slow turning


1988 A&M

LP. 395 206-1
  CD. 395 206-2
  CAS. 395 206-4
1 Drive south 3:55 30 seconds preview
2 Trudy and Dave 4:25 30 seconds preview
3 Tennessee plates 2:57 30 seconds preview
4 Icy blue heart 4:34 30 seconds preview
5 Sometime other than now 4:25 30 seconds preview
6 Georgia Rae 4:26 30 seconds preview
7 Ride along 3:31 30 seconds preview
8 Slow turning 3:36 30 seconds preview
9 It'll come to you 3:29 30 seconds preview
10 Is anybody there 5:01 30 seconds preview
11 Paper thin 3:35 30 seconds preview
12 Feels like rain 4:51 30 seconds preview

Total running time:



John Hiatt:


Guitar (acoustic)




the goners

Ken Blevins:



Sonny Landreth:

6 & 12 string electric guitar accoustic Guitar

Slide Guitar

David Ranson: Bass
James Hooker: Organ

Bernie Leadon:





Ashley Cleveland: Background Vocals
Dennis Locorriere: Background Vocals


Produced: Glyn Johns
Engineered: Larry Hirsch
Engineer Assisted: Keith Odle

Glyn Johns

Larry Hirsch

Mix Assisted: Joe Shiff
Mastered: Doug Sax


thanks to
all of the above plus david anderle, steve ralbovsky, aaron jacoves, patrick clifford, michael leon and everyone at A&M for their considerable efforts on hour behalf. mike kappus & the rosebuddies. paul charless, paul fenn & the asgard gang. will botwin & the side oneders. dan & fred bourgoise & the bug music group, walt quinn and avant garde. washburn guitars and johnny craviotto for his snare drums.


  • All songs written by John Hiatt, except "Tennessee Plates" written by John Hiatt & Mike Porter.

  • Mixed at Ocean Way Studio, Hollywood, CA

  • Mastered At The Mastering Lab

  • Recorded May 20 - Jun 6, 1988 at Ronnie Milsap's Groundstar Labs, Nashville, TN

press photo




A&M biography

JOHN HIATT is tall.

"...Just six big ones..."

(One inch taller than Elvis.)

JOHN HIATT is a father and a husband.

"I'm just a guy who wants to buy a boat and go waterskiing, pal. With my family”

JOHN HIATT is a singer. A corn-fed, shake-and-bake, overhead cam of a singer.

"I consider myself a student... I've gotten comfortable with it in the past year..."

JOHN HIATT plays guitar and piano.

"All of my rhythm is in my right band. ..Gosh, I feel like I could be pretty good if I just played.. .you know, spent. some time with it..."

JOHN HIATT is a songwriter. A fantastic American songwriter.

"I've changed my focus... I'm not sitting at the bar like I used to, writing about the creature at the other end. Short stories - that's still the kick for me...On "Bring The Family;' I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I'm out in the light-between tunnels:'


JOHN HIATT has a new album.

SLOW TURNING puts him back on the road in a three­quarter ton Chevy van.



Recorded in Nashville with producer GLYN JOHNS and Hiatt's own aces-high Louisiana road band, THE GONERS (KEN BLEVINS on drums; SONNY LANDRETH on slide and lead electric and acoustic guitars; DAVID "NOW" RANSON on bass,) this van full of songs turns into a Chevrolet coupe which then mutates into a Cadillac. And we haven't even reached the fourth song yet. The open road begs for his Tiger Paws and in the back of his mind is a girl just out of reach.

His fictional American Highway takes you from a gorgeous smokey vale in the back woods, past the strip malls in the small towns, to a steamy, rockin' speak-easy in Big City, U.S.A. Whether a story of travelling or a stop somewhere, each song is moving. You can feel the heat and the hum of the motor as two lovers pack up and head out away from the tangles of love in "DRIVE SOUTH:" "I'm not talkin' 'bout retreatin; little girl! Gonna take our stand/In this Chevy van/Windows open on the rest of the world/Holdin' hands/All the way to Dixieland."

. "TRUDY AND DAVE" is the story of an innocent sort of Bonnie and Clyde with a kid: "Cause it was there in the paper the very next day/'Bout a couple and a baby and a Chevrolet/Who shot up an automatic teller machine/ Took the money and the laundry and drove away clean." Another outlaw's tale unfolds in a letter in "TENNESSEE PLATES," (co-written with MIKE PORTER): "Well this ain't no hotel now I'm writin' you from/ it's the Tennessee prison up at Brushy Mountain/Where yours sincerely's doin' five to eight/Stampin' out my time makin' Tennessee plates:' Coming of age and back in the car, the title track, "SLOW TURNING," is driving in circles but gets you somewhere: "Time is short and here's the damn thing about it/You're gonna die, gonna die for sure/ And you can learn to live with love or without it/But there ain't no cure/There's just a slow turnin'. . ." "IS ANYBODY THERE?" is a stationary, all-too-familiar, realization of loneliness: "Is anybody there? /Oh, I need somebody tonight / To care / I'm feeling alone and it just don't seem right / Is anybody there? / Oh I need somebody to be/To know that I'm good enough for love, to walk alongside me:' From the soon-to-be-classic "ICY BLUE HEART" to the warmth of "GEORGIA RAE," (about his baby daughter) Hiatt's knack for a vivid picture floating on an infectious melody has never been more fine-tuned. His lines don't stand alone - the color, humor, and irony flow together to create their own ocean.

A kid in Indianapolis threw down his rosary and picked up a guitar. "I was fat, otherwordly, and weird as hell. Music saved me... I thought I was gonnbe a whole lot bigger star... Like Michael Jackson." An adult in Nashville puts Tater Tots in the oven. "I ran down to the school at the end of the road to vote [in the Democratic Primary] for Jesse Jackson. When I got back the Tater Tots were burned, but I'm still glad I voted for Jesse Jackson:' Now... if he could just paint like Jackson Pollack...

After the success of Bring the Family, John Hiatt originally intended to reunite that album's all-star backing band (Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner) for a follow-up. Hiatt's "dream band" proved to be unavailable, and he ended up cutting Slow Turning with his road band, the Goners, but the finished product proves he remembered well the lessons learned from Bring the Family. Slow Turning is a lighter and wittier affair than Bring the Family; the outlaw rocker "Tennessee Plates" and its more subdued companion piece, "Trudy and Dave," are more rambunctious than anything on the previous album, and the tempos are sharper this time out, with a bit less blues and a touch more twang in the melodies. But Slow Turning is also an album of hard-won lessons about life and love, placing a subtle but pronounced emphasis on the nuts and bolts of family life with the mingled joys and annoyances of parenthood dominating both "Georgia Rae" and the title cut, and the newfound maturity that made Bring the Family so special is still very much in evidence. And while the Goners aren't quite up to the standards of the quartet that recorded Bring the Family (and who, pray tell, is?), they're still a stronger and more empathetic band than Hiatt usually had in the studio, with Sonny Landreth's guitar work a standout. Following the best album of your career is no easy task for most performers, but with Slow Turning John Hiatt made it clear that the excellence of Bring the Family was no fluke.