Various Artists

A Tribute to John Mellencamp

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Tribute to John Mellencamp features a faceless group of studio musicians running through respectable versions of 12 JCM faves. The set shows some restraint, given Mellencamp's sizable batch of hits. While there are bar band versions of "Jack & Diane," "Pink Houses," and "Small Town," the album also tackles the lighthearted-'60s pop of "Key West Intermezzo [I Saw You First]," the sobering "Jackie Brown," and "Human Wheels," which seems like the strongest track here with its mildly flanged vocal effect and mandolin leads. Tribute to John Mellencamp will never replace the real thing. But in a pinch, it will offer a little of that homespun rock and roots flavor that made Mellencamp so popular in the first place.

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