REVIEW: Shelved for 25 years, “Goodnight My Sweetheart the Devil” holds up as an alt-rock gem


Often when an album has been around for 25 years, it is labeled a classic. Zane Drake’s new album Goodnight My Sweetheart the Devil is new in that it has not been released until now. However, it was recorded in 1995 and 1996, and like so many albums was shelved. Granted, albums aren’t always shelved for a quarter of a century, but it worked out that way in this case.

The album was produced by Eddie Ashworth, who had moved to southeast Ohio to record in his studio and teach at Ohio University. Drake reached out to see if copies of the mixes for this album still existed. They did, and Ashworth was able to put it all together with Wiley Rhyolite mastering.

If you only heard the first track “Memphis’d Out” without knowing the history of the album, you might guess that it was recorded in the mid-90s. It has a grungy tone and a catchy melody that could have made this a college-rock hit back then.

That 90s college-rock feel carries throughout the album. It is particularly strong in “Stoneface.” There is a psychedelic quality in the guitar of this song. You also hear a dingy sort of riff that sounds like it belongs in a Cracker song.

There is a recurring astronomical theme in the song titles, and that’s not something you can say about a lot of albums. Unless it’s a concept album. “1,000 Satellites” is a song that dips pretty heavily into psychedelia – especially in the guitar tone. On top of that, the song contains an unexpected reference to Napoleon and Josephine. That song is followed by “Galaxy,” which is also fittingly psychedelic. This song builds to a cacophonous assault of sound at the end, complete with a swirling guitar that begs to be played on a good sound system to fill the room. “Texas Moon” is the final song with an astronomical title. After the grunge and psychedelia that precede this song, this mellow waltz comes as a surprise. If there is ever a psychedelic spaghetti western in which couples dance in a saloon while a band plays, this is the song for the occasion.

Drake decided to go ahead with releasing this album now because he felt the songs held up 25 years after they were recorded. He’s right. They do. While this album could have charted on college-rock stations in the mid-90s, it still sounds fresh now. That’s due in part to the timeless psychedelic, grunge, and alt-country sounds you hear throughout the album. Goodnight My Sweetheart the Devil was released on July 10. Order your copy here.

Zane Drake – guitar, vocals
Eddie Ashworth – keyboards
Glenn Harris – guitar
Gary Ferguson – drums
Tom Lilly – bass


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