Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guest Stars: Four Leaf Clover

The Old 97's: Four Leaf Clover

The Old 97's feat. Exene Cervenka: Four Leaf Clover

"Four Leaf Clover" is the perfect example of how the right guest can enhance a track and really turn it into something special.

The song first appeared on The Old 97's 1994 debut Hitchhike to Rhome. It was a decent enough song at the time with a rolling drum beat and bit of a harder edge than the rest of the songs on the countrified album. But, even with that edge 97's vocalist Rhett Miller still sounds a little reserved. Solid... but not a standout track by any means. That's the first version of the song that is linked above.

In 1997, the band reworked the track for their classic album Too Far to Care. Here, they played up the rock side of the track even more with feedback, ramped up guitars, and a scorching vocal from Exene Cervenka. As a veteran of L.A. punk rock stalwarts X, Cervenka certainly knew how to bring a fire and energy to the track that was lacking in the original. Miller fed off that fire... peppering his own vocal with growls and howls that were absent the first time around.

Exene Cervenka's mere presence transforms the track from a forgettable filler to an essential album closing rocker.

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