Friday Tunes: Cher ‘3614 Jackson Highway’

November 01, 2013

During the early part of 1969, people would have been glued to their TV's, watching the pictures beamed back from the surface of the Moon. Not to leave the stereos out, there were many souvenir records commemorating the mission so you could replay the giant leap again and again. Unlikely to knock this wax off the platter was an album that went under the radar by comeback queen Cher.

For her sixth L.P. Cher was trying to move away from her previous work with, or without, Sonny that was particularly poppy – even more plastic than the surgery she'd undertake later in life. Their sound was getting criticised all over the place for not being hard edged enough and commercially was not selling units. So she moved down to Muscle Shoals, hoping their musicians and production nous would help her out, with a bunch of tracks to cover. What emerged was the album '3614 Jackson Highway' (named after the studio's address).

Although critically acclaimed, the new sound and covers of tracks by, amongst others, Bob Dylan and Stephen Stills was too much for her fan-base and too late for the new hip audience. Which was a shame. The pick of the bunch must be Cher's retelling of Dr.John's 'Walk On Guilded Splinters' which took his gumbo voodoo stew of a song and sassily slinked it up, turning Sonny's ex into a Bayou Queen, holding a doll and the pins to go in it. If only it had sold, she may not have made 'Believe'!

by Grant P


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