Blind Melon

Capitol, 1996

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


When this record was first released, I thought it was one of the best records I’d heard. Then again, I was ten years old; now that time has passed, I look at this record as what it was meant to be: a posthumous collection of unreleased demos and alternate versions of Blind Melon’s best songs released after Shannon Hoon’s tragic death from a drug overdose in the back of a tour bus.

The biggest eyebrow raiser is the inclusion of overdubs that were done to several of Hoon’s acoustic demos that had been made over the previous couple of years. Some of the tracks were made stronger, others should’ve been left alone. One of these, the opening track, a cover of Steppenwolf’s stoner classic “The Pusher” sounds more like a band song than in its previous incarnation, which included just vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo. The song still sounds good but it’s not as strong as it would’ve been.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Hell,” which began life as a Hoon acoustic demo, sounds much better as a quick folk track. What would’ve been the title track to their amazing sophomore album, “Soup” was performed live at Woodstock in 1994 but failed to make the cut for the album bearing its name. It ends up sounding like a track that would’ve been on the first album. “No Rain” makes an appearance here in an alternate more tripped-out version, which helps to lift some of the hippie-ness off the track once and for all.

The best track, “Soul One” was originally recorded for an unreleased EP in 1991. This newer take with supposedly no overdubs brings out the beauty and majesty of the track with full richness intact.

There are, however, weaker tracks that might’ve been better left off the record. The cover of Lennon’s “John Sinclair” is just crap and doesn’t hold up at all. “Life Ain’t So Shitty,” another Hoon demo, also feels like it should’ve been kept in the vault. However, there are plenty of songs to really, truly keep Hoon’s legacy alive.

“Glitch,” which started out as a demo, becomes Indian-influenced and is one of the strongest, most musically diverse tracks Blind Melon ever worked on. The album works toward its conclusion with a number of outtakes from Soup. “Swallowed” and “Pull” are tracks that, to me, would’ve fit in extremely well on that finished album. Perhaps the best of these is the revision of that album’s “St. Andrew’s Fall,” which here becomes “St. Andrew’s Hall.” The revised track sounds fuller and more brought to life.

In the most tragic irony, the album is closed out by “Letters From A Porcupine,” an idea of a track that Hoon left on guitarist Chris Thorn’s answering machine. The song kicks along and by the time Hoon really gets into it, the machine cuts him off, just as Hoon’s fast living cut his life short.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2014 Pete Crigler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.