Bulldozers and dirt: The best of Patterson Hood

Drive-By Truckers leader offers its grandest concepts, before which songs often fall supine, at worst on their faces too. Yet when he or Mike Cooley (or, briefly, Jason Isbell) married those concepts to riffs and Brad “EZB” Morgan gave them momentum, the results put to shame many of the bands that colleagues and I hailed as The Best of Rock or some such twaddle. Drive-By Truckers rocked, and, if you were that sort of person, you could study their lyric sheets. Knew their territory too — “The Southern Thing,” as he labeled his obsessions in an early song. Still, I wish “Wallace” were faster, the trilogy to Sheriff Buford less unnecessary; he doesn’t valorize him, but he does give the impression that he deserves three songs devoted to him. Grant him this: he could write a title even when the songcraft faltered. Look at them below.

1. “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy” (Decoration Day)
2. “The Righteous Path” (Brighter than Creation’s Dark)
3. “Darkened Flags at the Cusp of Dawn” (American Band)
4. “Tornadoes” (The Dirty South)
5. “Used to Be a Cop” (Go-Go Boots)
6. “Your Daddy Hates Me” (Decoration Day)
7. “The Southern Thing” (Southern Rock Opera)
8. “Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife” (Brighter than Creation’s Dark)
9. “Aftermath USA” (A Blessing and a Curse)
10. “Assholes” (Go-Go Boots)
11. “Sink Hole” (Decoration Day)
12. “The Fourth Night of My Drinking” (The Big To-Do)
13. “Bulldozers and Dirt” (Pizza Deliverance)
14. “The Tough Sell” (Gangstailly)
15. “The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town” (Pizza Deliverance)
16. “Demonic Possession” (Gangstabilly)
17. “I Do Believe” (Go-Go Boots)
18. “Me and Your Crystal Meth” (Brighter Than Creation’s Dark)
19. “Puttin’ People on the Moon” (The Dirty South)
20. “Ray’s Automatic Weapon” (Go-Go Boots)

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