Alabama 3 – Hits and Exit Wounds

May 7, 2008

Alabama 3 - Hits and Exit Wounds
Let’s face it — “Greatest Hits” albums from bands you like tend to suck. It’s all stuff you’ve heard before, out of the context in which you’re used to hearing it.

In fact, when I first heard that Alabama 3 was releasing a “Greatest Hits” album, I was more than a little bit snarky about the whole thing over at Free A3.

However, being the fanboy I so obviously am, I still had to get it. And frankly, I ended up a bit surprised.

Yes, I’ve heard it all before, even the “uncollected” bits like “SKA’D for Live”, which they did with Orbital for the movie SW9 (and of which I am very fond).

But still, listening to it, it struck me that this was actually a very well thought out overview of where the band has been over the past 12 years or so — from the shtick-laden craziness of “Exile on Coldharbour Lane” which drew many of us in (and which landed them on the front of every episode of The Sopranos) clear up to this year’s “MOR”, which is stylistically a long ways away from Exile, but still very recognizably Alabama 3.

What it doesn’t have is much of the rich strangeness that haunts most Alabama 3 albums — the kind of stuff that on the tenth listen you suddenly quit flinching and realize you actually quite like. But that’s fine too — its absence makes Hits and Exit Wounds what it should be — an accessible overview of what the band’s all about. If you love it, then you’ll probably love the rest of their catalog. If you just like it, then it’s an album that you can like for a very long time.

Which is not to say that H&EW does not contain plenty of Alabama 3 strangeness. The Exile era is well represented with “Woke Up This Morning”, “Peace in the Valley”, “Speed of the Sound of Lonliness”, “Hypo Full of Love”, “Ain’t Going to Goa”, “U Don’t Danse to Tekno Anymore” and the full and proper version of “Mao Tse Tung Said” (which was censored in the US release of Exile).

Other highlights include great remixes of “Mansion on the Hill” and “How Can I Protect You”, “R.E.H.A.B” and one of the better (but not quite the best) version of “Up Above My Head”, as well as “Amos Moses”, “Hello… I’m Johnny Cash”, “Sad Eyed Lady of the Low Life”, “Too Sick to Pray”, “Woodie Guthrie”, and “Monday Don’t Mean Anything”.

If it were me picking, I’d probably have swapped one or two songs for different songs, and used different versions of one or two of the remaining ones, but that’s all small beer. This really is a solid collection.

If you’ve been wondering what Alabama 3 is about beyond the Sopranos theme, or if you’re looking for an album to introduce someone else to Alabama 3, Hits and Exit Wounds is well worth your trouble.

Alabama 3 – Hits and Exit Wounds

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10 Responses to “Alabama 3 – Hits and Exit Wounds”

  1. Dave. on May 7th, 2008 3:17 pm

    Pretty much sums it up for me Chuck.

    Nothing new but presented in a shiney new package = $$$$$


  2. Chuck Lawson on May 8th, 2008 9:17 am

    True enough for me and thee, Dave — but I think this is a solid album to use to try to infect other people with introduce other people to the Boys from Brixton…

  3. rimone on May 12th, 2008 9:41 am

    i actually wasn’t gonna bother but since you said these are dif versions than those already released, you’ve got me intrigued. and no, if i already have ’em in my *goes to itunes to separate the A3* 806 mixes and officially released tunes i totally won’t be pissed (in an ‘i’m a compleatist’ kinda way).

    rimones last blog post..hubris – i haz it

  4. rimone on May 12th, 2008 9:43 am

    right, sorry, someone else said there were dif versions, soz for 2nd post.

    rimones last blog post..hubris – i haz it

  5. Chuck Lawson on May 12th, 2008 2:05 pm

    A couple of them are versions you won’t find just off the released albums (particularly if you bought the US releases), but no, there’s nothing new here for us completists..

  6. rimone on May 13th, 2008 6:30 pm

    hmmm… the only US releases we/i have are Exile and LaP, Mansion, Converted, Speed and their Brit sames. i’ve got shitloads of remixes and bootlegs… gonna have to hear this at someone’s place before i get it. i could’ve sworn someone said (maybe at FreeA3) that apart from Ska’d and MOTH (both of which i have) some of these are other versions.

    rimones last blog post..Sod & SG 4-EVar |-(

  7. Chuck Lawson on May 13th, 2008 6:34 pm

    Well, there’s seriously nothing on here I didn’t have (albeit some by slightly different titles), and I know if I have it, you definitely have it… Album folk won’t have the remixes, by and large, and owners of the US Exile won’t have the full Mao Tse Tung Said…

  8. Exit Signs Joe on September 11th, 2008 4:01 pm

    Sounds like it might be good for those of us new to Alabama 3. I may check it out. Thanks for the post.

  9. rimone on February 17th, 2009 9:00 am

    still haven’t snagged it but i shall w/the usual caveat: if i remember. 😉

    rimones last blog’s big whoop time

  10. kumar on July 28th, 2010 11:32 am

    But that’s fine too — its absence makes Hits and Exit Wounds what it should be — an accessible overview of what the band’s all about. If you love it, then you’ll probably love the rest of their catalog

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