Mojo (Publisher) - 5/02, p.116
"...Take a close look, and you'll find some of Richman's most affecting work here...Recommended for anyone who (a) has children, or (b) was once a child."
Personnel: Jonathan Richman (vocals, guitar, saxophone, percussion); Jonathan Richman; Jody Ross (vocals); Nick Sibley (harmonica, background vocals); Ned Claflin (accordion, organ, background vocals); Jim Washburn (bass instrument); Bobby Lloyd Hicks (drums, percussion, background vocals); John Avila, Scot Woodland (drums, background vocals); Tom Nelson, Ned Wilkinson, Ron Butler (background vocals); Brennan Totten (guitar, background vocals); D. Clinton Thompson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion, background vocals); Tom Brumley (steel guitar); John Girton (saxophone); Josef Marc (piano, drums, background vocals); Joe Terry (piano, background vocals); David Byrd (piano).
Liner Note Authors: Jonathan Richman; Brennan Totten.
Recording information: Bennett House, Grass Valley, CA; Column One Recording, Springfield, MO; J.G. Sounds; Nuggets Studios, Grass Valley, CA.
Photographer: David Mckay.
Jonathan Richman's output over the years has been fairly regular, creating a rather large body of work. The label he maintained the longest relationship with was Rounder, for whom recorded eight albums. These range from the all-Spanish JONATHAN, TE VAS A EMOCIONAR! to the rollicking JONATHAN GOES COUNTRY, on which he was backed by the Skeletons. ACTION PACKED offers a 22-song tour through his decade with Rounder. It's a fine entry point into Richman's incisive yet gentle songwriting, and also an excellent overview for those already familiar with the source albums.
Richman delights in celebrating the world around him ("Cappuccino Bar," "Fender Stratocaster," "Everyday Clothes") and has also created some of the most vividly honest and original looks into the world of relationships ("The Neighbors," "Closer," "When I Say Wife"). The one cover included is the surprising, yet completely appropriate Tom Waits number "The Heart of Saturday Night."