16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
DBT have raided the archives for this one, resurrecting a bunch of tracks for which earlier releases lacked sufficient space. Since it arrived, I've hardly stopped playing it. Making up for lost time.
The collection bursts into being with the lively George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues, a country-flavoured thrash about the celebrated singer's demise which also serves as a warning to all those budding Jack Bauers amongst you, as Jones wraps his car round a pylon mid cellphone call and rejoins Tammy for another duet. In turns funny and sad, it's a great opener.
The first of four covers follows. Instantly recognisable as a Tom Petty number, Rebels is an angry song about the other side of the Civil War - we have to remember that there was, and probably is, a whole load of justifiable resentment of the northern states in the south which had nothing to do with abolition, and that's what's addressed here. Later on, Tom Hall's Mama Bake A Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken) is a real lump in the throat number, about a soldier returning home in a wheelchair. Warren Zevon's Play It All Night Long gets an airing towards the end, and like Lucinda Williams covering AC/DC on Little Honey, this one sounds like it was written for the Truckers, famously proud of their Alabama roots, singing an angry, rocking song about their home state. And the closer is Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, which is well delivered, despite Patterson Hood's opinion that this is the very last Dylan song that should be covered. All the singers get a chance to contribute, including Shonna Tucker, and the song is rounded off with a singalongaBob chorus, with everyone singing together.
TVA, in the great American tradition of turning geography into poetry, is the first reminder of why I miss Jason Isbell. It's a beautifully delivered song featuring dancing raccoons and terrapins, young love, and heartfelt thanks for FDR's TVA. When was the last time you heard a song in praise of an economic rescue package? Reckon there'll ever be a song about Quantitative Easing?
The other reminder of Isbell's capabilities, When The Well Runs Dry, also a powerful song, looks like it was inspiration for the picture on the cover, which heralds the welcome return of Wes Reed's zombie art after the hiatus of Live From Austin TX. On the inner fold are shown a variety of Reed's DBT concert posters. To die for. The song and the artwork.
Mrs Claus' Kimono is a piece of Patterson Hood whimsy, a fantasy song by one of Santa's little helpers about a plot to overthrow the corpulent one himself, aided by a Rudolph angry about the man in red's attentions towards a female reindeer named Winona, conveniently, as it happens, as the name comes in handy when Patterson needs to rhyme. Needless to say, the little helper's motivations are purely carnal...
Two gangsta tracks in the middle of the record kick off with an alternate version of Goode's Field Road, one of the highlights from Brighter Than Creation's Dark. This one's great without quite achieving the dark, menacing and funky heights of the original release. The Great Car Dealer War, however, though lacking some of the funk, has all the darkness and menace you could ask for. Definitely one of the standouts, and that's saying something in a crowded field of standouts. And it would make a great movie.
The other two tracks see Cooley taking the lead. Uncle Frank is another classic. When I first heard it I thought it sounded like Springsteen. Second time it didn't. Dunno how that works, but there you go. Little Pony and the Great Big Horse is a kind of youth versus experience fable. Somehow this one doesn't quite work for me as much as the rest, but it's still good. The only one that only gets four out of five, though. Everything else is at about six out of five.
So far this year the only other album of songs anywhere near as good as this one was, well, Live From Austin. With leftovers like this, how can anyone else compete?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm not just joining the "love in" for this album. I don't pick and choose the albums I write about just to give them 5 stars you know! (try my latest Epica review to prove this) However, this band, this album, is seriously good. Now the Kings of Leon aren't bad, but it is ironic and I think disappointing, that they represent "southern rock" to so many people. Don't get me wrong, the fact that teenagers especially are still "in" to guitar based rock is a wonder for me, but I can't help wishing they were into DBT as well (not even instead of - see how generous I am!)
So if you are a fan, you will buy and enjoy this album, but if you are not, yet, a fan, then still buy this album. You will not regret it
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2009
By rights, Fine Print ought to be a ragbag of odds and ends that don't gel together well and don't quite hit the heights of the band's studio albums. That it isn't, and that it is as fine as anything else the Drive-By Truckers have done in recent years is testament to the band's high quality control threshold .
Culled mainly from The Dirty South era, there are songs written by Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell, as well as some well chosen covers. Of these, Warren Zevon's 'Play It All Night Long' sounds like something the Truckers might have written themselves, spitting more fire and brimstone than Zevon's original. Likewise Tom Petty's 'Rebels', which gets a makeover that knocks spots off The Heartbreakers' version. 'Like A Rolling Stone' gets the full band treatment with vocal credits being taken in turns. As corny as that may sound, it's undoubtedly one of the best of many covers of this particular Dylan masterpiece.
Two of Jason Isbell's finest songs give cause to remember just how much melodic middle ground he brought to the band's sound. The slow-burning 'TVA' and 'When The Well Runs Dry' are amongst the best things here, but there is also a slow and understated menace to 'The Great Car Dealer War' and 'Goode's Field Road'. Only 'Mrs Claus' Kimono' sounds plodding and pedestrian on a first rate set of songs that can do little but add to the Drive-By Truckers' growing reputation. The world needs bands like this - straightforward, old-fashioned rock and roll with a melodic edge. This is as good as anything the band has ever done, and it comes highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2009
Another fine release from the DBT. This compilation of outakes(!)oddities and rarities is almost up there with "The Dirty South". Most of the originals date from those sessions. Particularly pleased to hear Patterson's awesome "The Great Car Dealer War" getting an official release. Patterson & Cooley have written tons of great songs and Isbell wrote his best songs during his tenure with DBT - two of them are here. For me an alternative version of one of Cooley's Holy Trinity (Uncle Frank, One of These Days & Zip City) is worth the price of admission on it's own. The only slight misfire here is the cover of Petty's "Rebels". BUY THIS RECORD.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2009
The truckers have done it again,Even a cd of rarities and oddities are top notch.If you feel a cd of out takes are scraping the barrel and bound to be rubbish,think again just give it a try.This cd includes a great version of Dylan's "Like a rolling stone" and a version of tom petty's "Rebels" that blows the original away.All in all another excellent release by the Truckers,how do they do it?By the way Amazon have this as released on 14/09/ however it is already available to download on a certain well known web site.Do yourself a favour give it a listen.