Mojo – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | CD review

(Reprise)

Tom Petty’s last studio outing with the Heartbreakers was nine years ago, although he did collaborate in 2008 with the band’s guitarist Mike Campbell and pianist Benmont Tench, reviving their pre-Heartbreakers line-up to record the self-titled ‘Mudcrutch’.

Understandably, some of that raw rock ethos has carried through to Petty and the Heartbreakers’ latest, ‘Mojo’, with Scott Thurston (guitar and harmonica), bassist Ron Blair and drummer Steve Ferrone rounding out the group.

To listen to previews of tracks from this album, press the play button

Recorded in Petty’s home studio ‘Mojo’s lusty, ensemble-generated grooves also evoke strong elements of the Chicago-style electric bluesmen who inspired so many ’60s British rock bands. The opening boogie, ‘Jefferson Jericho Blues’, sets the pace (even if the lyrics fail to convince).

Despite side excursions on the dreamy ‘The Trip to Pirate’s Cove’ or the Dylanesque, Byrds-style jangle of ‘First Flash of Freedom’, the blues permeates throughout,from the cool ‘Candy’ and ‘Lover’s Touch’ to bravura, Led Zeppelin-style rockers such as ‘I Should Have Known It’ or the slower, gritty ‘Takin’ My Time’, ‘US 41’ and simmering closer ‘Good Enough’.

At almost 65 minutes, the album’s good value. It’s highlight, paradoxically, is a gentle ballad, ‘No Reason to Cry’, caressed by Campbell’s pedal steel. The guitarist is such a powerful foil to Petty’s vocals, he surely deserves co-star billing.

- Mike Daly

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