THE GREEN PAJAMAS – Green Pajama Country! (Endgame/Green Monkey)

‘Green Pajama Country!’ actually came out in 2011, and so pre-dates ‘Death By Misadventure’, and is something that Jeff and the band have wanted to do for a while. A couple of tracks – ‘The Winter of ‘23’ and ‘She’s Gone, She’s Gone, She’s Gone, Daddy She’s Gone’ – are re-workings of older tracks but the rest are new songs, and if you are already a fan of the band’s psyche-infused rock then don’t let the ‘C’ word put you off, as this is ‘country’ more in the Neil Young vein rather than the Jim Reeves version. ‘Green Pajama Country (Opening Theme)’ is a pastiche in the style of the Bonanza/Gunsmoke TV themes and leads into ‘Pass Me Another Whiskey’ and straight away you are asking ‘where’s the country?’ This is a typical GPs tune, laconically sung by Jeff and played pretty straight by the band, with the main country aspect being the lyrics. ‘You Had A Way About You’ and ‘Honky Tonk Girls (At The Little Red Hen)’ do have a country twang to the tunes, and the band certainly seem to be having fun on the latter song in particular. ‘Last Night Was Like The End Of The World’ is a heart-felt ballad with the country aspect reined in, to produce what is basically a classic GPs pop tune. The afore-mentioned ‘Winter Of ‘23’ is a great track, with delicately plucked banjo giving it a suitably desolate feel, while ‘Isabelle Blue’ and ‘Desiree’ are two more in a long line of Jeff’s songs about girls. ‘Father, Father Do You Wait’ is a song Jeff wrote from the point of view of a son who has just lost his father, with the jaunty tune being somewhat at odds with the downbeat lyrics, but at least it stops the song being too mawkish. ‘The Night Passed Over Into Day’ is the closest they actually come to a pure country tune, and even that has a commercial egde to it, while ‘She’s Gone…’ is another stand-out track on the album, stretching out to over nine minutes, and not one of them wasted. The album is rounded off with ‘Green Pajamas Country (Closing Theme)’, which ties everything up nicely. Overall, the ‘Country!’ of the title ends up being more a state of mind rather than a musical style, with the folk and pop influences far outweighing the country ones, and so we end up with an album that sits comfortably in the band’s canon of work, and can easily be enjoyed by someone like me, who counts country music as one of my least favourite genres.
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