My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

EP Review: Clint Black – ‘The Long Cool EP’

longcoolepBy the mid-2000s, the pressures of parenthood and running his own label had taken their toll on Clint’s recording career and songwriting, and his own musical output decreased considerably. In 2008 he issued his most recent collection of new music, The Long Cool EP, which was a digital-only release.

Included in the three-song collection was “The Strong One”, Clint’s single from the previous year. It was only the second single of his career that he did not have a hand in writing (the other one was his 1993 cover of The Eagles’ “Desperado”). A heartfelt tribute to his better half, the so-called “weaker sex”, “The Strong One” was penned by Bill Luther, Don Poythress and Chuck Jones. Less traditional than Clint’s early work, the recording embraces a softer sound that was more aligned with the preferences of contemporary country radio. Without the strong promotional support of a major label, “The Strong One” underperformed on the charts, peaking at #37. It is, however, one of the higher-charting singles from his stint with Equity, second only to 2004’s “Spend My Time” which reached #16.

Clint moved even further away from his country roots with the next single, from which the EP’s title is derived. “Long Cool Woman” has been a pop hit for The Hollies in 1972. I’ll admit to being completely ignorant of the original version, but I liked Clint’s take on the song a lot. Though it wasn’t the traditional country he was known for, it wasn’t as big an artistic stretch as one might think at first, and he sounded more refreshed and energized than he had in quite some time. It died at #58 and is the last single that Clint has released to date.

The EP’s remaining track is “You Still Get To Me”, a duet with Lisa Hartman-Black, which attempts to recreate the success the pair had originally enjoyed with “When I Say I Do” nearly a decade earlier. It is not a bad song, but it is not particularly memorable.

After purchasing The Long Cool EP from Amazon, I found out that the iTunes version contained a bonus track, a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin'”, which I’ve never heard.

The Long Cool EP was released in March 2008 and was intended to bridge the gap until Clint’s next album, which was slated for release later that year. Unfortunately, Equity Music Group’s financial difficulties delayed the release of the album, and in December the struggling label closed its doors, unable to withstand the loss of its one truly successful act, Little Big Town. None of the tracks from the EP is commercially available at the moment, to the best of my knowledge, but perhaps one day they will resurface on a compilation album.

Grade: B+

3 responses to “EP Review: Clint Black – ‘The Long Cool EP’

  1. Paul W Dennis May 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I’ve never heard any of these tracks since radio didn’t play them, and I had never downloaded anything until 2010. Even today, I tend to purchase CDs since the sound quality is better although digital downloads are better than once was the case

  2. Acca Dacca July 19, 2014 at 2:01 am

    I actually enjoyed these songs. Given that it’s no longer available, as you say, I obtained it second hand after hours upon hours of searching. I don’t normally download music illegally but when it isn’t available any other way that’s what it comes down to. I find it odd that this release was ripped from online retailers but the other albums released by Equity are still available. Regardless, the EP itself isn’t bad at all. Not as good as Drinkin’ Songs & Other Logic but still a cut above the dullness of Spend My Time. One thing I found to be a bit odd was that “Long Cool Woman” (and I’m also ignorant of the original version) sounds suspiciously like AC/DC’s “Rock & Roll Singer” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5wznYdjvww. Once you get past the opening riff the guitar line sounds oddly similar to Black’s cover. Otherwise, the song itself isn’t bad. It’s rocky but still very country and miles ahead of most anything played on the radio today. It was a pleasure to hear Clint’s distinctive steel guitar tuning exit my speakers after being mostly absent from his previous few albums. I personally feel that “The Strong One” is a great, understated ode to women and single mothers. That song deserved to be a big hit. I myself enjoyed “You Still Get to Me,” even if the song itself felt a bit lacking in inspiration and more than a little like an attempt to reclaim the success of “When I Said I Do.” In my opinion, the iTunes exclusive track “Everybody’s Talkin'” is largely disposable (like many retailer exclusives).

    If it’s in anybody’s interest, Clint released a Cracker Barrel exclusive album by the name of When I Said I Do. It has eleven re-recordings of some older material as well as three new tracks, one of which was released as a single on iTunes in 2012 (http://shop.crackerbarrel.com/Clint-Black-When-Say-CD/dp/B00EFEQTXO). The whole album is also available on iTunes, in what one can only assume is an agreement between Cracker Barrel and Apple. I’ve yet to listen to my copy but it’s the very next album on my plate. I CAN, however, personally vouch for the fact that this album features re-recordings. I compared the opening thirty seconds of each track on this release with the older versions and each one was different, sometimes in major ways. It’d be great to get a review of this as well, even if it isn’t a full studio album.

    Supposedly Clint is in talks with a major label about releasing a new album sometime in 2014. However, I haven’t gotten my hopes up just yet. He’s periodically talked of a “new” album in the wake of his label’s closure in past interviews and one never seems to materialize. One can only assume that he has quite a few songs in the vault at this point as I sincerely doubt he’s been sitting on the same twelve or thirteen since 2008. We’ll probably never get a chance to hear any of that material, but hopefully he can land a deal and give his career a shot in the arm. It’s unlikely he’ll have much radio prominence, but if he were to sign with Big Machine’s new “classic” format he’d have Scott Borchetta in his corner, and Borchetta isn’t known for letting his assets sink without a trace. I’m sure he’d do everything in his power to get Black on the radio and it’d be nice to hear from him again.

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