Thursday, June 23, 2016


RASCAL FLATTS-Me And My Gang (2006)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: June 23, 2016

There'll be no horsing around with any "Little Rascals" or 'rascally wabbits' in this post; only the famed fellows of the country/rock bunch that calls themselves RASCAL FLATTS. The Columbus, Ohio trio first got my attention in the mid-2000's when their widely popular cover of "What Hurts The Most" graced my ears via the soft rock airwaves, which is where is has remained (and deservedly has remained) as a staple for the easy-listening radio audience. Of course, like so many other hits I'd heard for years and years, I hadn't known that "What Hurts The Most" was a cover, believing it to be a RASCAL FLATTS original until I would one day get the revelation that it had been performed previously by country star Mark Willis, a singer whom I've yet to become acquainted with. That news of that, though, didn't hurt me one bit; I've continued to treat it as a RASCAL FLATTS favorite—even today, as I took the time to get re-acquainted with the talented trio while I continue to pour through the 'R' entries in my music collection. "What Hurts The Most" is surely the song I adore the most here on this "Me And My Gang" album, loving everything in the production from the sad, screaming violin accompaniment to the emotional, unabashed delivery of the verses lyrics (being so close and having much to say, then watching his lady walk away would indeed instill some emotions of sadness in any man); it's just so perfectly and beautifully performed. Yet there's much more for my ears to adore beyond that charting single, starting with the one that follows right afterward entitled "Backwards". Now this is some of that good old-fashioned foot-pattin rockin' and rollin' spirit that I like to hear in country music; one wouldn't expect that from the innocent way the song starts off with the slow bluesy gospel-tinged groove. But when the music suddenly kicks into high gear, it's a thrill of a good time! You might've been deceived a but by the intro on that one, but it's no surprise at all that this album's festive title track is a thrill of a good time, too. Shifting from contemporary country to a more hip, rockin' pop sound is what the RASCAL guys do on this jam, singing about everything from gypsies, geeks and freaks to denim jeans, leather jackets and just saddling up and pulling the reins for a wild ride. Country lyrics: they always make for such a warming musical adventure, which is what I'm reminded of listening to the story of reminiscing about a special day from decades ago on "Ellsworth". Then I just like the songwriting altogether penned for the power ballad, "I Feel Bad" (feeling sorry that he doesn't feel any kind of pain or emptiness by the woman's departure from his life: I like the twist of irony here), the emotional bitterness expressed on "Pieces" (and you kinda already know this one will be about somebody's heart being shattered, given the song's title—simple and to the point), then the earnest plea for the blessed miracle of a lady's love given to Our Creator on "To Make He Love Me". At the end of the day, though, "What Hurts The Most" is the main attraction, and I'm sure it's what led hordes of country music fans to 'gang up' on claiming their copies of "Me And My Gang" before they were sold out:

1. Stand
2. What Hurts The Most
3. Backwards
4. I Feel Bad
5. My Wish
6. Pieces
7. Yes I Do
8. To Make Her Love Me
9. Words I Couldn't Say
10. Me And My Gang
11. Cool Thing
12. Ellsworth
13. He Ain't The Leavin' Kind

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