Hidden Gems: Uncle Tupelo – March 16-20, 1992

Proof that the Ramones and Johnny Cash wrote the same music.

Nineteen years ago to this day, Jeff Tweedy, Jay Farrar and the rest of Uncle Tupelo finished recording their all-acoustic third album March 16-20, 1992.  The band’s pervious two albums were alt-country masterpieces, the genre they helped create was named after their debut album No Depression.  However, this album could be the one that truly represented this band as a country band that loved punk music.

Half the songs here are traditional covers and the other half are originals that sound like traditional covers.  Tweedy would go on to create incredible music with Wilco, but for now he is still growing as a songwriter.  His cuts like “Black Eye” and “Fatal Wound” are great, but this was Farrar’s band, and his presence is the strongest on the album.  His singing of “Criminals” and “Coalminers” makes you really believe he is a criminal waiting to be called or a coalminer done wrong.

However these guys were not criminals or coalminers, they were middle class midwesterners who loved Johnny Cash as much as the Ramones, and they knew how to write and sing songs that sounded like they could have been written eighty years ago.  This is the only album that doesn’t show any hints of their huge punk influence, except for them covering the Stooges’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, and even that sounds like something Hank Williams could have written.  Just goes to show Husker Du is as American as the Carter Family.

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