One Track Mind: The Replacements, “I’m Not Sayin’” from Songs for Slim (2013)

Anyone who was a fan of their dangerously debauched brand of college rock, so long gone now, would have thought that chances of the Replacements getting back together were roughly the same as the odds they’d cover a Gordon Lightfoot song.

They’re doing both, with a very good cause being the thing that finally smoked out erstwhile leader Paul Westerberg. He’s joined by fellow ‘Mats vet Tommy Stinson for this take on “I’m Not Sayin’” as part of a benefit for ex-guitarist Slim Dunlap — who suffered a debilitating stroke last year. He was hospitalized for nine months, and remains partially paralyzed.

For all of their time away — the Replacements last official release was 1990′s All Shook Down — and for all of those who are dearly departed, “I’m Not Sayin’” rattles out with all of the nearly out-of-control propulsion that you’d expect. It’s broken and yet somehow beautiful — right down to Lightfoot’s utterly noncommittal lyric, which couldn’t be more perfect.

The song advances a new limited edition five-track reunion EP, called simply Songs for Slim. 250 copies of the release went on auction last month, and the Replacements have already raised some $100,000 for Dunlap. Nearly 4,000 fans participated in the benefit auction, over 10 days. The initial copy went for a staggering $10,000.

Songs officially arrives as a digital download on March 5, 2013; it will be available beginning on April 16 on 12-inch vinyl via New West Records. Additionally, tracks by Dunlap covered by a variety of other artists — including Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Frank Black, members of R.E.M., Jakob Dylan, Tommy Keene and Craig Finn of the Hold Steady — are being issued as benefit seven-inch singles monthly.


Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at