February 07, 2022

Drive‐By Truckers - Pizza Deliverance (1999)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Country
Label Number: SDR-003;GM-027

© 1999 Soul Dump/Ghostmeat Records
An Alabama alt-country band puts out an album named Pizza Deliverance -- sounds like a gimmick, right? Another band taking potshots at double-wides, velvet Elvises, and appearances on Cops, riding the ironic white-trash train. Make no mistake, the Drive-By Truckers are white trash by trade. But they're trash with heart, attentive to the South's smaller details without being condescending, sensitive without being sentimental. Behind the greasy, sand-twang vocals, frontman Patterson Hood is a barroom storyteller through and through. And like their debut, Gangstabillythe Truckers' sophomore Pizza Deliverance extends Hood's sensibilities beyond Southern-fried clichés to paint the South in a way that's at once campy and earnest, raunchy and longing and sad. The grassy, acoustic "Box of Spiders," dedicated to Hood's great grandmother, recalls the vague fears, quirks, and possibilities of his childhood while the Old South deteriorates over his shoulder. "Margo and Harold" creeps through an account of a friendship gone quietly awry, replete with doped-up fifty-something couples, unreturned phone calls, known or unknown affairs, awkward dinners, Corvettes, and anti-depressants. But it's not all unspoken tension in the Truckers' South. "Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus)" remains fun and upbeat, with a bit of a pang under the song's mock reprimand. The ballsy, bluesy, seven-minute drink-off "The Company I Keep" promises to be popular with the recently dumped, unemployed, or anyone who can proudly look back on a lifetime of failure. But "Deliverance" closes with what the Truckers do best and wouldn't do again on either Southern Rock Opera or Decoration Day. "The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town" offers five minutes that halt the world in mid-orbit. Pedal steel guitar melts over Hood's account of a boring Memphis evening rescued by a G.G. Allin concert. As the song describes: "He took a sh*t on the stage and started throwing it into the crowd," but it's presented with such ache and desperation that it feels like the one thing standing between Hood and emotional crisis, the only path to salvation as "Memphis was sinking into the Mississippi." Whereas Gangstabilly left listeners wanting more and Southern Rock Opera played like an overblown sermon, Pizza Deliverance finds the Drive-By Truckers just where they want to be -- making balls-to-the-wall rock whose only agenda is to tell a story about the South that hasn't been told. Southern rock has found its new voice.

tags: drive by truckers, pizza deliverance, 1999, flac,


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