Skip to content

John Mendelssohn’s “Clean Hankies” Reviewed


Author and musician John Mendelssohn has released a new collection of songs, mixing traditional country music sounds with his penchant for classic pop melodies. The “Clean Hankies” effort contains satire and social commentary, as well as melancholy turns and moments of hope and determination.

The set kicks off with “The Racist Next Door,” which cleverly hides its violent nature with a pleasant, upbeat doo wop meets country shuffle. Also, a backing trumpet slyly imitates a mariachi horn sound, perhaps in tribute to Johnny Cash.

Mendelssohn’s voice is reminiscent of Dick Curless’s rich baritone on the opening of “The Marriage None Could Kill,” with lyrics about a partner who is “Less than I was hoping for and more than I deserve.” The longstanding couple’s trials and tribulations are summed up with the couplet, “Muhammad had Joe Frazier and the Beatles had their Stones/I don’t think we’ve had fewer broken bones.”

“In the Time of Her Greatest Beauty” is another sharp shuffle, this one about an aging beauty who once dated the truck driving narrator and has moved into the arms of a real estate magnate.

The romantic limitations of good intentions are attached to an attractive, breezy melody on “Oily Oily Oxen Free.” I should also note that Mendelssohn shines at backing vocal arrangements, as exemplified by the lovely female cooing on “The Poster Boy for Sadness” and the doo wop chorus of “Cover Me in Roses,” a buoyant pop effort that deserves a mainstream cover.

Other highlights include “GOD, The Flag…and You,” an account of a gun toting, racist, Confederate flag loving “patriot.” The military drum roll in the chorus is a fine touch that made me laugh out loud. “The Bus They Threw Me Under” is reminiscent of the whimsical sounding, but often dark lyrics, of early They Might Be Giants.

John Mendelssohn has successfully managed to both spoof and inhabit the sounds of Americana country music, which is not an easy trick to accomplish (check out Ween’s 1995 album “12 Golden Country Greats” for how easily this idea can turn sour). You can find this highly enjoyable set of music at https://soundcloud.com/user-192058723.

1 Comment

  1. Ed Lyles on December 8, 2020 at 5:30 am

    Although not Leon Russell, it’s good work

Leave a Comment





Amazon_Smile_logo
LET-ME-HELP-LOGO

Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at smile.amazon.com

Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Releases 12-9-22 – 12-15-22

By Iman Lababedi | December 4, 2022 |

I can’t wait to hear the adds

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – January 1981 (Volume 12, Number 8) 

By Steve Crawford | December 4, 2022 |

I don’t believe in tomorrows

Mannequin Pussy, Automatic And Margaritas Podridas At The Troubadour, Thursday December 1st 2022

By Alyson Camus | December 4, 2022 |

the night was quite a wild ride

UK Top 10 Albums 12-2-22 – 12-8-22

By Iman Lababedi | December 3, 2022 |

I wish Cliff had beat Stormzy -who I admire but not here

UK Top 10 Singles 12-2-22 – 12-8-22

By Iman Lababedi | December 3, 2022 |

we are all now sold on “Anti-Hero”

Press Releases For December: Here Are The Artists

By Alyson Camus | December 2, 2022 |

A horrorcore anthemic track with creepy vocals and abrasive guitars

The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 12-2-22 – 12-8-22 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | December 2, 2022 |

they don’t quite show growth they do show

The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 12-2-22 – 12-8-22, Yemi Alade’s “African Baddie” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | December 2, 2022 |

One of the best albums of the year

Birthday Giving At Let Me Help

By SohoJohnny Pasquale | December 1, 2022 |

Want to join me in supporting a good cause?

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1980 (Volume 12, Number 7) 

By Steve Crawford | December 1, 2022 |

Boy Howdy! did Susan Whitall put together a solid team of writers

Scroll To Top