Drive-By Truckers - The Big To-Do (Cover Artwork)

Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-DoThe Big To-Do (2010)

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: Mrdogg45Mrdogg45
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Fresh off their 2008 career revitalization album Brighter Than Creation's Dark, the Drive-By Truckers are back with The Big To-Do, an album of beer-swilling classic rock that suggests everything will be OK even when the lyrics remind the opposite. Seriously, if you ignore the lyrics, this is one .
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Fresh off their 2008 career revitalization album Brighter Than Creation's Dark, the Drive-By Truckers are back with The Big To-Do, an album of beer-swilling classic rock that suggests everything will be OK even when the lyrics remind the opposite.

Seriously, if you ignore the lyrics, this is one shit-kicking, good-time record. Classic rock arrangements, complete with Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar solos, pop handclaps and Springsteenian keyboards explode out of the tracks, giving way to images of crowded clubs packed with sweaty, dancing people chugging Bud Light and trying their damndest to have a good time. Half the fun of The Big To-Do is getting to hear the band do its thing: There are too few rock bands left that can play this sort of music, and even fewer that can play it as well as the Drive-By Truckers.

The other half of the fun, however, is in the unfolding of lead Trucker Patterson Hood's tragic stories. Turning his focus from his own personal life (a subject he covered pretty well on Creation's Dark), Hood tells stories of a sexually abused preacher's wife ("The Wig He Made Her Wear"), a boy waiting for his "pilot" father to come home ("Daddy Learned to Fly") and a criminal who better be dead, or else ("Drag the Lake Charlie").

Like all great storytellers, the Truckers succeed in the little details. For example, the excellent "Drag the Lake Charlie" would be a sweet little pop song even without snapshots like this one: "Remember what happened last time Lester went on the make / I heard it took the cleaning crew two weeks to clean the bar / they never found that teenage girl, they never found her car." Dark touches like that one really sell the stories, make them something more than simple pop songs, something closer to actual literature, or at least one-act plays set to the best bar band you've ever heard.

As The Big To-Do unfolds, with its swelling solos and stories of tired strippers and trophy wives, it does tend to run out of steam. Out of the album's 13 tracks, the last three are the weakest. But of the other 10 tracks, no less than seven are dick-swingin', beer chuggin', life-crushingly depressing romps through lower-class America.

Indeed, this music isn't so much about location (Southern rock/Northern rock, whatever) as much as it is about the haves and the have-nots. Right now, there isn't a band alive that understands the struggles of the latter quite like the Drive-By Truckers. There isn't a band around that makes their trials sound more fun.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
hobbzoid (April 3, 2010)

oh and they are boringer than shit live

hobbzoid (April 3, 2010)


hobbzoid (April 3, 2010)

why the fuck would you listen to a record and "ignore the lyrics"?

It's called fucking songwriting champ.

ozmanx (April 3, 2010)

oh that's right, they were on Fallon. Watched the performance again and still didn't enjoy it. Probably just the show though.

Spooky (April 2, 2010)

Another solid release from these guys. Decoration Day still remains my all-time favorite but it's nice to see them changing their sound a little. Saw the end of one of their sets at SXSW which was pretty awesome.

danperrone (April 2, 2010)

probably their second weakest effort just ahead of blessing and a curse. no songs really stuck except the amazing "birthday boy". i think brighter than creation's dark was miles better than this. big let down for me.

slymer (April 2, 2010)

"Birthday Boy" was great on Fallon

ozmanx (April 2, 2010)

These guys came on Leno and weren't very good.

preston (April 2, 2010)

It's awesome.

colbyord (April 2, 2010)

I've enjoyed this one quite a bit, but Isbell is certainly missed. I just saw him play live a few weeks ago, check out http://www.youtube.com/colbyord to see some videos of him doing some trucker's songs acoustically.

slymer (April 2, 2010)

This is a slight step down from "Brighter Than Creations Dark". I will still buy anything these guys put out. I agree with the previous poster that Cooley needs to sing lead on a few more songs. I always look forward to his contributions. "Birthday Boy" is the highlight track on the album for me. The Dirty South/Decoration day are still my two favorite DBT albums.

jumpkid_638 (April 2, 2010)

While not their best, this album is top notch.

Babrook (April 2, 2010)

Seeing these guys open for TOM PETTY this summer.

sleepwalker (April 2, 2010)

It's a good album, but just like Creation's it is crippled by the loss of Jason Isbell. The trio of albums DBT made with Isbell are easily their high point. Even sadder is the fact that Isbell's solo records are just barely passable. Also: Mike Cooley needs to sing lead on half of the songs on any given album.

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