One for Friday: Jack Logan, “Teach Me the Rules”

When I was removed from the constant discovery zone of college radio, I often poured through music magazines to find my way to new artists. This meant that, like a sportswriter considering whose name to write on his or her MVP ballot, I was unduly susceptible to a performer with a good story. Jack Logan had a great story. He was a longtime songwriter who came to prominence fairly late in life, after moving to Georgia, where he befriended Peter Buck of R.E.M. While Logan was still making his living as a swimming pool motor technician, he started releasing albums, with tracklists culled from the hundred of songs he’d written, on such venerated indie labels as Twin/Tone and Restless Records. Every music writer who took a pass as Logan’s records made a point of tracking through that story, paying special attention to the astounding notion that he might be making a living with something as practical as working with machinery.

Logan’s background, while interesting, wouldn’t have actually been enough to get me to pick up his albums. He was also exactly the sort of performer I found irresistible at the time: lean, loose, acoustic guitar driven songs that weren’t necessarily folky but were piercingly straightforward in their storytelling. There was some cleverness and wordplay, but not enough to make the material jokey. He reminded me a little bit of Mark Eitzel from American Music Club, and that was a very good think. I bought Logan’s 1994 album, Bulk, and liked that well enough that I picked up the follow-up, Mood Elevator, upon its release. That album was even better, a superiority evident right from the opening track, “Teach Me the Rules.” If I wasn’t going to have college radio feeding me sharp-edged innovators, at least the Logan records proved to me that I could still find the more obscure, deeply rewarding material. The bit of implied engine grease on the songs was merely a bonus.

Listen or download –> Jack Logan, “Teach Me the Rules”

(Disclaimer: It looks to me like a lot of Logan’s output is unavailable as physical objects that can purchased at your favorite local, independently-owned record store. It is with that understanding that I share the song here. I am not trying to snatch dollars from Logan’s pocket, nor even looking to short the small labels that have been his home. I believe that sharing this track hurts no one’s fiscal bottom line. That typed, should I be contacted by some person or entity with due authority to request its removal making such a request, I will gladly and promptly comply.)