Jason & the Scorchers

Still Standing

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While Jason & the Scorchers' first two national releases -- the Fervor EP and the long-playing follow-up, Lost & Found -- earned reams of good reviews and blazed a trail for the cowpunk and alt-country movements that followed in their wake, they earned far more fame than record sales. Their second LP, 1986's Still Standing, seems to have been an attempt to give Jason & the Scorchers a bit of polish in hopes of attracting a wider audience. Produced by Tom Werman (who had previously worked with Molly Hatchet, Ted Nugent, and Cheap Trick), Still Standing has a slicker tone than the group's previous work, especially Warner Hodges' guitar (and Hodges seems all too eager to give his solos a veneer of arena-level bombast), while occasionally veering toward Georgia Satellites-style raunch -- not a bad idea but one that doesn't suit Jason Ringenberg's voice all that well. More to the point, the songwriting on Still Standing isn't quite up to the level of Lost & Found, but while Still Standing sounds like an attempt by Jason & the Scorchers to meet the mainstream half way, there's enough of their strength and fiery passion to make the album worthwhile, and "Crashin' Down," "Shotgun Blues," and the delicate ballad "Ocean of Doubt" show that even this band's weaker albums had moments to savor.

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