The Drive-By Truckers have been around since 1996 unfortunately I didn't really start listening to them until this past month. I downloaded a few tracks from different albums that I thought were good but not great. This is the Kazaa conundrum, download songs without getting the feel of the album. As the Gentle Rant said "listening to a jukebox opposed to an album." I am not much into country or alternative-country for that matter. Growing up in Stinktown, the Canadian bastion of country, prevented this from happening, thank god.
I decided after a few more listens to pick up my first full DBT CD The Dirty South. The DBT's have been labeled alternative country because of the lyrics and vocal style of Patterson Hood. I admit that Hood's vocal style may take a little getting used to but it suits the music. While the lyrics and vocals may be a little bit country the guitars aren't. The DBT's can grind and seethe with the best hard rockers. They are more Lynyrd Skynyrd than Kenny Rogers and alternative country is record company labeling at its worst.
The Dirty South is an excellent album from top to bottom. This album is varied with some great southern rock anthems, decent ballads and solid rockers. The Sands of Iwo Jima is an especially strong song about poor southerners being drafted to fight. The song is based on conversations Hood had with his great-uncle who fought in Iwo Jima.
And I thought about that movie,asked if it was that wayAnother great track is The Boys from Alabama which is about running with the Southern Mafia. The Southern Mafia is organized crime in the south where good old boys controlled gambling and alcohol in the South, who have now evolved into running the rural drug trade. Hollywood has tried to show this in the Walking Tall movies. The song has a few good lines:
He just shook his head and smiled at me in such a loving way
As he thought about some friends he will never see again
He said "I never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima"
Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
Better take it like a man
Ain't nobody gonna stick anything up your ass
If you remember who your friends are
We got good help down in Franklin County
They'll hunt you like a dog
You can take your fall or lose it all
The choice is up to you
The Dirty South is a great album. I get more depressed with every listen owing to the facts that I will probably never get to see them live and it took me so long to here a full album. If I lived in Canada I would have seen and heard them years ago. Expect to read more DBT album reviews in the future.
Winamp worthy: Where the Devil Don't Stay, The Day John Henry Died, The Sands of Iwo Jima, The Boys from Alabama, and Lookout Mountain
Rating: Murder 2 (intentional but not premeditated) Penalty 8 - Life; This CD rocks you'll be doing 8 to life if you don't give it a listen.