THE DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – GO-GO BOOTS


When I wrote about the new Lucero album last year, I posed the question of whether or not it’s fair for a band to be required to stay within the walls its fans had erected around it. Now admittedly, I am guilty as everyone else when it comes to the Truckers, and I’ll probably never stop comparing everything they release to the trinity of Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day & The Dirty South. That said, I’ve finally accepted that there will never be another one of those albums from the band. Even if they explicitly sat down with the intention of making it, I don’t think it’s even in them anymore. So when the talk of Go-Go Boots started to hit the internet, I didn’t even get excited, and when “Used To Be A Cop” was released, even I was surprised with the amount of indifference I felt towards it.

So imagine my surprise when I got the album and honestly and genuinely liked it.

Go-Go Boots seems to be a mashup of the Truckers sound and the sounds they were making backing Betty Lavette and Booker T. Jones. The band calls it their “country, soul and murder ballads” album. I call it the most exciting thing to come out of the DBT camp since the opening moments of The Dirty South. Perhaps we’re gonna see a rebirth of the band, moving from that Southern rock sound we all knew and loved to a Muscle Shoals country soul band. After listening to Go-Go Boots more times than I’ve listened to Brighter Than Creations Dark, A Blessing and A Curse and The Big To Do combined, I think they could pull it off. Even that track that was initially met with a wall of indifference (“Used To Be A Cop”) has become one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Also, I’d like to address Shonna’s contributions to Go-Go Boots, “Dancin’ Ricky” and “Where’s Eddie”. In the past I’ve been known to say things like, “why in the fuck do they let her sing?” and “Holy crap! Shonna’s songs freaking suck”. So in the interest of fairness I’d like to take a moment to say that Shonna’s songs aren’t bad. While “Dancin’ Ricky” isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I don’t feel the need to hit the skip button with finger breaking force when it plays and, truth be told, “Where’s Eddie” could even be considered a good song. Yup, I said it. And I’m as surprised as you.

Anyhow, the album may or may not be up your alley, but if you are or ever were a Truckers fan you should definitely check it out.

The Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
The Drive-By Truckers – Everybody Needs Love
The Drive-By Truckers – Used To Be A Cop

The Drive-By Truckers’ Official Site, Stream Go-Go Boots, Buy Go-Go Boots

19 thoughts on “THE DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – GO-GO BOOTS”

  1. first listen wasnt too impressed. then i realized that i really really liked everything after the first two songs. so take those away, and you definitely have a super solid record.

  2. It took me 3 listens to fall in love with the album. I agree, it isn’t the Southern Rock anyone fell in love with but it’s a great departure, a soulful and country epic. I am a big fan of Cooley’s tried and true country additions. He needs to make a solo with that sound. Also, Hood has turned into a surprisingly great singer.

  3. this is a very good record, i definitely think this could be a rebirth for the band. my favorite tracks are “assholes” and “fireplace poker.” the song “everybody needs love” is a close third.

  4. I really, really love both Brighter Than Creation’s Dark and The Big To-Do so I was very much looking forward to this one. And I really don’t like it. I could hardly make it through. I will give it another chance one day and hope and pray that it’ll grow on me, but right now it’s a bunch of mediocre songs by Patterson that all kinda sound the same to me, a couple of boring Shonna tunes (and it’s not like I have anything against her in the band, not at all) and a pair of ok covers. Even Cooley’s songs left me kinda cold which hardly ever happens. No, I really didn’t like it. But who knows, maybe in a few weeks I’ll declare it their best work yet.

    But, man, that artwork sucks ass. And the text about Eddie (perhaps the most interesting thing about this release to me) got messed up in the printing – at least in the vinyl edition.

  5. Not to sound like a complete asshole here I’d like to add that I usually LOVE Wes Freed’s artwork. I think they are among the best record covers and insides ever. I just don’t like this one.

