August 29, 2012

The Lonesome Jubilee — — — 25

It was his first package of little ditties without the "Cougar" name attached to the LP in any way. 

When The Lonesome Jubilee arrived, I was helping my dad with floor covering. To this day, I still think he made me work with him so I would decide that college made a much better choice for me than "the trades." I've worked with Dad many times since that summer when I was 15, but usually the project is something that benefits me. And that's when I wish I had paid more attention to the "attention to detail" that it takes when setting tile or putting in hardwood (or whatever!)

Anyway, that was 25 years ago. Dad took me to the store, probably Camelot Records in Traverse City at the Cherryland Mall (who remembers either of those places) to buy the album during lunch. If I remember correctly, The Lonesome Jubilee was the first recording that I bought NEW as a CD. CDs were rather new technology then and prices were finally coming down.

The album was a change of direction for John Cougar–Mellencamp, much more folky and countryish. Back then, I thought it was cool. The ironic thing, though, is that two years later, Garth Brooks arrived playing the same type of music — but on country radio — and became a sensation. His sensation only lasted about 10 years, though, because he suddenly decided he wanted to be Chris Gaines and his career went south.

John Mellencamp had debuted in the late 70s with some obscure albums, one released only in Europe. He was Johnny Cougar back then. He's John Mellencamp now, still releasing albums, and growing with each one. I've seen JM in concert probably 25 times — but not since 2005. I've seen him in Milwaukee, Chicago, Florida, and many times in Michigan. I guess it's time to check out JM in concert again.

"Hold on to 16 as long as you can …" — JM on "Jack & Diane" in 1982

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