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CD Reviews: Review of Get On With It: The Best of Cracker by Cracker
Red Rocker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com   Cracker: Get On With It: The Best of Cracker (Virgin/EMI Records 2006)

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I don’t know what the world may want but some words of wisdom could comfort us / Think I’ll leave that up to someone wiser.

“Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)”
Cracker- 1992

Following the 1990 demise of Camper Van Beethoven, David Lowery bolted California for Virginia, where he joined forces with Johnny Hickman, unknown guitarist extraordinaire whose countrified electric axe was equal parts pickin’, grinnin’ and squealin’. The two formed Cracker and stormed the modern rock airwaves with their 1992 self-titled debut, propelled by the titanic diesel engine Virgin Records. Stepping into the ring back then with industry juggernauts Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Lowery and Hickman (in front of an ever-evolving rhythm section) forged their path with a string of worthy contenders, including “Teen Angst” (initially thought to be an answer to the Nirvana landmark), “Low,” and “Get Off This.”

In reading the above lyrics from “Teen Angst” nearly 15 years later, one could draw a sense of standing in the shadow of giants (tongue firmly in cheek, mind you) and opting to throw everything two middling Davids had at the almighty Goliaths. Unfortunately, the most detrimental Goliath to the ongoing Cracker career would become Virgin Records themselves. An untimely and vicious split from the label three years ago left Cracker directionless and on the verge of extinction.

Virgin had to get in one final payday with the release of Get On With It: The Best of Cracker, even though a double-disc greatest hits package, sanctioned by the band during more amicable times (Garage d’Or), was released in 2000. For its part, this latest collection is unshakeable, a pure gold documentation of a truly great career. Though impossible to jam all the essential Lowery/Hickman collaborations into a 15-song set, every effort is made to encompass a decade and then some. The big radio hits (“Low” and “Get Off This”) give way to underground gems like “Mr. Wrong” and “Sweet Thistle Pie,” and all creative periods are represented, except for 2003’s batch of vintage country covers (Countrysides), which did not come on Virgin’s watch.

In true Cracker fashion, the Virgin release is forced to do battle with Cracker: Greatest Hits Redux, which hits stores the same day as the aforementioned. Just to spite their former label, the band re-recorded a greatest hits ensemble of their own (slightly different track listing, plus new cut “Something You Ain’t Got” and the ultimate middle finger tribute “Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself,” penned especially for the former employer). Stay tuned, as a new Cracker album, tentatively titled Greenland, is slated for June. One can only imagine what enlightened themes and jovial dialogue might flow from it.

~Red Rocker 




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