In 1998, when the Beastie Boys were
doing the pre-release press conferences promoting Hello
Nasty, few people took them seriously when they
spoke of a country album that had been completed as well.
The release of Beastie
Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science (1999) made believers
out of everyone. The double disc collection featured two
country songs: "Country Mike's Theme" and "Railroad
Blues." These racks confirmed earlier suspicions that
the album entitled Country
Mike's Greatest Hits did indeed exist.
In order to create this new dimension
in the Beastie Boys' repertoire, another musician had to
be added into the equation. That musician turned out to
be steel pedal player Bucky Baxter. The liner notes for
Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science (1999)
said very little about the sessions. Yet we do know a few
facts that were mentioned on the back of the Country
Mike's Greatest Hits album jacket.
First off, the entire album was mixed
and recorded at the Dungeon (located in New York, NY), which
is where the Beastie Boys had been working the majority
of Hello Nasty. In the beginning many people assumed
that the Country Mike sessions took place in Nashville,
TN, since Bucky has his Three Trees Studio there.
Second, we can conclude that Bucky
plays steel pedal on every Country Mike track. In addition
to that, he also plays the fiddle of "Country Christmas."
Over the years Bucky has worked with other super-talented
artists from Bob Dylan to R.E.M., so his teamwork on Country
Mike flowed naturally.
Although Country Mike's Greatest
Hits was never released commercially on cd, bootleg
cd-r copies are frequently on eBay or can be found within
Beastie Boys collecting circles. If you'd rather have the
official document, expect to pay at least $100.00 for a
copy of it on vinyl. Again, eBay is your best bet for acquiring
this rare and collectible album.