Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drive by Truckers - Back to basics with an album of "maelstrom" rock
4.5 stars

They say the whole is the sum of the parts but it didn't quite feel like that on the last Drive by Truckers album "Brighter Than Creations Dark". Don't get me wrong it was a great record indeed it is genetically impossible for this band to record a bad album. But the departure of Jason Isbell clearly led to a band "rethink" and some passing doubt. It...
Published on 13 Mar 2010 by Red on Black

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a classic
After "Brighter than creation's dark, this was eagerly awaited. "Brighter" has stood the test of time for me to be one of the classic Americana/Country rock albums ever. Sadly The big to do is good but not as great. there is no song of the class of "Bob" or "I'm sorry huston" etc etc. The big difference is when DBT decide to really rock out, as they have on some previous...
Published on 12 April 2010 by Kevin Brennan


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drive by Truckers - Back to basics with an album of "maelstrom" rock, 13 Mar 2010
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
4.5 stars

They say the whole is the sum of the parts but it didn't quite feel like that on the last Drive by Truckers album "Brighter Than Creations Dark". Don't get me wrong it was a great record indeed it is genetically impossible for this band to record a bad album. But the departure of Jason Isbell clearly led to a band "rethink" and some passing doubt. It was to her eternal credit that Shonna Tucker stepped up to the plate not least of all with wonderful songs like "The Purgatory Line" and "I'm sorry Houston". The album also contained contributions from nearly all other band members including Patterson Hood's blistering "The Man I shot" a song which contains so much "attack" it could destroy armies.

The latter song could be a template for the new album since when it comes to the "Big to do", it is the out and out rock dimension of the DBTs that is not such much at the fore but actually pressing its nose two inches from your face and blowing smoke up your nostrils! This feels more like a bespoke vehicle for Hood and Mike Cooley, and it is an angry, brutal and dark assault that still manages to combine the fine ear for melody that is the DBTs trademark. "The Flying Wallendas" for example is a poignant, aching ballad with a pronounced slide guitar in the background (albeit concluding with a blistering guitar solo). The same goes for Cooley's gentle "Eyes like glue". But you should note that both of these songs come at the end of the album and by that time you will need some respite!

Prior to this with the have probably the greatest ode to dead end employment in "This f-ing Job" with a riff so loud that it should concern the local environmental health department. Other instant classics include the opener "Daddy learned to fly" the story of a departed father and a child's confused bemusement. Domestic disharmony is regular staple of DBT themes and the song is effortless. It is followed by Hood's woeful tale of a an extended "lost weekend" the "Fourth Night of my Drinking" a much darker and powerful variant in comparison to the Southern Rock Opera's earlier "Dead drunk and naked". Cooley then returns to vocal duties with probably the joint best song on the album "Birthday boy", it will undoubtedly form part of the encore at their storming live gigs.

Look I could go on but you know the score by now, one hard rocking anthem after the other follows the best being "Drag the lake Charlie" "Get downtown" and the storming "After the scene dies". Indeed it is why I cant quite give the album 5 stars since with the departure of Isbell some of the light and shade has gone from the band. Nevertheless a small complaint and immediately addressed by "Santa Fe" which is undoubtedly one of the best songs they have ever recorded, a stirring alt country ballad with a huge vocal from Hood and brilliant lyrics.

I have reflected elsewhere on Amazon that the DBTs are one of the best bands on this planet. What we here is an enormous album packed with boogie heavy Southern rock by a band that is such a potent force that many of their peers can only gasp in wonder and worry will they ever be this good.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DBTs turn it up to 11, 4 April 2010
By 
J. Jenkins (Dudley Port, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
Drive-By Truckers stated intent on their 8th studio album was to return to thunderous guitars and unreconstructed bar room boogie. Thankfully, even as they channel 70s hard rock the subtlety and intelligence that are their trademarks haven't been sacrificed.

The opening salvo of Daddy Learned to Fly, The Fourth Night of My Drinking and Birthday Boy are surging, adrenaline pumping rockers, but John Neff's lyrical slide playing gives them a gradual, evolving melodicism. The riffs on After The Scene Dies and This ... Job could level houses and the band's Crazy Horse style jamming is electrifying. The band's playing as a group lends this album some of it's strongest aspect, particularly in the case of a song like You Got Another, where they take what could be a slight Shonna Tucker composition and elevate it to brilliance.

The Big to Do also offers further proof, if any were needed, that both Hood and Cooley have matured into some of our finest lyricists, taking the same subject matter that might have been played for tar black guffaws on their first couple of albums and elevating it to almost unbearable levels of pathos on songs like The Wig He Made Her Wear and the aforementioned Fourth Night of My Drinking.

