Why is Tom Petty such a cool cat? Because first and foremost, Tom Petty is a fan. Listening to his considerably impressive oeuvre, it is clear that he has assimilated all his favourite bands/artists (Dylan, the Beatles, the Byrds, the Kinks, Hendrix, the Stones, the Band) and concocted his very own psychedelic-folk-rock-country-blues style.

Mojo is Petty’s 12th album with the Heartbreakers and the first since 2002’s controversial The Last DJ. With Petty turning 60 (!) in October this year, Mojo sounds like the work of an assured master, assisted by the best sidesmen around viz. Mike Campbell (guitars) and Benmont Tench (keyboards).

The 15 tracks on Mojo hearken back to the heady late 60s, even as bands/artists began to throw off the fanciful effects of LSD and returned to the roots of American rock music. Thus, electrified blues-rock is the prominent direction here in songs like Jefferson Jericho Blues, Running Man’s Bible, I Should Have Known It, Takin’ My Time and Lover’s Touch.

However, Petty’s vaunted classic rock eclecticism is still very much evident in tracks like the psych-jazz workouts of First Flash of Freedom, Dylan-Young folk-rocking Trip to Pirates Cove, the sweet rock ‘n’ roll jivin’ Candy, the country-folk American beauty of No Reason To Cry, the rasta vibe of Don’t Pull Me Over and the wonderfully epic Beatlesque Ksoul-blues closer Good Enough.

Call me an old fart if you like (but never boring!) but this gloriously retro-delic album represents all that is precious about our rock music. Long may you run, Tom.

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