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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Exile on Franklin Street

1. Faker (Fuck the Universe)
2. California (Mix 1)
3. California (Mix 2)
4. Tractor Beam (Do You Wanna Get High?)
5. Come Pick Me Up (Ryan Adams/Van Alston)
6. Goodbye Honey
7. All My Fault (Mix 1)
8. Lash Out
9. All My Fault (Mix 2)
10. Personal Hygiene Zero
11. Chinese Porno Scrappy
12. The Rescue Blues
13. Supermarket Air Raid
14. The Last Dance
15. I Know Where I Live
16. Why You Wanna Lemme Down
17. Listen to the Radio
18. Secret Powers
19. Blankets of Booze
20. Waves Crashing
21. Choked Up
22. Don't Ask for the Water
23. Tell Me How You Want Me (Tell Me Why)
24. Rosalie Come and Go
25. Enemy Fire
26. How Ya Doin'?

The Background

Exile on Franklin Street is a collection of 4-track demos that Ryan recorded while living in Raleigh, NC. There seems to be some conflicting information as to when these were recorded, but some of this material may date back as far as 1994. During that year, Ryan was interviewed about his band - The Patty Duke Syndrome for a local music magazine. In the interview, he said that he was working on a solo album called Exile on Franklin Street which he played all the instruments by himself. Still from the sound of these recordings, it's likely that at least a large majority of the songs were recorded around the year 2000. The early demo versions of "Goodbye Honey", "Come Pick Me Up", and "Rosalie Come and Go" surprisingly sound as fully fleshed out as they could possibly be with a 4-track recorder.

A local Raleigh club owner, promoter, and "man about town" named Van Alston played a huge part in Ryan's early career as a budding musician. He also helped with the recording of Exile, and co-wrote "Come Pick Me Up" with Ryan (as well as several others). Van was quoted as saying that all of the material recored for this album was handed over to Lost Highway Records shortly after being signed. At one point, there was a mention by Ryan that this album was being planned for official release as part of a box set of albums alongside 48 Hours, The Suicide Handbook, and The Pinkhearts Sessions, but unfortunately it never happened.

Although the box set never came out, more than half of the songs on Exile on Franklin Street have been officially released as they are heard here; or re-recorded and released on later albums such as Heartbreaker and Gold. In 2004, two limited edition double 7" EPs were sold exclusively at Ryan's concerts and featured eight of the songs found here. Still, there are quite a few standouts that haven't been released in any form yet (most notably "Listen to the Radio" and "Blankets of Booze")

My Review

The songs on Exile on Franklin Street are a mixed grab bag of everything from hardcore punk, to folky acoustic numbers, to strange psychedelic weirdness. As the title suggests, there also seems to be a heavy Keith Richards influence on some of these songs. Overall many of the tunes sound unfinished and more like recording experiments than anything presentable as an album. Having said that though, there are still some very interesting tracks, most notably an early version of "Don't Ask for the Water". Here, the song has a full band arrangement and sounds even better than the version on Heartbreaker. "Tell Me How You Want Me" sounds like a long lost Neil Young and Crazy Horse jam. While "Come Pick Me Up", "Choked Up", and "Goodbye Honey" are great to hear stripped down and acoustic. Compared with the version on Love is Hell, "Faker (Fuck the Universe)" is much tighter, rocks hard with acoustic guitars rather than the feedback drenched noise rock, and is a few minutes shorter. Overall, Exile on Franklin Street sound like a pre-cursor to the music Ryan would later release under monikers like - DJ Reggie, The Shit, Ghetto Birds, etc..... but way better. 

Not Essential, but interesting to get a peak into the world of Ryan Adams sound experiments, and definitely worth hearing the key tracks below at some point.

Key Tracks: "Faker (Fuck the Universe)", "Come Pick Me Up", Goodbye Honey", "Listen to the Radio", "Blankets of Booze", "Choked Up", "Don't Ask for the Water", and
"Tell Me How You Want Me"

Song Info

- "Faker (Fuck the Universe)" was re-recorded and released as a bonus track on Love is Hell.

- "California", "Tractor Beam" (retitled "Do You Wanna Get High?") , "Secret Powers", and "Waves Crashing" were released on the limited edition double 7" EP titled California in 2004.

- "Come Pick Me Up" was re-recorded and released on Ryan's solo debut album - Heartbreaker. The 4-track version of the song featured here was also officially released as b-side on some promo 7" singles of "So Alive" in 2003.

- "Goodbye Honey" was re-recorded for Heartbreaker, but not used on the original album release. Instead it came out on a collectors edition/re-release of Heartbreaker in France in 2005, as well as a compilation released on Bloodshot Records called Making Singles and Drinkin' Doubles released in 2002.

- "Lash Out" and "Personal Hygiene Zero" were later re-recorded and released on one of Ryan's many side projects: Werewolph's Feel the Laser.

- "Listen to the Radio" was also recorded by Whiskeytown for the album - Pneumonia, but was left off. The song was then put aside and planned for release on the Whiskeytown EP - Deserters, but never came out.

- "The Rescue Blues" was re-recorded and released on Gold as well as the unofficial release - The Q Division Demos.

- "The Rescue Blues", "Tell Me How You Want Me", "Enemy Blanks", and "Come Pick Me Up" were released on the limited edition double 7" EP titled The Rescue Blues released in 2004.

- "Choked Up" was previously recorded by Whiskeytown for the album Pneumonia, but was left off the final track listing. It later surfaced on Lost Highway's 2003 rarities compilation Lost and Found Vol. 1.

- "Don't Ask for the Water" was re-recorded and released on Heartbreaker.

- "Rosalie Come and Go" was re-recorded and released as a bonus track on Gold, as well as on the Lost Highway compilation Lost and Found Volume 1.

- "Enemy Blanks" was re-recorded and released as "Enemy Fire" on Gold, as well as a harder rocking instrumental version on the unofficial release - The Pinkhearts Sessions.


  1. Mighty fine. A detail, however: Ryan was already living in Raleigh by 1994, & Franklin Street was his address around then (this was after the Daisy Street dwelling referenced in the Lazy Stars' title "Exile on Daisy Street").

    1. Hey! thanks for catching that, so do you happen to know if Daisy Street is in Jacksonville or Raleigh??

  2. "Listen to the Radio" was reportedly recorded by Whiskeytown during sessions for 'Pneumonia' but was left off and planned to be included with other outtakes on the E.P. release 'Deserters' (which is unreleased)