Mekons Where Were You? Hen’s Teeth and Other Lost Fragments of Un

It was with some trepidation that I picked this second Mekons B-sides, curios and outtakes collection. The fact is, I’ve always been captivated by the Mekons image as stumblebum rebels and saintly rogues and wanted to like them much more than I’ve ever been able to. Where Were You? sums up what’s great and not-so-great about the Mekons. They’re here at their sloppiest and most impassioned, at their most adventurous and most ill-conceived. And there are surprises: "One Horse Dub" sounds more like a Clash outtake from Sandanista, and their version of "Folsom Prison Blues," from an otherwise fine tribute to Johnny Cash called ‘Til Things Get Brighter masterminded by Jon Langford, is surprisingly uninspired. Not surprising is that fact that "Crap Rap" is in fact, pretty crap. The final surprise is a trio of lovely, rough-hewn, ballady little things sung by Sally Timms — not enough to make the noncommittal run out and buy this, but enough to make you wonder why the Mekons don’t get up to this sort of thing more often. (Quarterstick)