If you were in the cool crowd in mid-eighties Minneapolis you were all over a band called Charlie Pickett and the Eggs. Charlie Pickett was this dude from Florida who had a hell-rockin' band that played hopped up greasy bar rock about drug addicts, whores, and love gone wrong. Think Rolling Stones circa 1969-72 but filtered through late 70's and early 80's punk.
He signed to the Minneapolis label Twin-Tone (home of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, etc), got a little radio play up here and played a bunch of shows. In fact I got to sing one of his songs at the Uptown Bar show. I was up front at the stage and Pickett saw me singing the words to American Travel Lust and he thrust a mic into my face and I got to sing the last two verses! One of my rock highlights for sure. He released an album on Twin Tone to middling reviews. I moved to Washington D.C. and I lost track of him.
It always gnawed on me that I didn't have any digital versions of Pickett's songs, especially his cool e.p. Cowboy Junkie Au Go Go. Every so often I would google or check e-bay for anything Charlie Pickett related but to no avail. It seemed like he dropped off the musical map. He obviously wasn't making any music or releasing anything under the Charlie Pickett name.
Finally in early mid-June I was rummaging through the Bloodshot Records web site, clicked their artist line-up and saw Charlie Pickett! Apparently Bloodshot was able to get the rights to Pickett's music from the various labels he recorded from and put together a 19-song greatest hits package. It arrived a couple of days ago and boy the memories came flooding back.
Of course I latched on to the songs I knew from 25 years ago: Marlboro Country, But I Didn't, Overton, American Travel Lust. But there really isn't a bad song in bunch. As I said above, 1969-72 Rolling Stones was a huge influence and Pickett even sounds like Jagger in a couple of songs.
Reading the liner notes, it appears that Pickett stopped making music in the early 90's. Too much turmoil for too little payback. There was the sad lament, that if he had just held on a little longer, popular culture would have caught on to what Picket was trying to do. Certainly the Alt.Country movement of the 90's would have swept up Charlie Pickett and who knows maybe we'd be putting Charlie Pickett in the same category as the Drive By Truckers or the Old 97's. It doesn't really matter, I finally have my Charlie Pickett on my I-Pod and can sing along with American Travel Lust (a hey hey hey) anytime I want.