This review was originally posted back in Oct/14. It was decided by the WordPress Community(a week ago) to toss down a Hip Friday! Take the time to check out everyone’s Blogs that I have set up by clicking the links below…
I tried doing a Top Whatever list of Hip Music but the first four albums are so good it was tuff to narrow it down so I decided to revamp and in some cases add to this review! In other words clean up the writing slop….
I should also add that a few weeks back ROAD APPLES landed in my all time Top 20 via the challenge that I swung out to some of you’s via FaceCrack!…
Without further ado…..
Man early 91 it’s winter time in Tbay and what a better way to deal with the winter blahs than to have a new Hip release bestowed upon us. I still remember like it was yesterday going to the record shop and well everyone knew about the Hip as Up To Here went crazy platinum many times over so the street vibe was huge for Road Apples. Once I had it my hands I flipped it over to check out the song titles and WHUT??? Where’s “Crack My Spine Like A Whip??” The 4/4 stomper of a rocker that they opened with about a year earlier at their University show here in Tbay that myself and TBone had checked out! But you know what? After that glaring omission once I played the cd for the first time back at home I figured why it was left off they were so many good tracks that I guess sumthin had to be left off. I must mention that the late Don Smith who produced Road Apples and the debut Up To Here nailed the sound perfectly! He mixes this album like it was recorded live in the studio! People should notice the Sonic’s on these early Hip album’s especially how the guitars are mixed!
So let’s check out what going on down at Hip HQ’s circa January of 1991!
LITTLE BONES- Like on Up To Here Bobby Baker and his fender 6 string start off the action and man the sonics are bang on about 30 seconds Into Little Bones. Don Smith is once again rolling tape and letting the boys groove it on down! And yep Gordo you’re hitting the nail in the head in saying $2.50 for an eyeball and a buck a half a decade. Happy hour,Happy Hour is here!
TWIST MY ARM- Cool picking by Baker and the boys join In a mid tempo tune which I think is some of Downies best lyrics ever. Basically after Jacques Cousteau dumps your ass overboard Gordie picks up the paddle and carries on going through life while people are constantly twisting his arm!
CORDELIA- The Hip all take a chill pill and slow it right down at the beginning of the track and ramp it up by the chorus. Actually this song reeks super cool but for the Hip the reeking ain’t super cool but some chic that goes by the name of Mary Jane!
THE LUXURY- Quick book your night at the Golden Rim Inn and you as in yourself can hear Gordie preach to the faithful few who have joined with his brothers Hip and this tune is a jam and man so far were into album number two and these guys just play it like it is and it gets no better than this style Hip rock! The Luxury is that but I think Gordie is going for the opposite of the luxury and people who are conned out of it. Am I making sense…??
BORN IN THE WATER-Yep some more cool slide guitar from Mr Baker and life is smart as the trees in Sault Ste Marie. The song is a good rocker and shows us as a listener that the Hip can punch the gas at a minutes notice!
LONG TIME RUNNING- Hip slows down the tour bus and shifts right into a slow melodic rocker that shows the sensitive side of Gordie ! I mean he can’t always dump the mic down the front of his pants in every song! ( I say that cuz I recall him doing it when they played Fight live, when he was shadow boxing with himself. I wish they had cell phones back in 1990! ) Real cool use of what sounds to me like slide guitar in this one and the Hip are good at not selling out on sumthin slow mo!
BRING IT ALL BACK-Paul Langlois starts off this track with his guitar and Bobby Baker shows up and well lookie here is Gordie and now there joined by Johnny and Gord and they Bring it all back to Gordie! Like so many of these songs like this one and pretty much the debut Up To Here as well these songs sound live in the studio. Man, what a lost art nowadays! Anyways the song advances into the solo with some super cool wah pedal. Baker was on fire on these first couple of Hip albums!
THREE PISTOLS-The guitars drive this song and I love this tune and I remember them road testing this tune when we caught The Hip live a year earlier in March of 90! I was glad this song was on it just flat-out rocks! It’s the Hip! Marshall’s cranked to 11 and rocking it to the top on this one! Baker man is locked n loaded with a whole lotta riff a roo at the end.
FIGHT- They also played this at the same show as Three Pistols. Gordies asking why u wanna fight ? Actually I have seen Gordie fight a few times basically with himself and the mic stand. Gordie is like a UFC cage fighter taking on himself with a mic! This is a definite jam tune!
ON THE VERGE- This a rambling gamblin’ four on the floor stomper(road tested at the University Hip show as well that’s three tracks played a year before the release of Road Apples) and the Hip is once again laying down serious law. Of note Langlois is not only a solid rhythm player who like Baker does not get his due cuz everyone is watching Gordie all the time but Langlois’s backing vocals kick these songs in the ass on the first couple of records! I still remember seeing the Hip with Langlois strumming his electric with it wrapped in duct tape to keep his strap on his guitar, ploughing out super cool rhythms,chirping out backing vocals all the meanwhile with a smoke in his trap and an ash as long as my arm! Dude that’s rock n f’n roll!
FIDDLERS GREEN- The Hip after literally blowing smoke on the last four tracks decide to slow it right down with this well written tune complete with acoustics. It’s basically a front porch jam. Well done fellas ….well done!
LAST OF THE UNPLUCKED GEMS- That’s the other thing. Hip has cool song titles as well and this is one of them and to end off Road Apples is a nice little 2 minute ditty as the boys refuse to leave the porch and just keep the jam vibe going with a little more electric. Just enough to keep the rockin chair rockin!
IN CONCLUSION- I don’t think the Hip felt any pressure in doing this as a followup to Up To Here. They just kept the vibe going and it was evident in performance as well as when they came back to Tbay in 91 Tbone and myself were left in the cold as tickets went fast! Too bad would have loved to heard this record rocked live but then again it still sounds live every time I listen to it and for me Road Apples is one of their best. Kinda wish they would stayed with this sound a little longer but they were moving leaps and bounds but thanks guys for this rock solid masterpiece!