COLUMN: Does It Slap? The Gaslight Anthem - "The '59 Sound Sessions"

“The ’59 Sound” by The Gaslight Anthem was released 10 years ago. At that time - I was 16, completely unaware of the band, and had no idea that this would become one of the essential records of my life. My introduction to Gaslight came during the “American Slang” era and they immediately became one of my favorite bands, as a 27 year old, that still holds up for me.

I remember loving American Slang so much that I immediately had to hear every single song that these people had ever made, and as soon as I checked out ’59 Sound and heard the first 10 seconds of “Great Expectations” I knew that this band was going to be special to me.

Today, SideOneDummy dropped “The ’59 Sound Sessions” to commemorate 10 years of the record and if you’re a Gaslight fan, and anything like me you might have felt a little disappointment by the band taking a committed hiatus after “Get Hurt” came out in 2014, in that it wasn’t a proper send off.

Brian Fallon has since released two fantastic solo records which largely sound like an extension of Gaslight, so we’re not entirely deprived - but something about The Gaslight Anthem moniker resurfacing is special. This record is special, and so easy to nerd out on.

The release has nine tracks – six session versions of songs that made it to The 59’ Sound, two B-sides, and one cover.

Overall, it’s everything you want from a demo or session recording. It’s earnest, and you get to see how good this record was when it was completely raw.


Some of my favorite nerdy observations –


God’s Gonna Cut You Down – I think that this is the main event of the release. Brian Fallon may be the best voice to have covered Johnny Cash to date, and ANY version of this song absolutely rips – but to hear how Gaslight does it, is so goddamn cool.


Patient Ferris Wheel  - A drastically different pre-chorus from the record version. Very fun. I would vote for the record version but this is very cool.


Placeholder – B side song, but you hear the chorus of Old White Lincoln in the bridge, which is a personal favorite of mine. I just about screamed.


Our Father’s Sons – B side, at the very end you hear the opening riff of Great Expectations creep into the picture, which ultimately led off for the studio version of the record. It’s fun to play the songs back to back.


Does it slap? All day, but you have to have an educated ear on this band and see it though a lens. If you’ve never heard the official release of The ’59 Sound, it’s essential that you check that first and come back.