John Mellencamp

Performs Trouble No More: Live at Town Hall

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John Mellencamp supported the June 2013 release of his blues and folk covers album Trouble No More by performing almost the entire thing, plus a few additional tunes, at New York's Town Hall on July 31, 2003. Eleven years later came the official release of Performs Trouble No More: Live at Town Hall, a literal title that explains exactly what this album has to offer. Mellencamp performs 11 of the 12 songs from Trouble No More, substituting Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" for Skeeter Davis' "The End of the World," then revisiting his own catalog for the close of the show, singing "Paper in Fire" and "Pink Houses," while turning "Small Town" into something resembling a moody swamp blues crawl (another change is an offhand quip by Mellencamp, who mentions that his wife was just 13 years old when he wrote the song). After this revision, "Small Town" suits the vibe of Trouble No More, a roots record where Mellencamp went out of his way to draw a connection between Robert Johnson, Son House, Willie Dixon, and Woody Guthrie and his own work. In the studio, the results were pretty lively but on-stage they're a bit ragged and brawnier -- not a great difference but just enough to make this live collection distinct from his studio counterpart and worthwhile listening in its own right.

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