Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dirty Truckers - Second Dose

What happens when one best-of compilation is not enough? You make another! Dirty Truckers, one of 21st Century America's finest roots/country rock and roll bands, were very well represented by the Rum Bar Records collection "Best Of"  a couple years back. But the world demanded more, and Rum Bar has released a sequel called Second Dose. Longtime fans will be familiar with these 10 tracks, some of which date all the way back to the band's 2001 debut album Bush League. You can call this alt-country or Americana if you want. But unlike some of the stuff that gets labeled in such a way, this is real rock and roll!

Singer/guitarist Tom Baker has been an acclaimed performer on the Rum Bar roster both as a solo artist and with his band The Snakes. The success of these projects has definitely created a demand for more of these old Dirty Truckers recordings to be unearthed from the vaults. As deep as "Best Of" went, it was by no means an exhaustive collection of essential Dirty Truckers tracks. Second Dose fills in the gaps. The Replacements-inspired rocker "Feedback" is a top-tier Dirty Truckers number which is appearing for the first time on a physical format. "Back To Back" is the rare country rock song that's authentically country and actually rocks. "Not Missing A Thing" is no-nonsense Stonesy rock and roll that's full of heart and guts. Perhaps my favorite thing about this particular collection is that it's heavy on covers. It's cool to hear Baker and company tip the cap to huge influences like Lyres ("Help You Ann"), Nick Lowe ("Raging Eyes"), and of course The Replacements ("Sixteen Blue"). I love how "Raging Eyes" is transformed into a full-on dive bar ripper. And the "Sixteen Blue" cover is absolutely extraordinary - as the Dirty Truckers re-imagine one of Paul Westerberg's classics as an epic country ballad.

With The Dirty Truckers' original catalog long out of print, the band along with Malibu Lou have really stepped up to get all of this great music back into circulation. The uninitiated should still start with "Best Of", but you'll quickly be lining up for a Second Dose. Both of these discs should be part of any decent bar's re-opening kit. For now, grab a six-pack from the fridge and make your home bar the best in town!


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