almost 2 years ugh! I was not expecting the guitar solo around the 2:20 mark, but it is so cool. It gives the song a bit of a hopeful edge. The chorus and hook are soooo catchy!
Track 9: Rock Back Billy – This one is a story of a lot of musicians isn’t it? I kinda dig the groove of how John is flowing through the song with the guitar. The story and melodic tone match very well and dang if it isn’t another toe tappin’ tune!
Track 10: Listening To Old Voices – Voices of the past… as John says in the song, “You’re just listening to old voices with a new ear.” That’s the way I think of anything older than 2 years. The things we love to listen to or watch or read… it’s all voices of the past. The way John’s voice is in this one, it’s more sing-songy than I’ve noticed in other tracks on the album so far. When he mentions the spider spinning her web, my first thought is of Charlotte, Wilbur, and the gang from E.B. White! Another song I might add to my “Faves” playlist, really enjoy it!
Track 11: Through Your Hands – Well here we go penultimate track… Well this was interesting. A female voice with John, and that voice belongs to Karen Peris. A singer I’d never heard of so I had to look her up, she was the main singer of a trio band called The Innocence Mission! Very interesting indeed, and I think her voice melds with John’s well here. I’ve had to keep this song on repeat to really feel the story of it. The beginning parts of the music are very low key, whereas John’s voice is almost booming, and then Karen’s voice comes in and it kinda softens. When they are both singing, as I said they meld together very well. So well in fact that I just got mesmerized in the music, and almost forgot about the lyrics!
Track 12: One Kiss – This track is amazingly not from the 80s or 90s… It feels like John went back in time to the 1950s to get those instrumentals, and it works so well! And the lyrics it’s an episode of The Honeymooners! I dig it so much! It’s my fourth favorite track from this album. What an album closer too, the fade out when having the album repeat is great! When this ends and Real Fine Love begins again… It’s a true transition, and It’s a wonderful thing!
The Chorus is my favorite though:
“One kiss and we’re on our own
One kiss it can mean so much
One kiss and we’re almost home
One kiss that’s the final touch”
As it reminds me so much of the times Karen and I shared together. So in closing, Stolen Moments, Thirty Years Of Tears, Listening To Old Voices, and One Kiss would be my favorites from this album. I’m not sure who (other than John) was in charge of the sequencing of these tracks, but as I said before they are like leap frogs jumpin’ all around the scales! Every song here feels like it’s own thing, and not part of a larger album package. Maybe that’s just because I listened to them that way to write up the song reviews… So that’s on me, but… BUT… I did go back in order to write up this final thought, and I DID LISTEN to the album as a WHOLE two times… Yeah this still doesn’t feel like there’s an overall continuity based story being told here.
We use the GCRN Universal Ratings System for everything here at The GCRN! <— That link over there describes what each rating definition is for us. And it has half points! Before finishing this thing, I’ve shut my monitor off, closed my eyes, and started back at the beginning of the album for one last time listening through Stolen Moments… and I stand by my statement above. Ribbit Ribbit! However I’d give the album as a whole package the following rating:
There ya have it folks! Join me tomorrow August 14, 2023 when I’ll be diving into John Hiatt’s 1993 album Perfectly Good Guitar which will close out this week of musical writings!!!!