- Released: November 18, 1997
- Label: Island
Entertainment Weekly - 12/12/97, p.90
"...by keeping one foot planted squarely in his native Seymour, Ind., Mellencamp put the pop in populism and artfully bridged the realms of town and country." - Rating: B
- 1.I Need a Lover
- 2.Ain't Even Done With the Night
- 3.Hurts So Good
- 4.Jack and Diane
- 5.Crumblin' Down
- 6.Pink Houses - (live)
- 7.Authority Song
- 8.Lonely Ol' Night
- 9.Small Town
- 10.R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A.
- 11.Paper in Fire
- 12.Cherry Bomb
- 13.Check It Out
- 14.Without Expression
Personnel: John Mellencamp (vocals); Larry Crane (guitar, harmonica, background vocals); Mike Wanchic, Mick Ronson, Andy York (guitar, background vocals); Lisa Germano, Miriam Sturm (violin); Kenny Aronoff (hammered dulcimer, vibraphone, drums); John Cascella (accordion, keyboards, background vocals); Carroll Sue Hill, Moe Z. (keyboards, background vocals); Brian Bekvar, Eric Rosser, Jay Ferguson (keyboards); Robert Frank, Toby Myers (bass, background vocals); Chocolate Perry, Willie Weeks (bass); Tom Knowles, Rick Shlosser, Dane Clark (drums); Dave Parman, Sarah Flint, Pat Peterson, Crystal Taliefero (background vocals).
Producers include: John Punter, Steve Cropper, John Mellencamp, George Green, Don Gehman.
Engineers include: John Punter, Bruce Robb, Dee Robb, Don Gehman, George Tutko.
Includes liner notes by Timothy White.
All tracks have been digitally remastered using HDCD technology.
Personnel: John Mellencamp (vocals, guitar, background vocals); Larry Crane (guitar, harmonica, background vocals); Mick Ronson, Mike Wanchic, Andy York (guitar, background vocals); Kenny Aronoff (hammer dulcimer, vibraphone, drums, background vocals); Lisa Germano (violin, fiddle); Miriam Sturm (violin); John Cascella (accordion, keyboards); Crystal Califero (accordion, background vocals); Moe Z, Carroll Sue Hill (keyboards, background vocals); Eric Rosse, Jay Ferguson, Brian BecVar (keyboards); Rick Shlosser, Tom Knowles, Dane Clark (drums); Crystal Taliefero, David Parman, Robert Frank , Pat Peterson, Toby Myers, Sarah Flint (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Timothy White .
Recording information: Air Studios, London, England; Belmont Mall, Nashville, TN; Cherokee Studios, LA, CA; Criteria Studios, Miami, FL; The Shack, Brownstone, IN; TRC Stdios, Indianapolis, IN; TRC Studios, Indianapolis, IN.
Photographer: Paul Jasmin.
Ever since he burst out of Indiana in the mid-'70s, The Artist Formerly Known As John Cougar never allowed success to smother his humble beginnings as an Indiana boy done good. This inevitable best-of follows him down the long, strange road of his career. Mellencamp's initial success came via a bar-band anthem ("I Need A Lover"). He then turned his attention towards writing about life in the Midwest ("Small Town" and "Pink Houses"). Along the way, the self-named "Little Bastard" embraced roots music by incorporating fiddle and squeezebox into his sound ("Paper In Fire"), setting the stage for the later success of alt-country acts such as Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks. Always a fan of late '60s rock and soul, Mellencamp paid homage to the T.A.M.I. shows of his youth in "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A." and added a cover of Terry Reid's obscure "Without Expression" to this package of otherwise previously released material.