Uncle Tupelo Anodyne (Remastered & Expanded)

I shouldn’t have to say anything about this album to anyone — its original release in 1993 solidified the then still gestating notion of alt-country. But Anodyne’s lasting importance cannot be understated as these final fruits of the Jay Farrar-Jeff Tweedy partnership became the watershed moment when the American folk tradition was passed on to a new generation. It’s still forgivable to get a lump in your throat when their voices clash on the first chorus of "Slate,” glow with nostalgia at Tweedy’s tribute to the dying underground scene on "We’ve Been Had,” or feel the chill when Farrar wails, "I don’t ever want to taste those tears again,” on "Chickamauga.” The new package does complete justice to the album’s significance, with an illuminating essay by Richard Byrne and a few new photos. But for most fans, the treats will lie in the five bonus tracks. "Stay True” is a Farrar rocker that could have easily have been reworked for the first Son Volt album, while "Wherever” is a bittersweet Tweedy ballad that once again reveals his debt to Paul Westerberg. An in-studio run-through of Waylon Jennings’ "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” with Joe Ely is an intriguing meeting of minds, while two live tracks from the much sought-after The Long Cut EP, "Suzy Q” and "Truck Driving Man,” end things on a euphoric note. It’s easy to call reissues cash-grabs, but this new edition of Anodyne is a must-have, even if, like many, you know it off by heart. (Rhino)