I’m starting a wee bit early on the whole Vinyl Sunday celebration in that Kelly has gone to get the child and I have a few minutes on my own to listen to something I am, like, uber-excited to hear, the ‘A Fool On Every Corner‘ album by Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers. Seriously, I have a chubbers just writing that.
At the concert last weekend, I had $25 burning a hole in my pocket trying to decide which Truckers album I was going to walk out with under my arm. I thought I had it narrowed down to the ‘Southern Rock Opera‘ album but, that’s when I spotted it: this album. Since the band’s inception, Mike Cooley has been the Drive-By Truckers understated “other voice”. Already being a huge Patterson Hood fan, I was beyond thrilled to find a solo offering by the other often forgotten Trucker front man, featuring amazing acoustic versions of great tunes like ‘Cottonseed‘, ‘Marry Me‘, ‘Where the Devil Don’t Stay‘, ‘Carl Perkins Cadillac‘, as well as one of my favorite DBT tunes ever, ‘Pulaski‘. The different arrangements of these familiar songs are a welcome addition to the DBT canon.
Recorded over three nights in March of 2012, it finds him alone on stage with only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment. And he went even further in stripping it down, choosing to leave his picks at home and play everything with his fingers. So the formula is simple: a bar stool, an acoustic guitar (and banjo), and Cooley’s syrupy drawl through acute observations of the weird in everyday life. Gotta love it!
If you Google reviews on the albums you will come across lots of criticism of the recording in that it has a lot of crowd noise in the background including howls, laughs, chatting, ‘Yeeee-haw’s!” and, of course, “Fuck yeah’s”. However, in my opinion, this is was actually makes the album special. It’s exactly what you might expect from an up close and personal evening with a Mike Cooley performance, particularly knowing that the whiskey and beer is inevitably flowing like the Mississippi Delta. I mean, seriously, who would go to a performance like this and drink spritzers and communicate only in whispers? Get serious.
Forget the disappointing reviews, the album is absolutely awesome. It stands on it’s own as a fantastic live recording complete with ambiance, sentimentality, and soul. It’s the perfect kick off to “Vinyl Sunday”. On with the show!