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Drive-By Truckers

The Fine Print (A Collection of Oddities and Rarities) 2003-2008 (New West)

Sep. 29, 2009
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From the scuzzy Skynyrd-esque guitars to the dirty Southern mentality and devil-may-care hairdos, the Drive-By Truckers’ charm is all about from-the-hip looseness. Their career has also covered much of Dixie’s wide-open musical spaces, from alt-country and modern hillbilly to straight Allman’s rock. Last year they even made it over to Muscle Shoals. All of the above seems to make them the perfect candidate for a grab-bag collection of outtakes and alternates.

On the first two songs, they go from old-school dobro twang and props to George Jones to Tom Petty’s oft-overlooked Southern anthem “Rebels.” While clarifying along the way that Patterson Hood is no Mr. Petty when it comes to pipes, the tracks traverse the wide lineage coursing through the band’s entire body of work. There’s also the knowing, front-porch smirk of the likes of “Mrs. Claus’ Kimono,” an off-color dirge of the sort you might hear at a Tom Waits Christmas party. And the requisite acoustic tracks—“TVA” and the beautifully picked “Little Pony and the Great Big Horse”—each render up every Southern boy’s reminiscences of blue skies and simple, yes, clichd, life lessons.

They play at any-city bar-band status on “Like a Rolling Stone,” but by the end it’s clear the Truckers are at their authentic best when slumming in wife-beater, cowboy-boots heaven. “Play It All Night Long” is the height of what three guitars, four chords and a whole lot of Southern-fried grease can accomplish. It’s also indicative of how tight and electric the results can be from such a loose, drawling approach.


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