Drive-By Truckers’ classic ‘The Dirty South’ getting the “complete” edition the band always intended
Drive-By Truckers have announced The Complete Dirty South, an expanded version of the band's acclaimed 2004 album The Dirty South that's been re-sequenced and stretched out to the 17-song tracklist that DBT had originally proposed for the album. It includes three bonus tracks that were left off the original LP, four remixed songs, and two featuring newly updated vocals. It also includes a 32-page book featuring original and new liner notes written by DBT's Patterson Hood, track-by-track descriptions written by Patterson, Mike Cooley, and then-member Jason Isbell, never-before-seen photos, and updated artwork by the late Wes Freed, who designed the album's original cover as well. The album was remastered by Greg Calbi.
In the liner notes, Patterson writes:
The period from 2002, a few months after we self-released our breakthrough album Southern Rock Opera, through the end of 2005, when we wrapped up The Dirty South Tour, is widely considered to be our band’s glory days. It was certainly exciting… In January of 2004, the label realized that we had a new completed album and were hoping to release it that summer. Not only that, it was to be another double album. They weren’t too happy about any of this. We took their unhappiness as an insult and so it went. In the end, a sort of compromise was reached and New West agreed to release the album and we agreed to shorten it to fit on one CD. The Dirty South came out in August of 2004 to wide acclaim and went on to be the best selling of our albums at the time.
A lot has happened in the nearly twenty years since The Dirty South was released. All of these years later, it is still considered one of our best albums… Shortly after we left (New West), they restructured the label and the source of our turmoil moved on to other things. We are on excellent terms with the powers that be now and we were happy when they reached out to us about the idea of reissuing The Dirty South, enabling us to put out the album the way we had originally intended it to be. We have reconstructed the original sequence and concept as it was conceived. Where possible we preserved the original John Agnello mixes but remixed the bonus tracks and also fixed a couple of vocal issues that I have always regretted about the original version (for purists, those versions still exist out there, but this gave us a chance to present it the way I’ve always wished it could be)… This version finally allows it to be heard and seen the way we had always hoped and intended.
Along with the announcement comes the remixed and remastered "Puttin' People on the Moon," which features new vocals. Patterson says:
I wrote ‘Puttin’ People on the Moon’ in the passenger seat of our van driving through western Tennessee and northern Georgia in late 2003. At the time I was angry about the recently started war in Iraq and the polarization President Bush and his cronies were unleashing on our country, but also drawing a parallel to the policies of President Reagan, who at the time many still viewed as a grandfatherly presence despite his enacting so many policies that had major negative ramifications on our future, a future we’re still living through now. The song was probably the best political song I had ever written at that time and unfortunately is more timely today than it was in 2003.” Hood adds, “We recorded it in Muscle Shoals (in one take) in January 2004, but by the time the record came out, I had already begun to regret the vocal take, which attempted some things I hadn’t yet really learned how to do at that time. As the years have passed, it is one of two on that album that has always really bothered me when I hear it played, while live it has morphed into a truly powerful song for me to sing. When we were given the opportunity to do a ‘Directors Cut’ version of what many consider to be our masterpiece, I wanted to take another stab at that vocal and nailed what I believe to be a definitive version of it in one take. One that truly captures the inherent anger and despair of the song as written and played by the band. The scream at the end might be the most primal recording of my voice anywhere in our catalog and I’m very proud to have this version out there after all these years. The Complete Dirty South might indeed be DBT’s masterpiece.
The Complete Dirty South comes out June 16 via New West. Pre-order it on reposado color vinyl. Listen to the new track and check out the new artwork and tracklist below.
There's also a new HBO documentary on Jason Isbell out now.
1. Where The Devil Don’t Stay
3. The Day John Henry Died
4. Puttin’ People on the Moon (remixed & featuring new vocals)
5. Goode’s Field Road (remixed)
6. Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
8. The Sands of Iwo Jima (remixed & featuring new vocals)
10. The Boys from Alabama
11. The Buford Stick
12. Never Gonna Change
14. The Great Car Dealer War (remixed)
15. Daddy’s Cup
16. Lookout Mountain
17. Goddamn Lonely Love