Many people find the sheer quantity of a typical DBTs album to be a little much, but for me at their best they seem able to churn out classics like a rock n roll production line working overtime. Sprawling epics like Decoration Day and Brighter Than Creation's Dark don't contain a single song I don't enjoy. In fact, I thought BTCD represented a peak for the band, despite continual bleating about the absence of Jason Isbell, (a man who contributed a grand total of 8 songs to the band's albums before last year's odds and sods round up The Fine Print).

It seems a little odd then that this considerably more concise offering contains a slightly lesser hit to miss ratio for me. Eyes Like Glue, which should be a perfect vehicle for Cooley's salty wisdom, leaves me surprisingly unmoved. Sata Fe seems a little anonymous, and Someday It's Gonna Be I Told You So is kind of just ok. Of course, the band have actually recorded even more songs than usual this time out. The rest will be released on the forthcoming Go-Go Boots, which sounds like it should show another side of the Truckers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top!, 5 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
Ok, so it's not the Dirty South, which possibly can never be bettered, nor Southern Rock Opera, which runs it a close second, but The Big To Do is a great album.

Any bunch of tracks that includes the The Fourth Night of my Drinking, the Flying Wallendas and the amazing The Wig He Made Her Wear, deserves nothing less than five stars. These snippets of American life, short stories set to music, are wonderful, clever, apposite.

As for the sound. I was someone who retrieved an old Dansette from the loft to listen to punk singles back in the seventies. Music should be listened to the way the groups intend us to hear it. These days the tendency to bland things out to the best digital possibility does some music no favours. I love the roughness of this album. It is vibrant and vigorous and complements the songs perfectly.

Forget what you've heard by them before. Listen to it fresh. It is a superb piece of work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drive-By Chuggers, 19 Mar 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
It's hard to argue with the premise that the Drive-By Truckers are one of the best bands around at the moment. They deliver good old-fashioned rock in the southern style with a sharp literate edge to their lyrics. The Big To Do is their second studio outing since the departure of Jason Isbell, and although the band has regrouped and consolidated its line-up, that departure is still apparent and the band's sound melodically the poorer for it.

The songs this time are heavy on lyrics by Patterson Hood, music being credited to the band as a whole. 'Birthday Boy', a Mike Cooley song is the best thing on the album, ('Which one's the birthday boy she said, I ain't got all night') with 'After The Scene Dies' being a close contender, but Shonna Tucker's falsetto on 'You Got Another' strikes something of a discordant note. There is a tendency for some of these songs to chug along aimlessly, 'The Wig He Made Her Wear' being a particular culprit, but the lyrics are always on the button and shot through with the Trucker's customary mordant wit - 'This F***ing Job' and 'Drag The Lake Charlie' being prime examples.

Other reviewers have suggested that The Big To Do is the best thing the DBTs have produced so far. It's not quite that good in my view, but the bar has been set so high by previous albums that expectations are now unreasonably high. There's nothing duff in the band's entire catalogue let's face it, and although The Big To Do has a tendency to chug along on auto pilot in parts, it is yet another worthwhile addition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album, 24 Mar 2010
By 
Steve Keen "therealus" (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
One of the places on this earth I would be reluctant to inhabit is a DBT song. In the past they've been the scenes of homicides, suicides, arson, bombings and the most dysfunctional families imaginable.

The songs on The Big To-Do are no exception, where the denizens may expect to be prematurely orphaned, the object of a lake dragging, or victim in a fatal circus accident. That's aside from the pain of heartbreak, the perils of adolescence and the drudgery of work.

After the slightly more evenly distributed songwriting duties of the last couple of albums, this one is Patterson Hood heavy - eight of his to three by Cooley and two by Tucker - and the record opens by Hood personally delivering on his warning that this is a more rock-oriented set, with robust drums and cords and the wailing guitars on a previously undisclosed "Sirens" setting. In this song a boy has just lost his father, and I wondered if it might be the same one in the opening track on Brighter Than Creation's Dark.

One of the sources of all the mayhem in DBT songs is toxic substances, and track two, another by Hood, adds to the list. The Fourth Night Of My Drinking is in measures tragic and comic, but mostly tragic, as the subject sinks ever deeper into an alcoholic quagmire. The comic touch is exemplified by one of those lines we've come to expect from the author: "On the second night of my drinking I was looking for my car/ And as luck would have it I found it parked outside my favourite bar." Classic.

Cooley's first song, Birthday Boy, introduces a hard-bitten, cynical hooker to a young guy trying to lose his cherry. This isn't Belle du Jour romanticising, just Wham Bam Thankyou Man money taking that complements the theme in Jason Isbell's Goddamn Lonely Love from The Dirty South, and also brings to mind Reno from Springsteen's Devils & Dust. Birthday Boy is a well-characterised piece from the Dirt-Road Dylan, and the music's good too, with a good riff and a conclusion that reprises the Sirens setting on the guitars.

