Friday, May 5, 2023

Archive Review: Goose Creek Symphony’s The Same Thing Again (2008)

Goose Creek Symphony’s The Same Thing Again
If you’ve never heard of the Goose Creek Symphony – and most folks haven’t – well, here’s the truth. While Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were scampering around in Pampers™ and playing with wooden blocks, Charles Gearheart and the Goose were fusing country and rock sounds like nobody else, plumbing the depths of hillbilly, folk, bluegrass, and rock music almost two decades before any of that “No Depresssion” stuff became tres chic. Goose Creek’s unique country-rock hybrid had an earthier, more organic sound than just about anything coming out of Nashville circa 1971-74.

The Same Thing Again is the great lost Goose Creek Symphony album, with songs recorded during sessions in 1973 and ‘74, the proposed album shelved after the band’s break-up, and forgotten until a couple of years ago. Unlike Goose Creek’s Head For the Hills, which was actually pressed on vinyl and allowed to die a slow death in the label’s warehouse back in ‘76 (since reissued by the band on CD), The Same Thing Again never made it past the cassette-tapes-for-friends stage.

Dunno if it would have met with a kinder fate than any of the band’s earlier albums, but The Same Thing Again is a near-seamless pairing of reckless country soul and good-times hippie-rock vibe. Larry Collins’ Okie blues tune “Tulsa Turnaround” – recommended to the band by Waylon Jennings – is reinvented here as a fiddle-fueled rave-up. “Too Much of A Good Thing” is a classic country-funk Goose Creek story-song with typical down-home morality. “Just Another Rock & Roll Song” mixes exotic Caribbean rhythms with no-frills ‘70s-era guitar-rock, while the title track is a slow-paced country waltz with smart biographical lyrics and some damn fine pedal-steel.

The Same Thing Again includes a bonus DVD that features music videos for “Tulsa Turnaround” and “The Same Thing Again,” both pieced together with still photos and vintage live footage, while the mini-film “On the Bus ‘73” shows Gearheart and the Goose riding down the backroads of America in their Silver Eagle bus, music intercut with band interviews and home movies of the band at play. Of Goose Creek Symphony, well, as my old granddaddy used to say, “that’s some real poop-punting music!” (Bo Records, released April 12th, 2008)

Review originally published by Blurt magazine, 2008

Also on That Devil Music: Goose Creek Symphony’s Head For the Hills CD review

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