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Petty reunites with Mudcrutch
By Hunter Embry
The Horizon — February 16, 2009
Before Tom Petty broke big with the Heartbreakers, he was the bassist and singer for Mudcrutch. Petty, then 17-years-old, accompanied by Mike Campbell, Tom Leadon, Benmont Tench, and Randall Marsh, was drawing attention in the Florida bar scene dancing with Mary Jane and just beginning to run down his dream.
In 1974, there were a couple of line-up changes and the Heartbreakers proceeded to make rock ‘n’ roll history.
Last year, Mudcrutch reunited and released their first self-titled studio album and 2008 saw the release of “Extended Play Live,” which is four Mudcrutch tracks recorded live from their 2008 tour.
The CD begins with “The Wrong Thing to Do,” a jammin’ track that showcases a familiar thick toned Fender guitar riff, hard drums and a filling bass. Petty starts with an ear-gripping vocal melody and lyrics about his father, whom Petty never had a good relationship with.
Petty swaggers into the chorus singing, “My mama loves me, but my Daddy don’t. I try to work it all out, but I probably won’t …. It’s the wrong thing to do, but I don’t care.”
Grittier than the Heartbreakers, the song breaks into a wah-ed solo and the audience erupts.
The next track, “Bootleg Flyer,” sounds similar to Petty’s 1989 hit single, “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” with its dance ridden beat and guitar twangs.
But “Bootleg Flyer” has a more of a dirty Bo Diddley-esque rhythm feel and is obviously less pop-oriented with a couple of ripping solos.
“Crystal River” showcases the more psychedelic side of Mudcrutch and also gives the album name more sense, considering the song is more than 15 minutes long.
Petty slows and softens his voice as he talks about a place where he can’t be touched [Crystal River]. The track proceeds through ten minutes of jamming with several bass, keyboard and guitar solos before picking up into an upbeat hip-shaker.
Lastly, Mudcrutch runs off the track with “High School Confidential,” a song influenced by rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest forms. Petty runs up and down the bass neck and sings with a deep, quick Elvis feel. Again, amazing guitar work is displayed through solos that seem to scream form just inside the speakers.
With three members of Mudcrutch also in the Heartbreakers, their music sounds influenced, but Petty’s shift back to the bass and the addition of the old rhythm section sets the band far from the expected pop realm of the Heartbreakers. Mudcrutch is more fun with less constraints and it’s showcased on “Extended Play Live.”