The two tracks by bassist Shonna Tucker couldn't be much more different from the three she penned for Brighter. On both her voice is higher pitched. On the first, You Got Another, it's also exceedingly fragile, which goes well with the baby-left-me subject matter. On (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So, on the other hand, the voice is stronger, and the song reminiscent of something by the Ronettes.

Meanwhile, Patterson busies himself in The Wig He Made Her Wear with a preacher's wife who shoots the holy man and legs it across a couple of states. She escapes with a short sentence due to allegations regarding hubbie's bedroom proclivities, although there's a hint of scepticism in Paterson's lyrics that suggest maybe he isn't buying it...

Patterson Hood has trailored The Big To-Do as a rock album more in the mould of Southern Rock Opera, although John Neff's pedal steel, when it's used, anchors some of the material to the left of the slash in country/rock, and that's particularly noticeable towards the end of the collection as things begin to slow down, with tracks like Hood's Santa Fe and Cooley's Eyes Like Glue. What is noticeable though is the variety of musical moods and subject matter evident here, and it's different again from what's gone before - in Get Downtown, also by Cooley, a topical song about unemployment and concomitant family frictions, there's a tiny hint in the riff of Shut Up And Get On The Plane from Rock Opera, the only time I even came close to thinking I'd been here before musically.

What is familiar, however, is DBT's unremitting dedication to capturing the darker side of life and wrapping it in an entertaining package. Another great album. Thirteen tracks to keep you singing in the shower, though watch for the twitch behind the curtain.

If you'd told me four years ago that The Dirty South would still be wedged in the in-car player I'm not sure I'd have believed you. Come back to me in 2014 to discover the fate of The Big To-Do. That will be the real test!

Finally, I can't not mention the cover art - more great zombie illustrations by Wes Freed - and the inclusion of the lyrics in the accompanying booklet, always welcome.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Contender for album of the year, 1 Aug 2010
By 
steve "Management" (Tring, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big To Do [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Tis is a cracking album. The full range of DBT stylings are on display. Workin' This Job and Birthday Boy are both excellent single choices. Charlie Drag The Lake is like Elvis Costello's Watching The Detectives as writ by the protagonists and You Got Another is the sound of a broken heart made song. The only criticism I have comes from the fact this is the band's gazillionth album. They've perfected their formula. But on tracks like The Flying Wallenda's and Daddy Learned To Fly it sounds a little too well used. Does every album they put out need a Daddy Track, A Drinking Track and a Storyteller Americana Track? They're good at what they do. No matter how many times they do it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a classic, 12 April 2010
By 
Kevin Brennan (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
After "Brighter than creation's dark, this was eagerly awaited. "Brighter" has stood the test of time for me to be one of the classic Americana/Country rock albums ever. Sadly The big to do is good but not as great. there is no song of the class of "Bob" or "I'm sorry huston" etc etc. The big difference is when DBT decide to really rock out, as they have on some previous albums they become quite ordinary and lose the distinctive sound. They are far better when they strike the balance of a great country band that is rockin up a bit v becoming another indie rock band. Kept playing it, even this morning and whilst like it do not see it growing into classic status.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drive-By Truckers at their very best!!, 6 Mar 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
Drive-By Truckers have an unbelievable consistancy in writing great songs and churning out great records and The Big To-Do might even be their best offering yet! The band confessed to learning alot from recording with Booker T and this album see's the band concentrating just as much on the music and melody as the words to great avail.

The album starts with one of my personal favourites 'Daddy Learned to Fly', a song written from a child's perspective who's father has just died. It is a Patterson Hood classic, touching lyrics and a real rocker that just stays in your head. This follows with 'First Night of my Drinking' which seems a little like the Hold Steady especially with the repetition of lines towards the end. Next up is 'Birthday Boy' which Cooley wrote right at the end of the recording for the album, it is magic and I can't describe the words to do it justice - just listen for yourself!! Throughout the album there isn't really a weak song, those that don't hit hard on first listen continue to grow.

The album slows down a little towards the end with 'Santa Fe' and 'Eyes Like Glue' another two of my personal favourites especially the former written by Cooley about a man talking to his baby.

This album is fantastic, I cannot recommend it enough! If you a fan of good old rock music with intelligent lyrics this is for you. On the strength of this I can't wait for their next album 'Go Go Boots' due later in the year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Much To-Do About Nothing, 16 Mar 2010
By 
R. T. Clayton "DarceysDad" (the red rose missionary, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
There are people who, if asked to describe me, their first line would be "The Drive-By Truckers fan". DBT are definitely my favourite band of the last decade. I REALLY love 'em . . .
. . . well, based on repeat listens over the last week, so far I REALLY hate this album!

