Golden Smog: Gary Louris (vocals, 6 & 12 string acoustic & electric guitars, piano, organ, mellotron, Moog); Dan Murphy (vocals, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, electric guitar, Wurlitzer, Mellotron); Jeff Tweedy (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, harmonica, bass); Kraig Johnson (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, piano, bass); Marc Perlman (acoustic guitar, 6 & 12 string electric guitars, bass, background vocals); Jody Stephens (drums, sleigh bells, hand claps, percussion, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Jessy Greene (violin, background vocals); Tommy Merkel (toy piano, synthesizer); Jim Dickinson (Wurlitzer); Brian Paulson (Mini-Moog); Bryan Hana (tambourine, background vocals); Jim Boquist, John Woodland, Dave Pirner (background vocals).
Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee.
WEIRD TALES is a bit of a misnomer for a collection of songs about the triumphs and tragedies of everyday life. The title, however, does lend itself to some great packaging and artwork. On this second full-length outing from Golden Smog, the band (featuring members of the Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum and Run Westy Run) is joined by former Big Star drummer Jody Stephens.
WEIRD TALES furthers the earnest, "White Album"-of-roots-rock feel of Golden Smog's earlier DOWN BY THE OLD MAINSTREAM. Not surprisingly, the strongest tracks are by Gary Louris (Jayhawks) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), both consistently inventive songwriters who continue to expand the sound of both Golden Smog and their respective bands. Highlights include Louris' barroom sing-along "Until You Came Along," Tweedy's Woody Guthrie-like "Please Tell My Brother," and "Fear Of Falling," Louris and Tweedy's collaboration with Stephens. This jukebox-ready album also features tracks by Soul Asylum guitarist Dan Murphy and a solid set of songs about life's simple pleasures and difficulties ("Look Forward to Seeing You," "If I Only Had Car," and "Making Waves") penned by Jayhawks/Run Westy Run member Kraig Johnson.
Entertainment Weekly (11/6/98, p.88) - "...TALES is a major step forward from their spotty debut....it's full of country-pop gems." - Rating: A-