As the 97’s celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of Too Far To Care, I will take the opportunity to dig into my addled memory for some stories and insights. I’ll start with a track-by-track retrospective of the album’s thirteen songs. I will address them in reverse order, finishing appropriately with “Timebomb”.
Track 13 – “Four Leaf Clover” (with Exene Cervenka)
“Four Leaf Clover” debuted on Hitchhike To Rhome, the first Old 97’s album. We made Hitchhike in about four days, which meant it was an absolute whirlwind. I had written “Four Leaf Clover” in the days leading up to that first session, and the band and Hitchhike’s producer, Alan Wooley, felt that even though we had only worked up a minimal arrangement, the song was too good to leave off the album. In the ensuing years of road work, “Four Leaf” grew into a massive rock song, light years beyond that humble first recording.
While putting together the songs that would become Too Far To Care, I was searching for a duet to record with my new friend, Exene Cervenka. I had started work on an old-fashioned duet that I thought we might sing, but Exene proclaimed it “too pretty.” That song later became “Fireflies.”
Exene listened to the rough mixes we had recorded in Tornillo, TX and chose “Four Leaf Clover.” We decided she would take the lead on the second verse, and Exene suggested a lyric re-write. Thus, “nothing to impress you” became “nothing to attract you.” Much sexier. That Exene has a way with words, all right.
PS: Have your own memories of “Four Leaf Clover” or Too Far To Care in general? Tweet them to me.
Listen to “Four Leaf Clover”