I obviously need to qualify that statement. I don't "hate" it as in one-star-review, stick-the-CD-in-the-used-for-sale-section. I "hate" it in that I think it's a deeply disappointing, shoddy piece of work. After the almost-universal, and i.m.o. richly deserved, praise for Brighter Than Creation's Dark, I really believed DBT were ready for cross-over mega-sales status; all they had to do was stay on that righteous path. (Sorry!) The quality that we got in the well-put-together, high class oddities round-up The Fine Print in the meantime also augured well.

But then the warning bells started ringing: the first song I heard ahead of To-Do's release was This F***ing Job. Hmmm, a bit rough, I thought, and what's with the sweary title, when the F-word isn't even in the lyrics? That's not going to get radio airplay, is it? And talking of the lyrics, was it just me, or had Patterson's usual deftness of touch gone out for a ciggie-break whilst he was writing it: this sounded suspiciously like whining. Ach, never mind, I concluded, I'm sure it'll make sense in the context of the whole album.
Then, I read that the album was going to be full-on rock'n'roll. Well, um, I suppose that's great! After all, Buttholeville, Ronnie & Neil, Aftermath USA, That Man I Shot and particularly the behemoth that is Lookout Mountain are some of my all-time favourite riffs from ANY band, and I go back to the days of waiting for the next Led Zep album to come out. Butbutbut ... that's not going to keep the fans won by BTC'sD, is it? And where will Shonna's voice and John's pedal steel fit into full-on rock'n'roll?

Finally, I read that Patterson Hood called BTC'sD "introverted". UH-OH!!! A-a-a-n-n-d... sure enough, this record certainly explodes outwards, but I've no idea what its intended target is. In fact there's the nub of the problem for me: introverted at least implies that they were looking, albeit inwards. Scattered all over The Big To-Do is evidence that DBT weren't looking in any direction; as a result, this reviewer thinks they've taken their eye off the ball, and let a promising situation get away from them.

Evidence? Muddy production (Jeez, David Barbe, what were you doing, man?!) means I can't tell what's what half the time: this is easily the worst sound on a DBT record since Pizza Deliverance. And inexcusably sloppy with it at times: the leap in sound levels from The Fourth Night... to Birthday Boy is already annoying me so much I want to skip one of them to avoid hearing it. And WHAT ON EARTH has happened to all three singing voices??? Shonna's lead vocal debuts on BTC'sD were just gorgeous; a real diamond find in the country-rock scrublands. Here? (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So is a good vocal, but all I can hear is Brad's snare. The most unforgiveable, criminal betrayal on the whole record is You Got Another: a fantastic, FANTASTIC song, but utterly ruined by Shonna sounding so strained and squeaky that I can't yet bear to load it onto my Walkman. Patterson doesn't fare any better: at least three of the songs don't even sound like him. Shut your eyes and picture Neil Young at his most indignant, but without any rage to back it up: it's not pretty! Even Mike Cooley sounds like he's been dragged up a tone out of his laconic comfort zone. Seriously, it's almost as if the entire album's master tapes were transferred to print a bit too fast.

The Fourth Night Of My Drinking is like a self-pitying, humour-free version of the trad. Seven Drunken Nights, and now that I've got the full album context, yes, Mr.Hood, This F***ing Job is just a whinge, lacking the defiance of Buttholeville, or the social comment of The Righteous Path.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not binning the CD. There are good songs (take a bow, Cooley, they're ALL yours!), good ideas (Drag The Lake, Charlie), some as-ever excellent stories being told (The Wig... & ...Wallendas). If it was anyone other than DBT, I'd probably personally rate it at 3 to 3.5 stars (though I wouldn't have been enthused enough to review it). But dagnabit, it IS Drive-By Truckers, and the transfer from rehearsal room to fans' living room has been so slovenly executed that I'm actually angry at the band for letting the record be released like this. Patterson's liner notes - that there were "no big dramas or [personal-life] whoops going on, so everyone was able to put full attention to building the beast" just add insult to injury.

DBT now indeed have a Big To-Do - prove (to me at least) that this is just a false step, not a wrong turn.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars BACK TO THEIR BEST, 19 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
A great album for DBT. After the poor 'Brighter Than Creations Dark' effort I was worried that they were missing Jason Isbel and may never be as good as they once were. How wrong I am and delighted to be so. This is One of their best albums to date. DBT will always be one of my favourite bands as long as they keep producing excellent material like this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Big To-Do
The Big To-Do by Drive-By Truckers (Audio CD - 2010)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews