Imagine if Flannery O’Connor had opted for electric guitar instead of a pen and paper. Add a healthy disrespect for polite society and a fondness for fast cars and Steve McQueen, and ya got Patterson Hood, the ringleader of Athens’ Drive-By Truckers. Hood writes songs about wife beaters, the overcrowding of hell with politicians, and the romance of his mother and a truck driver – “momma ran off with a trucker/ Peterbilt, Peterbilt” (“18 Wheels of Love”). Add it all up and you have one of the best albums of 1998 — cocky country played with the heart of a punk band. From snotty — “Buttholeville,” which depicts the horrors of small-town claustrophobia — to human in “The Living Bubba,” Hood’s respectful farewell to his friend Gregory Dean Smalley, leader of Atlanta’s “Redneck Underground,” who died a few years back from AIDS. Guitarist Mike Cooley penned “Panties in Your Purse,” a dandy snapshot of a woman we all know (or did), that “one-time somebody” who is now looking back inside of ahead. The band rocks and twangs hard-core, and the record is a faithful sample of the Truckers “take no shit, prisoners, or excuses” attitude that is truly best experienced in person. If you’re in the mood for something rude, suck down a sixer and crank up Gangstabilly . It will cleanse your soul.
Soul Dump Records, P.O Box 667, Athens, GA 30603