Many longtime Drive-By Truckers‘ fans have long speculated about what a Mike Cooley solo album would be like. Going back as far as Southern Rock Opera Cooley’s songs were fewer in number but high in stature. His songs were usually the most poignant on any given album so the thought that if he could ever produce an album full of his own songs it would be legendary. The problem is that the reason he had so few songs per album because he didn’t write many songs per year.
A Fool On Every Corner isn’t exactly the solo album that many of us dreamed of but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s only been in the last few years that Cooley started playing acoustic solo shows and A Fool On Every Corner is a simple document of a couple of those shows.
Since an album like this doesn’t need much of a review my initial idea was to try and ask Cooley 5 questions over email. I mentioned it to AutopsyIV and he passed along a possible email address to reach someone who could reach Cooley. Then I got nervous. It’s Mike fucking Cooley and I was afraid he would trash my questions, that my attempts to be witty or insightful would be met with contempt and ridicule. I have no basis for this thought but in our little scene there are probably few people that are held in the esteem and puzzlement as Mike Cooley. If you own the Alabama Ass Whuppin album listen to the part where Patterson describes what an Alabama ass whuppin’ is, then listen for Cooley’s small part. So I was afraid.
Then I read this article from Pop Matters. The article is incredibly well thought out and written. There are great opinions and insights into Cooley’s music. And there were quotes so good from Cooley that I knew nothing I put together would be as good as this. I’ll leave a great quote below but the whole article is well well well worth your time.
What does he hope his kids will take from their dad’s songs? “Hopefully very little,” and he laughs (that requisite self-deprecation) before narrowing his eyes to consider. “Hopefully they’re having a little trouble relating to it right now. But as they start studying literature and getting into reading more complex stuff, maybe they’ll look and go, ‘Wow, my dad does that.’ You know, maybe make a connection between me and something respectable.” He then follows with a chuckle to take the edge off.
-Jason Leahey, PopMatters.