When someone remakes a band's song I have to ask myself, "Why?" If the remake is a true remake (by that I mean that they re-interpreted the song, used different types of instruments, etc.) than I'm fine with a re-make. If it is just a cover of the same song - same instruments, same style of everything than I have to wonder why you'd bother to put it on a CD?
This Tribute to John Mellencamp is basically a bar band's nicely done set of covers of most of Mellencamp's better-known hits. If this band was playing at my local bar I'd be happy with the quality of the singing and performing and be happy to spend the evening listening to some good covers and thinking about the real songs and singer. But, this is not an evening at a bar.
Others have done re-makes of Mellencamp's work over the years. I happily own String Quartet Tribute to John Cougar Mellencamp and Ain't That America: The Bluegrass Tribute to John Cougar Mellencamp. Both of them re-do Mellencamp's songs in a unique fashion - they have something new to say with the same old songs.
Ironically, Mellencamp has covered a ton of songs over the years but he does it right - he changes them and makes the new version his own. He has something new to say and do with the same music. On the Rough Harvest CD he re-made "Under the Boardwalk" with accordions and fiddles and made it his own (and possibly the best song he's ever done in this fan's opinion). The same with "Rave On" on the Cocktail film soundtrack. You almost can't tell it's the same song as the Buddy Holly original.
My suggestion: get one of the Mellencamp greatest hits CDs such as The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988 or Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits or Best of John Mellencamp: 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection or even buy them one track at a time online and buy the original rather than a cover copycat version that costs about the same.
I rate this rather pointless album 2 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on January 16, 2009.