Skip to content

The Trouble Tree- Freedy Johnston

Freedy Johnston The Trouble Tree

The Trouble Tree

(1990), 6/10
Johnston’s debut is substantially different to the crafted and economical approach he’d take on subsequent albums; The Trouble Tree sounds like the work of a bar band, disarmingly hard rocking in places. There’s a general aura of economy surrounding The Trouble Tree; not only does it sound like a live in the studio recording with questionable sound quality, but it also features possibly the worst cover art I’ve ever encountered. As amateur and rough edged as it is, The Trouble Tree has its moments; Johnston’s scrawny white boy vocals have plenty of character, there are some definite good songs, and it’s fascinating to hear Johnston cranking out surprisingly heavy guitar riffs.

‘No Violins’ is terrific, underpinned by a funky acoustic rhythm guitar riff and bass line, a terrific lead break and energetic vocals, with lyrics justifying the record’s rough and ready approach (“here’s a song that’s got everything you want/except no violins”), while ‘Bad Girl’ also demonstrates an otherwise undisclosed talent for propulsive acoustic riffs. The distorted ‘Little Red-Haired Girl’ tears up far more than you’d expect a Freedy Johnston song to, while the acoustic ‘Tucumcari’ is another winner, much more representative of Johnston’s later work. Some of these songs, however, are just plain awkward; with the frequent spoken lines (“I’m going to win you a stuffed rabbit” in ‘Fun Ride’) and underdeveloped themes (‘Nature Boy’).

he Trouble Tree is likeable, but it’s a false start to Freedy Johnston’s career, out of step with his later work. If you’re already a fan it’s certainly revealing to hear how his style developed, but in terms of quality it’s some distance from his best.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

The Doesn't Suck

9,000 billion recordings are released on the internet each month. Roughly 5 of them will not suck.

Simone: By The River

Hey! I'm writing about travel, books, nature, music, art, food, gardening, things that inspire me, with a little bit of creative writing thrown in for good luck (if I'm feeling brave enough). Australian (Geelong, Victoria). Instagram: sima78 & trackrecordsrecords

Brendon's Beats

Album Reviews & Music Discussion

The Rockin' Chair

A place for music and books

Debbie's Song

If you can listen to it, read it, watch it, wear it, love it...I'm interested in it

Zach's Music Reviews

The Occasional Music Review

Going for a Song

An autobiography in lays and ditties

The Peter Principles

The minutiae of music and more.

%d bloggers like this: