On the Rural Route 7609

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On the Rural Route 7609
Mellencamp Box Cover.jpg
Box set by John Mellencamp
Released June 15, 2010
Recorded 1976–2009
Genre Rock, heartland rock, folk
Label Island Def Jam
Producer John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp chronology
Life, Death, Live and Freedom
(2009)Life, Death, Live and Freedom2009
On the Rural Route 7609
No Better Than This
(2010)No Better Than This2010

On the Rural Route 7609 is a box set by rock singer/songwriter John Mellencamp that was released on June 15, 2010.[1] The first part of the title refers to the song "Rural Route" (which is included in two versions) from his 2007 album Freedom's Road and the fact that Mellencamp's music and lifestyle have always been very rural in nature, and 7609 references that the set spans Mellencamp's entire recording career from 1976 to 2009.[2] Said Mellencamp in the set's liner notes: “I started making records in ’76, and the most recent track on the collection was done in ‘09. So Rural Route 7609; it’s like an address. I thought it sounded cool.”

The liner notes for "On the Rural Route 7609" were penned by veteran rock journalist Anthony DeCurtis, who also wrote the liner notes for Eric Clapton's Crossroads and Billy Joel's My Lives. DeCurtis wrote a 4,500-word essay on Mellencamp, and Mellencamp provides track-by-track commentary.


This box set contains four discs and 54 tracks and each disc is set up as an individual album with common themes rather than being presented in chronological order. The purpose behind this set is to highlight Mellencamp's songwriting.

While there are many standard album tracks included on the set, there is also quite a bit of previously unreleased material, although no new unreleased songs. Highlights include Mellencamp's newly recorded version of "Colored Lights" – a song he wrote for The Blasters in 1985 – "Jenny at 16," a demo which ultimately became "Jack and Diane," and recently recorded solo acoustic versions of "Sugar Marie" and "To M.G. (Wherever She May Be)."[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.0/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone 4.0/5 stars[5]
Goldmine Magazine 4.0/5 stars[6]
Blurt Magazine 9.0/10 stars[7]

Rolling Stone magazine senior editor David Fricke gave "On the Rural Route 7609" four stars in the July 8, 2010 issue. Fricke wrote:

Track listing[edit]

Disc One[edit]

  1. Longest Days
  2. Grandma's Theme -- In the Baggage Coach Ahead (Alternate mix, without simulated record crackle)
  3. Rural Route
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Rain On The Scarecrow (Rough Harvest version)
  6. Jim Crow with Cornel West **
  7. Jim Crow
  8. Big Daddy Of Them All
  9. Deep Blue Heart
  10. Forgiveness
  11. Don't Need This Body
  12. Jenny At 16 *
  13. Jack And Diane (writing demo)*
  14. Jack And Diane

Disc Two[edit]

  1. The Real Life with Joanne Woodward **
  2. Ghost Towns Along The Highway
  3. The Full Catastrophe
  4. Authority Song (writing demo)*
  5. Troubled Land
  6. To Washington
  7. Our Country (alternate version)*
  8. Country Gentlemen
  9. Freedom's Road
  10. Mr. Bellows*
  11. Rodeo Clown
  12. Love And Happiness (Rough Harvest version)
  13. Pink Houses

Disc Three[edit]

  1. If I Die Sudden (live)
  2. Someday
  3. Between A Laugh And A Tear (Rough Harvest version)
  4. Void In My Heart * (Recorded live at Chess Studios in May 1989)
  5. Death Letter
  6. Sugar Marie *
  7. Theo And Weird Henry
  8. When Jesus Left Birmingham
  9. L.U.V.
  10. Thank You
  11. Women Seem
  12. The World Don't Bother Me None*
  13. Cherry Bomb (writing demo)*
  14. Someday The Rains Will Fall
  15. A Ride Back Home

Disc Four[edit]

  1. My Aeroplane
  2. Colored Lights *
  3. Just Like You
  4. Young Without Lovers
  5. To M.G. (Wherever She May Be)*
  6. Sweet Evening Breeze
  7. What If I Came Knocking
  8. County Fair
  9. Peaceful World (writing demo)*
  10. Your Life Is Now
  11. For The Children
  12. Rural Route *

* = Previously unreleased
** = Spoken word reading of lyrics