Old 97's

The Old 97's are an "insurgent country" band from Texas.

The band's official web site is http://www.old97s.com/.

Hitchhike to Rhome

(1994)
  1. St. Ignatius
  2. 504
  3. Drowning in the Days
  4. Miss Molly
  5. Dancing With Tears
  6. 4-Leaf Clover
  7. Wish the Worst
  8. Old 97's Theme
  9. Doreen
  10. Hands Off
  11. Mama Tried
  12. Stoned
  13. If My Heart Was a Car
  14. Desperate Times
  15. Ken's Polka Thing

Mostly pretty good. This album is more country-sounding than most of their other stuff (aside from Early Tracks).

Like a number of bands, the Old 97's rarely have title tracks on their albums and instead often use a phrase from a song as the album title. This album's title was uttered in "Stoned".

"Hidden" song at the very end, "Tupelo County Jail".

"If you've got the Cuervo, honey, I've got the lime!"

Wreck Your Life

(1996)
  1. Victoria
  2. The Other Shoe
  3. Doreen
  4. You Belong to My Heart
  5. Big Brown Eyes
  6. Dressing Room Walls
  7. W-I-F-E
  8. Bel Air
  9. My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin'
  10. Old Familiar Steam
  11. Over the Cliff
  12. Goin', Goin', Gone

Not as good as Hitchhike—a little flat, in fact. Still, there are good songs, like "Over the Cliff" and "The Other Shoe" and a few others.

"Doreen" and "W-I-F-E" on this album were the first two of four re-recordings the band has made of their own songs.

This re-recording of "Doreen" is unnecessarily energetic. The original was a nice, acoustic song with mandolin and banjo.

This re-recording of "W-I-F-E", by contrast, came out better than the original, which was too slow for me, even for a "crying in your whiskey" song.

Was that a Bachman-Turner Overdrive reference in "Bel Air"? Yikes.

Lead guitarist Ken Bethea broke a string at the end of the last track.

Too Far to Care

(1997)

[album cover]

  1. Timebomb
  2. Barrier Reef
  3. Broadway
  4. Salome
  5. W. TX Teardrops
  6. Melt Show
  7. Streets of Where I'm From
  8. Big Brown Eyes
  9. Just Like California
  10. Curtain Calls
  11. Niteclub
  12. House That Used To Be
  13. Four-Leaf Clover

Whoo, man, is this a good one. Buy it. Buy it now.

This album's title is mentioned at the start of "Streets of Where I'm From".

"Big Brown Eyes" is a nearly-identical re-recording of the Wreck Your Life song. Neither version does much for me.

"Four-Leaf Clover" is an excellent re-recording of the Hitchhike track, with guest vocalist Exene Cervenkova from Auntie Christ.

"Timebomb" also appeared in the movie Clay Pigeons and on its soundtrack album. That's how I got into these guys, actually.

"Now I look like I'm a scarecrow/I might as well go on a talk show"

Fight Songs

(1999)
  1. Jagged
  2. Lonely Holiday
  3. Oppenheimer
  4. Indefinitely
  5. What We Talk About
  6. Crash on the Barrelhead
  7. Murder (Or a Heart Attack)
  8. Alone So Far
  9. Busted Afternoon
  10. Nineteen
  11. Let the Idiot Speak
  12. Valentine

Not the greatest. I only like half the tracks. I really like Ken's fuzzy guitar (present on much of the album), though, especially on the first two songs.

"Murder" starts out sounding like it's going to be a Juice Newton song or something. It's pretty good, though. Sounds like it's about a runaway dog or cat.

Early Tracks

(2000)

[album cover]

  1. Ray Charles
  2. Cryin' Drunk
  3. Harold's Super Service
  4. W. I. F. E.
  5. Por Favor
  6. Sound of Running
  7. Eyes for You
  8. Let the Train Blow the Whistle

A collection of, well, early recordings, including three covers.

"Por Favor" and "Eyes for You" are a lot of fun.

This version of "W. I. F. E.", not the one on Wreck Your Life, is the original recording.

"Well, I double-crossed a woman who was two-timin' me!"

Satellite Rides

(2001)
  1. King of All the World
  2. Rollerskate Skinny
  3. Buick City Complex
  4. Bird in a Cage
  5. Up the Devil's Pay
  6. What I Wouldn't Do
  7. Question
  8. Am I Too Late?
  9. Weightless
  10. Can't Get a Line
  11. Designs on You
  12. Book of Poems
  13. Nervous Guy
Bonus disc:
  1. Barrier Reef (live)
  2. Victoria (live)
  3. Nineteen (live)
  4. Timebomb (live)
  5. Valentine (live)
  6. Singular Girl

Back on the right track—this is an excellent album. I like every track, which doesn't happen often for me.

This album's title is part of "In the Satellite Rides a Star" from Drag It Up. Presumably that song was written or recorded for this album.

The bonus CD appeared only with a limited edition of the CD, available when it first went on sale.

"King of All the World" was played during a piece on Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre during a Fox NFL pregame show in 2002.

The opening of "Can't Get a Line" has been used a number of times to accompany the title graphics of video-clip comedy bits on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Drag It Up

(2004)

[album cover]

  1. Won't Be Home
  2. Moonlight
  3. Borrowed Bride
  4. Smokers
  5. Coahuila
  6. Blinding Sheets of Rain
  7. Valium Waltz
  8. In the Satellite Rides a Star
  9. The New Kid
  10. Bloomington
  11. Adelaide
  12. Friends Forever
  13. No Mother

Finally, two strong albums of new material in a row! "Won't Be Home" is especially enjoyable.

This album's title is part of "Smokers".

Ken sings! The song is "Coahuila".

The last track was written for/dedicated to a friend of the band who had recently been killed by a drunk driver.

"I'm sufferin' from a kind of indecision about what I'm gonna watch on television..."

Alive & Wired

(2005)

Disc 1:

  1. Melt Show
  2. The New Kid
  3. Barrier Reef
  4. W. Tx Teardrops
  5. Lonely Holiday
  6. The Villain
  7. King of All the World
  8. Salome
  9. Rollerskate Skinny
  10. The Other Shoe
  11. Coahuila
  12. Iron Road
  13. Wish The Worst
  14. Won't Be Home
  15. Doreen
Disc 2:
  1. Jagged
  2. Designs On You
  3. Curtain Calls
  4. Mama Tried
  5. If My Heart Was a Car
  6. Four Leaf Clover
  7. Stoned
  8. Oppenheimer
  9. Can't Get a Line
  10. Cryin' Drunk
  11. Big Brown Eyes
  12. Murder (Or a Heart Attack)
  13. Smokers
  14. Friends Forever
  15. Time Bomb

Live.


Back to the CD rack

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Jeff Blank <jfb@mr-happy.com>