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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Drive-By Truckers -- Go-Go Boots

There ain't many things better than sitting out on your front porch late in the day and keeping good company. If you don't got a front porch to sit on, you should probably just listen to this album. It's pretty much the aural equivalent.
I know I just used "ain't" and "don't got" in the same paragraph as "aural equivalent," but this contrast, part of what Drive-By Truckers have referred to in the past as the "duality of the Southern Thing," best sums up the band in a nutshell.
This entire album is a study in contrasts. While the music offers a far more laid-back rock and country sound than a lot of their previous work, some of the lyrical themes are the most intense the Truckers have ever touched upon. There are not one, but two songs featuring philandering, wife-murdering preachers, one with an open-ending, one ending on a note of divine justice. Songs also feature edgy ex-cops and war vets, but Go-Go Boots also features some of DBT's most beautiful tracks yet. The speaker in"The Thanksgiving Filter" has plenty of gratitude for family, but even more for distance from them. "Pulaski," the most country-flavored cut, tells the story of a small-town girl whose big dreams take her to California, but ends ambiguously--does the line of cars rumbling down main street in her home town represent a parade or a funeral? It doesn't matter--the beauty in the sadness of missing a home you took for granted is enough to carry the song.
Book-ending and bisecting these tales are the most celebratory tracks the Truckers have ever put to tape. "I Do Believe" praises time with a loved-one lost, "Everybody Needs Love", an Eddie Hinton cover, is explained in the title, and "Mercy Buckets" promises to help out a friend no matter the circumstance. This lyrical variety makes this the Truckers most well-rounded album to date.
I tried to avoid buzz-words in this review. I think this band just gets cursory praise from every major publication because a first listen shows they are good, but this album deserves to be dissected. Music has become more of a passing thing in the last few years, something you put on and force yourself to get through before you jump to the next. This is an album that sticks with you if you grab onto it, a late afternoon on the front porch you never want to end.

LAZY COMPARISON: Sounds like The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd and all those bands reviewers lump Drive-By Truckers with instead of taking the time to realize they are dealing with an absolute original, absolutely on par with the two previously-mentioned bands.

2011 ATO
1. I Do Believe 3:31
2. Go-Go Boots 5:36
3. Dancin' Ricky 3:26
4. Cartoon Gold 3:13
5. Ray's Automatic Weapon 4:25
6. Everybody Needs Love 4:35
7. Assholes 4:39
8. The Weakest Man 3:19
9. Used to Be a Cop 7:03
10. The Fireplace Poker 8:14
11. Where's Eddie 3:01
12. The Thanksgiving Filter 5:34
13. Pulaski 4:24
14. Mercy Buckets 5:24


buck09 said...

Love the Truckers as you know from Decoy. Sorry for flooding your blog with comments today. I don't know if you get emails notifying you of comments or not, but anyways, have you seen their documentary The Secret to a Happy Ending?

These guys truly are something special and I am touched by their music even not being anywhere remotely near the South. I've gotten many friends turned onto these guys over the last couple years including my pops.

Used to Be A Cop is a highlight on this one for me, but overall its a fantastic album.

Nicholas said...

Hey, no problem. The more comments the better.
Sadly, I haven't seen the documentary, which is doubly sad considering they are easily one of my favorite bands. It is great to hear how much you like them because as a Southernor I've always felt that while I can easily identify with the music, it seems pretty universal, too.
I love "Used to Be A Cop." The stretch of songs from that one all the way to the end is one of my favorites by DBT, though Brighter Than Creation's Dark is by far my favorite album by them. They have so many now, though. Any favorites?

buck09 said...

I've got favorite songs off of most of their albums, but honestly I seldom sit down and listen to their albums by themselves, I've got playlists with them on their and I just get random songs on shuffle, which is how I listen to a lot of music since the invention of the ipod and playlist creation. So its hard for me to pick a favorite album. Hell, thats because they're all so good.

I guess one that is a sleeper album probably with most fans that I really love is The Fine Print. For some reason I really dig that album, especially the Isbell song, When the Well Runs Dry.

I still listen to them on a regular basis and I go through phases with favorites. Currently Mike Cooley songs have taken their toll on me. Songs like Gravity is Gone, Zip/Space City, When The Pin Hits the Shell are classic Trucker songs for good reason. Recently I was really drawn to Cottonseed, which previously had slipped my radar. Its such a bad ass, outlaw/tough guy song!

I strongly recommend you check out the documentary, you can purchase it on the Truckers website or on Amazon:
I got mine as soon as I new it was out directly from their website. You being the fan that you are probably won't see too much you already didn't know but its also a great introduction to the band for someone just getting into the band or for someone who appreciates good music.

I don't understand why more music enthusiast aren't immediately drawn to the Truckers.

Nicholas said...

It's interesting that you mentioned The Fine Print. It works great when the songs come up on random, as you said, but as a whole, it's disappointing. Then again, it is supposed to be odds and ends anyway, so it really isn't supposed to fit together.
Cooley is great and seems to get better with age. "Ghost to Most" is my favorite by him. "Cottonseed" does make me want to beat someone down, even though it is a chill song.
I don't know why all this band's albums aren't platinum. All I can think is that some people can't take the vocals, but they are missing out on so much.

buck09 said...

I think your right about the vocals. I burned like a 3 disc greatest hits CD for my parents when they came to visit and my dad loves them but my mom mentioned exactly that about the vocals. Most people are all about vocals, which to me is a whole different style of music. But if they all sounded like Carrie Underwood I'm sure they would be platinum. Even without the American Idol exposure.

Cooley and Isbell really don't have bad vocals if you break it down. Either way they have so much soul. Mick Jagger isn't known for his vocals is he? I think they have done pretty well for themselves at this point in time so I guess it's almost better they don't go platinum cause then I would probably find something I didn't like about them. I seriously could use a Cooley solo record....

Nicholas said...

A Cooley solo record might rip apart the fabric of space-time with its awesomeness.