Grushecky and his band had been a club fixture in the Northeast for nearly 25 years when they released American Babylon in 1995. The Pittsburgh band had proven themselves to be the consummate bar band with occasional flirtations with national success. American Babylon found them teaming up with Bruce Springsteen, who handles production, plays on several tracks, and wrote two songs for the album. The title track is an up-tempo rocker detailing the disintegration of societal mores. There are plenty of songs outlining love gone wrong and the struggles of common folk, all delivered in Grushecky's warm, well-worn voice over a barroom mixture of blues-based traditional rock. However, delivered with such earnestness and spirit makes American Babylon a worthy contender and an enjoyable listen for fans of Mellencamp, Seger, and, especially, Springsteen.
The 25th anniversary deluxe reissue edition will include live tracks from the Houserockers' legendary October Assault Tour recorded at an enthusiastic hometown show that same year.
American Babylon is an impassioned, sharply-etched portrait of working-stiff triumphs and travails.
As the leader of the Pittsburgh-based Iron City Houserockers, Joe Grushecky hammered out four heartland rock albums in the late 70s and early 1980s. These won over more critics than fans, so he became a special education teacher to support his family. Still, he maintained a close relationship with Bruce Springsteen, and in 1995, they teamed up for American Babylon. The two remain tight and play together at least once a year, but this album remains their greatest joint accomplishment.
At a time when rock had splintered into grunge, industrial, alternative, and more, Joe Grushecky planted a defiant flag in the soul of rock and roll with American Babylon - one of the very best and undeservedly overlooked albums of the 1990s, and one that sounds just as fresh, vibrant, and relevant 25 years later. Bruce Springsteen may have helped bring the album to life, but his contributions only elevate a collection of songs that in another time would have been radio classics on their own.
- 25th Anniversary Edition
- Double LP
- Produced by Bruce Springsteen
- Recorded live at Nick's Fat City on East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA, October 20 & 21, 1995
- Bonus Live Tracks
- Made in the USA
- Dark And Bloody Ground
- Chain Smokin'
- Never Be Enough Time
- American Babylon
- Labor Of Love
- What Did You Do In The War
- Comin' Down Maria
- Talk Show
- No Strings Attached
- Billy's Waltz
- Only Lovers Left Alive
- Only Lovers Left Alive (Live)
- Intro (Live)
- What Did You Do In The War (Live)
- Never Be Enough Time (Live)
- American Babylon (Live)
- Light Of Day (Live) - featuring Bruce Springsteen
- Keep A Knockin' (Live)