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 226th 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!
We are wrapping it up here with 1993’s ‘Perfectly Good Guitar”! 12 tracks, coming in at 52:49! As with the other three albums, I’ve heard several songs off this, before this listen through. From A to C we have Angel, Blue Telescope, Buffalo River Home, and Cross My Fingers. Cross My Fingers is easily my favorite out of these four tracks. Unlike the Stolen Moments album, I actually lived with this one for a bit. Meaning I listened to it cover to cover before writing this up. Because of that I feel that the track list flows very well, and it isn’t a frog leaping from one lily pad to the next. I did listen to Stolen Moments in it’s entirety, before and and after writing… However even as a whole album I felt like I was taken out of the meld together feeling that all albums should have.
AS ALWAYS HUGE THANKS 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 listening to Perfectly Good Guitar from cover to cover for two and a half days, and… Hmmmm…
Track 1: Something Wild – My initial and subsequent reaction to the beginning of this track is that I could do without the howling. I love the opening instrumental though. As far as the rest of the lyrics and the story of the song, well Love is something wild. I think my favorite lines from this are:
“Now you’re under my skin like a submarine
I can feel you in my veins running hot”
Very cool track o kick off the album, but by itself I probably won’t go back to this song too often. I will say that it flows into track 2 very nicely.
Track 2: Straight Outta Time – This track hooked me immediately. From the music to the lyrics and back again. I love what John is doing here, and it is very classic John Hiatt, but that’s a good thing! I think the lyrics that hit me the hardest were:
“I’m never gonna figure out the way that I feel –
Running straight outta time,
but my love’s still real”
That just ripped my heart strings a bit. Plus the whole thing about running outta time, I feel that lot lately. I have huge time displacement issues, you can read all about that when I wrote about it in January of 2023! Once again the track meld is great from this into the title track of the album!
Track 3: Perfectly Good Guitar – Opening with the guitar reverb…. I think that was a reverb, but I’m not sure. I like that a lot. My favorite lines are gonna come a bit early here:
“I don’t know who they think they are
Smashing a perfectly good guitar”
I love the many different tones all the instruments give the listener here, and the sing-songy way John is performing. It almost is a head nodding song, actually it is exactly that!
Track 4: Buffalo River Home – This wasn’t one I thought I was gonna be praising too much. However after reading the lyrics, it speaks to me more that I thought it would. Once again the track sequencing from PG into BRH is great! I’m not sure if I have a favorite line, or set of lines here, but I love the tune. Plus John really knows how to tell amazing stories! You can hear the PGPodcast episode discussing this song HERE!
Track 5: Angel – I’m diggin’ the opening here, and the loud HEY that John does! The begining lines are my favorite, because they remind me of what Karen and I had for four and a half years. Even though I don’t think I ever called her “Angel”! Check out the opening lines:
“It is a hurtin’ thing you don’t wanna talk about it
Pain in your heart well it’s takin’ your breath away
You left it in lipstick on the mirror no use talkin’ about it
Love like this just don’t come along every day”
Right now Karen has been gone 2 years, she passed away in November of 2021. That first lyric speaks so much to me, because most times I don’t wanna talk about it, but then I eventually do. The fade out and into Blue Telescope might be the best one on the album so far!! You can hear the PGPodcast episode discussing this song HERE!
Track 6: Blue Telescope – Hmmm.. I’m thinking too literally with this one. I’m focused on the “BLUE” of the Blue Telescope. Why can’t it be red, purple, yellow, and so on… Yeah I know I’m crazy! I think I need to relisten to the Perfectly Good Podcast episode, because I’m stumped on what to say here! You can hear the PGPodcast episode discussing this song HERE! What I will say is the flow between tracks remains. Perfectly Good Guitar might just get my best album track sequence award!
Track 7: Cross My Fingers – What a love song this is! It shows that the person crossing their fingers is crossing them so nothing goes wrong. At least that’s my interpretation. I love the lyrics, and the story of the song. The chorus is hypnotizing and it pulls you in so much that you wanna hear it all the time. You can hear the PGPodcast episode discussing this song HERE!
Track 8: Old Habits – Die Hard….. At the end of Cross My Fingers, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and then there was this song. This song feels like a coooooool jazz tune with the instrumentation, and the way John sings it. The story of the song feels new yet familiar. In the way that old habits are hard to break. This is another one that I’m adding to my Hiatt Highlights as my favorite tracks!
Track 9: The Wreck of the Barbie Ferrari – Wow, this song is weird. However it is weird in a good way. I never thought a serious song about Barbie was out there, but here we are!
Track 10: When You Hold Me Tight – From the wreckage of Barbie’s Ferrari to When You Hold Me Tight, again John goes back to that sleek sexy drawl at the beginning of this tune. My favorite section of the song is this:
“When the morning comes
And you’re still here with me
And you give me some
Of your sweet mystery”
Holding that person you love tight is the only way to go. Karen and I were “all in” we did everything together to make our love last. We understood, and had a simpatico when it came to our love. That’s what I hear in this song.
Track 11: Permanent Hurt – THIS DAMN SONG! This song sums up EVERYTHING I have felt since Karen passed in 2021. Yes I know I mentioned that already, but when you have lyrics like:
“A permanent hurt, yeah a pemanent hurt
The pain and the memories do the dirty work
Promises broken hearts on red alert
The surface will heal
But its feelin’ like a permanent hurt”
That’s pretty much how I feel now. I’m healed on the surface, or I try to show that I am, but I’m really not. Another Hiatt Highlights track for me, because great love/break up songs are catchy as hell.
Track 12: Loving a Hurricane – All righty here we go a love hurricane to close out Perfectly Good Guitar! Wow this track… I’ve always said that Opening and closing tracks have to have an EXCLAMATION!!!! And between Something Wild and Loving a Hurricane we definitely have that here! What I’ll say here is what I’ve said many times on podcasts within the last two years… When Karen and I were together as one, we were just like that unstoppable hurricane of love. I think I surprised her when we first started talking in August of 2017, and then the rest was history. What a great album closer!
Out of the 4 albums I’ve written these articles for, Perfectly Good Guitar is the only one I would not change the album sequencing on. These twelve tracks work so well together one after the other. This might be my favorite John Hiatt album as a whole, and that’s why as you’ll see below, it is only the second out of the four albums that gets my high score! My favorite tracks from this are, Straight Ouuta Time, Perfectly Good Guitar, Cross My Fingers, Old Habits, and Permanent Hurt.
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! I’ve sat here one last time listening to Perfectly Good Guitar as a whole with my eyes closed and headphones on… to immerse myself in just the music, and after the last three and a half months, I’d give the album as a whole package the following rating:
There ya have it folks! Join me tomorrow August 15, 2023 when I’ll be writing about that classic TV Sitcom 227!!!!!