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John Mellencamp - Strictly a One-Eyed Jack

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 1 / 3 / 2022

John Mellencamp - Strictly a One-Eyed Jack
Label: EMI
Format: CD


Gritty and pessimistic new album of blue-collar anthems from Indiana-born singer-songwriter John Mellencamp which features guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen

Back in the 1980s when Indiana-born John Mellencamp broke through with blue-collar anthems such as 'Jack and Diane', he was unkindly labelled by some as “the poor man's Bruce Springsteen”. That comparison certainly did John Mellencamp a disservice - but he has now turned the tables on his new album 'Strictly A One-Eyed Jack' by persuading The Boss to support him! Mellencamp, now 70, has always been a far more complex and accomplished artist than his everyday songs from the American heartland might suggest. He is an accomplished singer and multi-instrumentalist who has written a successful musical with Stephen King and is turning 'Jack and Diane' into another stage production. He has been involved in television and film music over the years. He is also a noted artist, has acted plus produced and directed films. Mellencamp's new album is raw and gritty. His nicotine-roughened vocal delivery is at times close to the gruffness of present-day Willie Nelson or even Tom Waits. Lockdown has also caused Mellencamp's usual hard-bitten optimism to give way to a degree of cynicism on 'I Always Lie To Strangers”'.....“This world is run by men much more crooked than me...” and 'I Am A Man That Worries”'is another rather bruised and negative track. 'Sweet Honey Brown' is cheerier, though. And the arrival of Springsteen brings another lift to the record. The Boss's harmonies add brightness to the rather paranoid 'Did You Say Such A Thing' and 'Wasted Days' is a powerful Springsteen and Mellencamp duet. Springsteen also adds some stunning, scintillating guitar work on 'A Life Full Of Rain'. It would be hard to argue that Springsteen is now the poor man's Mellencamp - but on 'Strictly A One-Eyed Jack' the two hugely talented performers can justifiably be said to be in the same league as one another.

Track Listing:-
1 I Always Lie To Strangers
2 Driving In The Rain
3 I Am A Man That Worries
4 Streets Of Galilee
5 Sweet Honey Brown
6 Did You Say Such A Thing
7 Gone So Soon
8 Wasted Days
9 Simply A One-Eyed Jack
10 Chasing Rainbows
11 Lie To Me
12 A Life Full Of Rain

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