Drive-By Truckers – Gangstabilly

ARTIST: Drive-By Truckers              220px-Dbt_gangstabilly

TITLE:  Gangstabilly

YEAR RELEASED: 1998

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Living Bubba

LINEUP: Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, John Neff, Adam Howell, Matt Lane, Barry Sell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album by the neo-Southern rock band is a template for their later work, but some of the material needed work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Some of the Drive-By Truckers first album could fit on most of their releases, such as “Wife Beater” and “The Living Bubba”. Patterson Hood’s story-songs, with their rural southern protagonists and anti-heroes, are in full effect here.

The material is a bit more country-ish than later versions, as the pedal-steel of John Neff and Barry Sell’s mandolin had more of a role here. Some of the songs don’t seem as fleshed out, as ear friendly, as their later work. The latter half sounds like a lot of rough drafts here and some songs, especially on that half, linger too long. The production is a bit rougher as well, at times Hood’s rasp gets lost in the music.

However, that’s not to say it’s not an interesting record to hear. About half of it hits, and hits hard, like classic DBT. It was definitely a work of a band-in-progress.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Demonic Posession” was written during Pat Buchanan’s 1996 GOP Convention speech.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-: There’s enough good tracks here to keep it around.

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