Jason & the Scorchers

Fervor EP

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Jason & the Scorchers had already started making a big noise in their hometown of Nashville with their debut EP, 1982's Reckless Country Soul, but it was their next 12", 1983's Fervor, that made them a hot item nationwide, especially after it was reissued by EMI-America with the addition of a frantic cover of Bob Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie" that made the original sound timid. While "Absolutely Sweet Marie" was exciting enough to gain MTV and alternative radio airplay, the six originals are equally impressive, and if the purposefully silly "Help, There's a Fire" makes the band's punk rock moves sound a bit forced, "I Can't Help Myself" and "Both Sides of the Line" rock with enough passion and force to convince any doubters this was an uncommonly good rock & roll band. And while most early cowpunk bands played the country side of their sound for laughs, "Harvest Moon" and "Pray for Me Mama (I'm a Gypsy Now)" wear their allegiance to Nashville's past with pride, and the twang in the music (and in Jason Ringenberg's voice) rings forth with a fierce pride that makes it clear these boys weren't joking about anything. If Fervor wasn't quite Jason & the Scorchers' finest hour, it put their cards on the table with defiance and conviction, and it was the first great moment for a truly great band.

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