I think that Counting Crows were a bit of a victim of their own success....how do you follow Mr. Jones....well with a cover of Big Yellow Tax I suppose, albeit several years down the line. There is much more to this band than the Hits compilation - and much more so than a cover of a Joni Mitchell song.
Counting Crow's "August and Everything After" is a brilliant debut album. The opening song "Round Here" sets the tone for the entire album, fantastic lyrical story-telling songs accompanied by great hooks and melodies.
While there is no there is no denying that "Mr. Jones" is a catchy pop song, there is way more to this album than that. This is an album of love and loss, of regret and of reaching for a better place. Duritz lyrics are superb and the band create a great sound-track for him. Its a bit like Van Morrison's vision of what he could achieve withe Caledonia Soul Orchestra. Duritz sounds weary a lot of the time on this record....but you have the feeling throughout than things are going to work out fine.
A Murder of One:
Side note: my friend Michael and I saw the band on this Tour. Barrowlands I think, 6 November 1994. Michael will know for sure! Great gig though.