Editors always give the same advice when it comes to trashing someone’s music. “Don’t just say it’s bad. Don’t just say it sucks. Back that up. Why does it suck?” Editors make a good point. If you’re going to say someone’s music is bad, say why. So here’s why this re-release of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1976 studio album Men From Earth is so bad.
The singing is bland and lifeless. The chops are mediocre at best. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were one of those country-rock bands from the ‘70s that really was a one-hit wonder. That one hit was “Jackie Blue”. That song was OK. That song was maybe even better than OK—better than OK if you think the slick production values of the Doobie Brothers and that kind of fake soulless soul was soulful.
Men from Earth
(New Era Productions)
US: 19 Nov 2002
UK: Available as import
Well, here’s the bad news for non-Ozark Mountain Daredevil fanatics—“Jackie Blue” is not on this album. It was on one of the earlier ones. Men From Earth just shows you how many bad country-rock bands sprang up in the ‘70s in the wake of the Eagles.
Let’s put it this way.
Men From Earth proves that the Ozark Mountain Daredevils were not as good as Poco. Not as good as Firefall. Not even as good as the Outlaws.
You see what I’m getting at here?
OK. Back to why it’s all so bad.
The songs are either horrible, fake bluegrass like the opening cut “Fly Away Home”, or the songs are “Jackie Blue” wannabes like “You Know Like I Know”. Sometimes the Ozark Mountain Daredevils want to be Fleetwood Mac, like on “Watermill”.
But the band never comes close to any of these less than admirable aspirations.
You see, the singing is bland and lifeless. I know I said that up higher in the review, but it really is. The musicianship is adequate. I mean I’ve heard better bands play in hotel lounges. Really small hotels.
Now. Let me address the Ozark Mountain Daredevil fanatics I mentioned earlier.
You are going to love this reissue of Men From Earth. You already love the band, so the bad music and the bad vocals are no problem.
The cool thing is, Men From Earth has never been released on CD. So, for the Daredevil fanatics, this release is historic.
The songs have been “digitally remastered from the original master tapes.” More good news for the members of Daredevils fan club. And the inside sleeve features some black and white pics from the studio and all the lyrics.
I almost forgot.
“Men From Earth has three bonus tracks that were never released on an Ozark Mountain Daredevil album before now.
So, fans of the band are going to be joyous.
The rest of us don’t have to waste our time.
I wasted some time, but that’s why I’m here. For you. I hope I saved somebody 17 bucks or whatever these things cost these days. It was my pleasure to waste some of my time. I sure hope I didn’t spend all these words just saying Men From Earth sucks. I hope I explained why it sucks.
I have a feeling that if you are reading this (that means it’s been published) that I satisfied my editor.
And that’s good enough for me.
Men From Earth, on the other hand, is only good enough for diehard fans of the band: plain and simple.
If I have not fully explained why this album is so bad, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] and I will try my best to do it again.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
"PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as…READ the article