The Fine Print (A Collection Of Oddities and Rarities
By Micah McLain
Although the Drive-By
Truckers have made seven critically-acclaimed albums over the last 13
years, they have yet to properly release a collection of tracks that didn't make
the final album cuts – until today. When one of the hardest working rock bands
in the country puts together this type of collection, you would hope that they
wouldn't simply pull together a bunch of scraps out of an obligation to their
label – and this is definitely not what DBT has done with The Fine Print.
The band went back into the studio to put the finishing touches on each track
before deeming it worthy of release. The album collects eight original tunes and
four cover songs with seven of the 12 tracks coming from the especially
productive The Dirty South sessions. Every aspect of the band is
represented in this collection; from rowdy country rock to detailed, emotional
stories of the South.
The Truckers make Tom Petty's "Rebels" sound like
it's been theirs all along, with Patterson Hood's vocals pushing the pace amid
the epic guitars and thumping percussion. DBT honors another legendary
singer/songwriter by including their take on Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night
Long." This is another song that blends perfectly with the band's musical
aesthetic and writing style as Hood and company turn up the guitars and and belt
out passionate, unadulterated lyrics such as "There ain't much to country living/Sweat, piss, jizz and blood." Hood also contributes a harder, faster (and
better) version of Brighter Than Creation's Dark's "Goode's Field Road"
and unreleased, pedal steel-filled original "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone
Blues." Mike Cooley is also represented in the collection, although not nearly
as well as one would expect. Cooley offers an excellent, fleshed-out studio
version of "Uncle Frank" from Pizza Deliverance and the bare acoustic
fable "Little Pony and The Great Big Horse."
Two of former Trucker Jason
Isbell's songs get a proper release with the down tempo "When the Well Runs Dry"
and a reminiscent account of the Tennessee Valley Authority created by the New
Deal in "TVA." Each of the four vocalists in the band come together for the
final track: an honest and fairly straightforward cover of Bob Dylan's "Like a
Rolling Stone." Hood, Shonna Tucker (in her first ever lead vocal performance on
a DBT recording), Isbell and Cooley each take a verse of the possibly perfected
classic track before everyone joins in for the final chorus.
Print is the rare oddities/rarities collection that is both a crucial
addition to the hard core fan's library as well as an excellent starting point
for those who have yet to invest in anything by this increasingly legendary