North Country Boy is probably the weakest of the three singles released in conjunction with Tellin' Stories. "North Country Boy" and "Area 51" both makes appearances on Tellin' Stories; "Don't Need a Gun" is the only previously unreleased non-album track present. The title song is an accomplished song, highlighted by humorous vocals from Tim Burgess and a brilliant jam feel from the rest of the players. With its reference to Itchy and Scratchy, the song shows the band isn't afraid to make a joke or two. "Area 51" stomps and stammers as the band jams on one of the final tracks written with late keyboard player Rob Collins. The song is missing some key element that keeps it from being completely interesting; perhaps vocals would have helped, as the song is a rather weak attempt at the kind of vibes found on John Scofield's A Go Go. "Don't Need a Gun" sounds like a B-side to the band's previous, self-titled album. No, it's not a cover of Billy Idol. It's a laid-back affair, with a touching vocal turn by Burgess and lazy-day keyboards and guitar jangling. While "Don't Need a Gun" is a very good addition to the Charlatans discography, it's hard to justify picking up this single to obtain it. There's really no excuse for "Area 51" to be here, other than to give the false impression that fans are getting two exclusive B-sides.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina