Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Album Review - The Drive By Truckers - Go-Go Boots

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
 The Drive By Truckers
Go-Go Boots
***and1/2 out of *****

Do these guys ever stop putting out solid albums?  2010 saw the Truckers release The Big To-Do which continued their trend of on the fringe storytelling, meaty guitars and seedy character portraits, turns out Go-Go Boots was recorded at the same time only to be released in 2011.  The pattern continues; murder, lowlife’s, humor and songs that just keep flowing into the night only this go around contains a gentler musical touch as the band tried to connect with their Muscle/Shoal roots more deliberately.

At this point in their career the Truckers have eased into this pattern with professional and satisfying results.  The hard rocking is toned down from The Big To-Do, with more slow jams, but they could easily be considered a double album, and a great one at that.  The title track is a slow burning tale of mixed up love that seems real enough that you can reach out and touch those boots through the speakers before "Assholes" discusses a touring band mentality and how being an asshole is sometimes part of the gig and life, yet the music keeps it sounding appealing instead of petty. 

“Used To Be A Cop” puts you in a burnt out flat-foot’s shoes teetering on the edge of exasperation as Patterson Hood continues to expertly portray those desperate on-the-edge loners perfectly.   What sounds a bit jarring at first is his album opener “I Do Believe” which is a simple loving rocker that Tom Petty would kill for.

While Hood’s tracks dominate the record the real eyeopeners come from Mike Cooley who continues to steal the thunder with his fantastic song writing.  This time around “Cartoon Gold” is the shining star with its inventive lyrics, slide strumming and country ease making songwriting sound simple and joyful.  “Pulaski” and “The Weakest Man” are two others that Cooley contributes with southern style reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt in their honesty and storytelling, a perfect foil to Hood’s rawer edge.

The workman like group does it again and will probably keep doing so until they’ve had enough.  The only downside is that there are so many solid songs floating around the same tempo that it can become a bit overwhelming and drawn out.  One needs to be ready to enter the world of the DBT’s; just prepare yourself, dig in, and enjoy a dusty Oldsmobile ride through the current American south, with some pretty fucking great tour guides.             
When I reviewed The Big To-Do last year I made a comparison to The Hold Steady, calling the bands kindred spirits, one Northern one Southern, and that is a pretty spot on and continues with their newest release.  I think both bands would have been huge in the pre-internet "rock Radio" days, I mean what else can one want with great song writers huge guitars and craftsman touch?

This time around for the DBT's the guitars might not be as loud, yet the songs continue to conquer the ear.  I was out of town the last time the band played NYC but I am hoping they swing back one more time before the year ends, I need to catch these guys and gal ASAP.   Here are some tunes for you to check out:

"Cartoon Gold" Solo Acoustic from Mike Cooley:
"Assholes" Live 1/13/2011

 "Go-Go Boots" Live

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