I haven’t been buying a whole lot of stuff lately, a couple of things here and there if the mood strikes, but a new Chuck Ragan album is always going to be a must buy. As a long time fan of Hot Water Music, I like Chuck’s solo stuff almost by default. Yeah the ‘punk rocker with an acoustic guitar’ thing has spread like wildfire, but Chuck (along with Tim Barry) is one of the absolute best at the style and continues to get better with each release.
This particular album, released via Side One Dummy, finds Chuck at the top of musical game. Front to back it’s probably the most solid release he’s had yet. And the total package of the vinyl is on par with the quality of the release.
There’s a few things of note here, but first the record itself. They put these in a sturdy gatefold that really compliment the record. There were a couple versions of these available on different colored wax, but I went with the ‘off white’ version that No Idea was selling. Nothing against Side One Dummy or any of the other places that were or are selling these, but No Idea Records is one of the most absolute class act labels going right now. So, I always try to support them when I can.
Also inside the gatefold is a poster that acts as the albums liner notes. One side has been designed to look like an old newspaper from the early 20th century and it formats the lyrics and info in columns as if they were stories in a newspaper
The other side features a black and white photo of Chuck and a couple of the musicians who played on the album
Finally, there’s the download card. Now at this point anybody who’s ordered or bought an album has run across this constant item. Generally, you get a slip of paper with a URL and a jumble of letters/numbers to use as your download code, giving you a digital copy of the album for your iPod, laptop, etc. With “Covering Ground” the download card game has been stepped up with something that is more akin to a gift card, or your ATM card, than the standard fare.
One thing worth noting; the card that came with my copy of this record is number 4202 out of 5000 (which you can see in the photo above), not sure why they’re numbered like that (except to say that there are apparently 5000 total copies of this record being pressed) but I’m sure, eventually, you’ll see someone put this record on eBay trying to sell it at a premium because their download card is number 2 out of 5000 or some other really low number that someone will convince themselves makes that particular copy MORE worthy of owning than another copy of the record on the same colored wax because it has a number in the 3000’s or something.
Anyway, this is a GREAT album and a GREAT overall package. You can add it to your shelf/turntable by going HERE