The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008

The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008

by Drive-By Truckers
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The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008

Eleven years after releasing their first album and eight years after redefining themselves with Southern Rock Opera, the rare concept album whose execution was just as impressive as its ambitions, the Drive-By Truckers have gained a richly deserved reputation as one of the hardest-working and most rewarding rock bands for over a decade. Having cranked out five great albums in seven years, they presumably felt bad about not having a new studio effort for 2009, so they've offered fans not one but two time-honored stopgaps -- a live album (actually an installment in New West's Live from Austin, TX series of live discs drawn from the archives of Austin City Limits), and a collection of outtakes and rare tracks. The Fine Print: A Collection of Outtakes and Rarities brings together a dozen songs that, for a variety of reasons, didn't appear on one of the DBTs' albums, including four covers, alternate versions of two tracks, and a few numbers that didn't fit the pattern of the sets for which they were intended. The oddball Christmas tune "Mrs. Claus' Kimono" is the only tune here that was clearly left behind for reasons of quality (it's an amusing novelty but not much more), though "The Great Car Dealer War" has a hard time capturing the sense of menace that permeates The Dirty South, though it tells its story quite well. While the alternate take of "Goode's Field Road" doesn't match the version that later appeared on Brighter Than Creation's Dark, the re-recording of "Uncle Frank" that appears here rescues the song from the band's flawed debut album, and along with "Little Pony and the Great Big Horse" serves as a reminder that Mike Cooley is truly this group's secret weapon as a vocalist and songwriter. Jason Isbell's "TVA" doesn't really need to be seven minutes long, but it's full of brilliant moments, and along with "When the Well Runs Dry," stands as a reminder of how much he brought to the band before departing for a solo career. The cover of Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long" sounds as gritty as Zevon was reaching for in his original, and Tom T. Hall's "Mama Bake a Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken)" is a brilliant choice for a cover, sounding as sadly pertinent and tragically honest as it did when it was written in the late '60s. And though the world doesn't really need another Bob Dylan cover, the version of "Like a Rolling Stone" that closes this set shows this band full of gifted writers who understand how to approach a great song. Like most odds and ends collections, The Fine Print is uneven and doesn't match the consistent quality of the Drive-By Truckers' usual work, but nearly all of these tracks are too genuinely good to have been left to gather dust, and even the DBTs' scraps can make for a pretty satisfying meal.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/31/2009
Label: New West Records
UPC: 0607396616923
catalogNumber: 6169
Rank: 66656

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Drive-By Truckers   Primary Artist
John Neff   Pedal Steel Guitar
Mike Cooley   Guitar,Vocals
Patterson Hood   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Hi String,Vocal Harmony
Jason Isbell   Guitar,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Wurlitzer
Brad Morgan   Drums
Shonna Tucker   Bass,Vocals

Technical Credits

Tom T. Hall   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Tom Petty   Composer
David Barbe   Producer,Engineer
Kevin Morris   Management
John Neff   Composer
Warren Zevon   Composer
Mike Cooley   Composer
Patterson Hood   Composer
Wes Freed   Artwork,Paintings
Jason Isbell   Composer
Brad Morgan   Composer
Jimmy Nutt   Engineer
Christine Stauder   Management
Shonna Tucker   Composer

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Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
This Alabama band has been around for more than a decade now and I'm amazing at how hardly anybody knows them. A few years ago, they did an album called "Southern Rock Opera", which was about the life, career and deaths of the legendary Southern Rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. That, in itself, should've been enough to give The Drive-By Truckers a gold disc at the very least. Sadly, that didn't happen. But has it stopped them? No-o-oh! More importantly, are they still making great music? Yes! "Fine Print" is a collection of B-sides and outtakes from this group over the last few years and what they have cast aside here has the same remarkable artistry and accessability that Oasis generated when they did the same thing in 1998 with "The Masterplan". With the DBTs, as they are sometimes known, they have assembled a triple guitar assault that sounds what would've happened if Crazy Horse cut their records at Muscle Shouls instead of Neil Young's mobile studio. On this record, they sing of how country singer George Jones survived drinking but almost did not survive a car crash while he was talking on his cell phone, for God's sakes. They also sing of the hopes of Tennesee Valley Authority (or TVA) in creating jobs during the Depression and how it ended up being a greed monger and a destroyer of Southern beauty. Perhaps the best and most chilling song here is "The Great Car Dealer War", inspired by an actual incident where an arsonist was hired by a car dealer to torch his competitor's car lots. Listening to this stuff, you realize that DBT is the thinking-man's Lynyrd Skynyrd. Although it's easy to see these guys labelled as alternative country along with Son Volt or The Jayhawks, for instance. DBT, on the other hand, also knows a good cover tune when they hear it, such as Tom Petty's "Rebels" and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone". However, their blazing version of Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long" (coupled with Zevon's "Ain't That Pretty At All") is one of those songs that is just dying to be heard on some FM rock station somewhere. After all these years, are you still going to make believe you never heard of The Drive-By Truckers? Well, "Fine Print" is a great place to start listening.
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