So Jack White was trying to kick back after a White Stripes show when a strange guy approached him and congratulated him for remembering all the words to a long Bob Dylan song. Turned out the guy was Brendan Benson, a Detroit cult figure with a couple of great power-pop albums to his credit. Despite the not-too-promising start, White and Benson became fast friends and mutual admirers; they even played one club show where they only sang each other’s songs.
When time finally allowed, they formed the Raconteurs, taking the rhythm section from the Greenhornes - a Cincinnati band that both White and Benson had produced at different times. The first track in our three-pack, “Steady As She Goes,” was also the first song they wrote and released for the band. It summed up what the Ranconteurs were about: melody and energy, crossing White’s overall rockability with Benson’s solid pop instincts and just a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor (mainly in the bassline, which Joe Jackson fans will recognize). That song took the world by storm, topping the alternative charts in 2006 and proving White could be a star with two bands at once. (Later of course he added a third, the Dead Weather who made their DLC debut last month.)
The other two tracks catch the Raconteurs in harder rockin’ mode: “Many Shades of Black” and “Salute Your Solution” both come from their second album, Consolers of the Lonely - the one that was released by surprise with just a few days’ advance notice. Rhythm-section types should especially take note of the latter song, which includes some of the loudest fuzz bass yet to appear in Rock Band!