  6. I believe its their worst album yet. Pattersons song writing seemed to be forced and phony. Some of the lyrics seem as though he is reading them straight off a script, they aren’t clever or witty at all. The Fire place Poker, and Rays Automatic Weapon are absolutely terrible. The best 4 or 5 songs on this album should have replaced the worst songs from Big to Do and they would have had an alright album. Patterson needs to stop feeling the need to release an album a year and develop a stronger editing hand.

  7. Oh Yeah- I’m an artist myself and personally love Wes freeds work, but this album’s art sucks. Perhaps Wes wasn’t inspired by the album either

  8. You are being way too kind, I think. When I first heard this, I was a bit relieved that they had stopped trying (and failing) at being the rock band they were 5 years ago. But, that said, I still think it sucks. Shonna has had singing lessons, but that doesn’t mean I need to like it. I say (loudly) MEH.

  9. Didn’t like the first listen but gave it a second listen. I think the last 3 songs make the album.

  10. They may be the hardest working band out there these days but this collection seems to feel forced. Cooley’s tracks are great but seem a little too upbeat twangy for the edge of the songs but maybe that’s his mixed contradiction for the songs. Patterson’s own stuff all seems the same lately, like he’s trying too hard to recreate a SRO feel in connecting stories. He seems like he feels forced to put a new record out every year with material that doesn’t meet the standard of previous releases. The musicianship of the six is great and they know their strengths and put together a great attack. Ultimately I feel a little let down with Go Go Boots. I imagine a few of these tracks won’t make the live shows after a few shows.

  11. Rough crowd. I think the album is pretty solid. What the Truckers had become with TBTD and BTCD was a third generation “Southern Rock” one trick poney. I found THOSE albums to be forced. Tons of filler. Like I have said on this site a number of times before (although they dont get any 9B love) Willy Vlautin and the boys from Richmond Fontaine mop the floor with andything the Truckers have ever done…Check ’em out!!

  12. I think you have convinced me to buy the album. After listening to the big to do a total of 2 or 3 times since I bought it the first week it was released, I was not even planning on picking this up. But Brian, I’ll trust your judgement.

  13. When I did my first listen through I was solidly in the camp that hated it. I was even thinking that it might rank in there at the bottom of all their albums. Then, after a break I listened to it a few more times and it is really starting to grow on me, and I am starting to think this might be like my experience with “The Life Aquatic” which is now one of my favorite movies of all time, but one that I almost walked out of the theatre the first time I saw it.

  14. I will say that the initial listen didn’t really inspire repeated spins, but I will give it another shot or two. I don’t think I’ve seen them since right before The Dirty South came out, so I hope they still kick ass live.

  15. I agree with this review. The band has morphed from the big, mean rock band they once were to the R&B band that’s in Patterson’s soul while bringing back some of their country influences from the early records.

    I see most folks comparing them to SRO, Decoration Day, and The Dirty South where they didn’t really show their country side (except for Carl Perkins’) and just stuck to big, anthem rock. Remember, they started off as pretty much a country band that knew how to rock. Now, we see them refining their sound and expanding to show their influences. The Dirt Underneath tour and the Betty Lavette/Booker T records let them explore some new territory and flesh out the band’s sound.

    Also, as an aside about the songwriting, The Fireplace Poker and Pulaski are old songs that pre-date Decoration Day and possibly Southern Rock Opera, and we’ve got two songs by one of the finest soul songwriters ever.

    So far the stand out songs on the album for me are Used To Be A Cop, Pulaski (which I’ve loved for years), Everybody Needs Love, and Mercy Buckets. I’m completely obsessed with Mercy Buckets these days. As a friend said, that one’s up there with A World Of Hurt and The Living Bubba.

    This is easily my favorite album they’ve put out since The Dirty South. It just took a few albums for them to work out the kinks.

    Finally, I saw the Go-Go Boots CD release show here in NYC, and they brought it live. They’ve still got all the energy you came to love when they step on that stage.

  16. After reading through the reviews here yesterday I determined to write my own given the fact that I really dig this record. Scott Holcomb covered everything I could have said above so no need. Excellent take mon!

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