Double Barrel – Old No. 8
Now here's a juicy little album. Somewhere between
the alt-country leanings of the Kudzu Kings and
tongue-in-cheek ramblings of Ween, lies Old No. Eight.
Old No. Eight is the kind of band you might expect to
hear playing the local husking bee on Friday night.
Well, that is, if the folks in your town typically
shuck corn while they drink moonshine and smoke
I'm not joking. Not even close.
In fact, after listening to the entire double-live
album Double Barrel, I was firmly convinced that if
Hank Williams Jr's illegitimate children formed a
band, this would be it.
And I mean that as a sincere compliment.
It's hard to tell much about band members Charlie
Pierce (bass, keys), Andy Levenberg (guitar, bass),
Brian Koehler (guitar, harmonica), Pat Buzby (drums),
and Charlie King (lap steel, everything else) from
just reading the liner notes. There's no real
indication of whose singing the lead vocals on most of
the songs, but when the band opens the album with a
medley that starts off with the tune "C'mon Let's Do
Some Blow," does it really matter? I must admit
the songs on the second disc of the set are much more
subdued in general, but by the time the average
listener has heard the first, they will either
make it there or they won't.
"Theresa's Song" is introduced to the live crowd
as being about "a girl that's in the audience right
now." That's all very heartwarming, just like
something Oteil would do at one of his solo shows.
Well, maybe until the part when they get to the "let's
smoke crack" line. The band has hit its stride by
this point and segues smoothly into "Wait Until
Tomorrow" and its thoughtful proclamation "you're
the only thing I've got goin' babe, so I'm gonna get
drunk tonight. You're just a small time junkie. I',
just a big time fool. I hope and I pray that loving
this way, I don't end up like you."
The album continues at a fever pitch, slowing only
momentarily to croon a swing-low gospel ballad about
Eve being the downfall of Biblical Adam before the
band jams out near the end (complete with a "Green
Acres" riff) and launches into "Livin' Low." That
one continues the boot-stompin', snare-pounding
country beat, complete with a "3rd Stone From the Sun"
bass reference before transitioning back into the
"Blow Reprise." Although that marks an end to
the wild ride that begins the album, the songs that
follow show more versatility from the band.
"Goliath" showcases the band playing a Black
Sabbath-styled metal song with deep, dark vocals and
ominous, well-written lyrics. The band sticks a
little closer to its folk-country roots with a cover
of Townes Van Zandt's "Waiting Around To Die."
The end of the first disc and first part of the second
include some noteworthy tracks, with aptly titled
songs such as "Redline Stomp," "Alimony
Song," and "Country Pride." But the rather
subtle, straight ahead rock and country themes are
hard to get as excited about as the more rowdy,
satirical tunes that assault the listener in the
Fortunately, the band recognizes where its strengths
lie. They close the album with a hard-driving anthem
that is "another song for the president." And "what
is the chorus to that song?" one might ask. Why,
"Uncle Sam is gonna suck my cock," of course. How
else would a band like this close out their
double-live album? It seems undeniably appropriate.
All joking aside, the band does have clever, if not
inoffensive, lyrics throughout the album and solid
command of their instruments to boot. This album is
well worth checking out for music fans with a
wide-open sense of humor and thirst for original, and
I mean truly original rock and country music.