Most of the songs on this, the Counting Crows first major label release are pretty melancholy, almost depressing.. sometimes aching is nice. I've listened to these tracks so many times that I can hear them from start to finish in my head if I so desire. I've cried more times than I care to remember whilst listening to Anna Begins, Raining in Baltimore, it's just one of those albums that reflects certain aspects of my life pretty nicely.

It was released on September 14, 1993. All songs were written by Adam Duritz, though some are partially credited to others as well.

Track Listing:

1. Round Here
2. Omaha
3. Mr. Jones
4. Perfect Blue Buildings
5. Anna Begins
6. Time and Time Again
7. Rain King
8. Sullivan Street
9. Ghost Train
10. Raining in Baltimore
11. A Murder of One

I've heard people say that Duritz laments far too much in most all of these lyrics. Perhaps that's why it appeals to me so, and why sometimes I simply can't listen to it at all. (The times when it can't work would be those when my spirits are higher than they dare to venture on a regular basis and my urge to listen dies.) Sometimes loud (almost abusive), always potent sound that I might become if I could just push myself hard enough. I've always thought this was one of those standards, those albums that everyone owns.
They’re wakin’ up Maria
’cause everybody else has got someplace to go
She makes a little motion with her head,
rolls over, and says she’s gonna sleep for a couple minutes more

August and Everything After,” in addition to being the title of Counting Crows’ first album, is the title of a song originally intended for that album. The song was left off the album, evidently because it did not fit its eventual flow and feel, but some of the lyrics adorned the album cover nonetheless. Adam Duritz, Counting Crows’ frontman and the writer of the song, forgot the song and lost all written and recorded copies of it, though a rumor persisted among fans that his father had a demo recording. The song, it seemed, was lost forever.

I said I’m sorry to Maria
for all the cold-hearted things that I have done
I said I’m sorry by now at least once
to just about everyone

The song has been a favorite conversation topic among Crows fans for a decade. Lisa LaBarre, founder of the Lisa’s Counting Crows Shrine website and web administrator for the band, describes it as “the Holy Grail of all crows songs.” The analogy is a good one—like the Grail, people knew the song existed but no one had actually seen it in many years. Finally, in November 2003, a fan announced in the band’s forums that she had transcribed the lyrics from a demo tape. She sent Duritz these lyrics, but he neither confirmed nor denied that they were the ones he had written ten years before. Then, before a show on December 12th, while the stage was being prepared for the second opening band and the curtains were closed, he sat down at the piano and relearned the song from the lyrics. He played a set and then, at the encore, came on stage and announced:

All right, I have never ever played this song before in concert. I have grave, grave misgivings about doing it now. But you people have been bitching about it forever so…. It’s entirely possible it’s not even that good of a song. It does however have a really great title. It sort of goes like this. I’m not sure I can play this but I’m doing this just for you, I want you to know I rehearsed it on the piano in the change over between Graham Colton and the Wallflowers when you weren’t looking tonight.

Adam performed the song by himself, with only piano and vocals, and the song thus has a much simpler sound than those that make it onto Counting Crows’ albums, but sounds much like other live performances of songs by Adam Duritz alone. The show was bootlegged, legally, and a recording can be downloaded, as noted below. The lyrics are, in my estimation, not as polished as those included on the August and Everything After album, but are in some ways even more confessional, and Duritz’ voice is as strong and emotional as ever. And even if the song feels a little longer than necessary, it does have a really great title.

They dress you up in white satin
and they give you your very own pair of wings
In August and everything after
I’m after everything

The complete lyrics to “August and Everything After” can be found at <http://annabegins.com/lyrics/?id=rare#aaea>. A live recording can be found at <http://annabegins.com/multimedia/audio/index.php?id=rare>, on the rereleased hanginaround single, or on the 12-12-03 Counting Crows bootleg. Lisa’s Counting Crows Shrine, aka AnnaBegins.com, was the main source of information for this writeup.

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