Drive-By Truckers: THE DIRTY SOUTH(Release date: 8/24/04)14 songs, 8 damn good, 2 pretty good, 4 too tawky, and the tawk aint that stimulatin.'(Having a veteran 'llow as how he "never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima" no boffo.) Patterson's the culprit, as always, but more so here. Ideas, or at least topics, or at least *words,* don't lead the music, or follow it either. And that tight dry little cigarette voice, which can/could be effective, kind of in there between mosquito zingers of Eddie Hinton and 5 0'clock-shadow-tonsils of Steve Earle, but here it's closer to not-so-Mighty Mouse (and a cracker-barrel-retiree-Steve E.). Still and yet and yet and still more than compensated for/effectively contrasted by the sinuous writ x performance of Jason and Cooley. Brad's big bass drum, Shonna's bass guitar (and her voice, back there in the mix, but adding good thin sharp edge thereby, *when* audible: I keep listening for it, never taking for granted), also mucho gracias. Best songs are often/always? the "I" of a character yet obviously close to writer's own POV: grim li'l-but-loud victories of A Job Well Done. Doom's tapped & cut by music, which then proceeds to roll out and in (or in and out or in and inner, as the case may be). Supposedly (according to some sources), DECORATION DAY was a "follow-up" to PIZZA DELIVERANCE, this 'un a f.-u.to SOUTHERN ROCK OPERA. And, before I heard about those alleged relationships, was already thinking how several songs from DS would go good on a really deluxe personal burn of SRO. But *way too many* good'uns to fit that, strictly squinting. And I don't have a burner. Final? note on matters raved about below: I guess you could say that Swell Maps' "Read About Seymour"(1:27 track on WANNA BUY A BRIDGE? classic post-punk cusp comp, and Rough Trade's missing if they don't get that back out during current archaeo arc) is "like" what the Homosexuals did, but the 'mo's blew "Seymour" 's germinal up and down the highway of life and (out on a)limb. Drive-by truckers amen.