The music is pumped up with squealing arena guitars, and the singer bleats lyrics like ”I’ve thrown away pride/To drown in this endless sea.” Roxette? Celine Dion? No, it’s Sheryl Crow — more specifically, the Crow you weren’t supposed to hear. In late 1992, Crow’s intended debut, Sheryl Crow (A&M), was scrapped, and a new producer was brought in to work on an entirely different album, Tuesday Night Music Club.
Thanks to the underground market, we can now hear the unreleased disc on tape, and it’s a jarring experience. The 12 entirely different songs lumber from ersatz gospel to forced psychedelia; the production has the sterile glaze of ’80s pop. That is, the album crams in everything except the earthy Crow of Music Club.
Ultimately, Crow’s evolution — from leotarded Michael Jackson singer-dancer to the power-balladress of Sheryl Crow through her current incarnation as Grammy-nominated roots babe-is akin to seeing a product test-marketed. In this case, the singer and her label made the right choice: Music Club is sharper, with stronger material. And Crow herself sounds less like a helpless female and more like an industry-savvy veteran — which, judging from what she endured making her debut, may stem from true experience. C