Billboard.com: "On the Rural Route 7609" Review
07.03.2010 - By Gary Graff
"On the Rural Route 7609" isn't a boxed set meant to show off how many hits John
There's no "Small Town" or "Hurts So Good" -- most of the big ones aren't here.
handsomely packaged four-disc, 54-track collection (complete with song-by-song
and full lyrics) documents the Indiana rocker's career as ambitious songwriter,
observer, sharp-tonged sociopolitical commentator and, occasionally, raconteur
who's done far more
than just R-O-C-K in the USA.
Dotted with 14 unreleased tracks (including
readings of "Jim Crow" by
Cornel West and "The Real Life" by Joanne Woodward), it allows listeners to
rediscover such laudable
fare as "Jackie Brown," "The Full Catastrophe," Theo and Weird Henry" and "Rural
Route," as well as
appreciate Mellencamp's music in fresh contexts.
Particularly illuminating is a
triplet of the abandoned
"Jenny at 16," a precursor of "Jack and Diane," which follows in both demo and
finished form. "On the
Rural Route 7609" is a deserving and serious-minded overview for one of
titans of song.