Album reviews

Drive-By Truckers: “Go-Go Boots’’

By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / February 15, 2011

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Apparently, backing up Booker T. Jones and Bettye LaVette put these ferocious Southern rockers in a more contemplative mood. To those soul veterans we say thank you, because “Go-Go Boots’’ is a knockout. The album encompasses a wide range of sounds and emotions swinging from the classic C&W of “The Weakest Man’’ to the smokier soul-country-rock hybrid of the title track, where the guitar slides in like a dangerous stranger at the end of the bar. Two flat-out masterpieces occupy the album’s center. The pulsating “Used to Be a Cop’’ chronicles the tribulations of a fidgety bundle of exposed nerves and broken dreams, done in by his own temperament. As he stews about the loss of his wife, family, job, and probably very soon, his sanity, the song simmers with menace: a needling guitar erupts, probably emulating the noises in his head. On its heels comes the black, made-for-TV tale of “The Fireplace Poker,’’ in which a reverend, regrettably (it turns out) hires some creeps to off his wife. These, and other folks we’re introduced to on “Go-Go Boots’’ make excellent additions to the DBT’s expanding cast of characters.

ESSENTIAL “Used to Be a Cop’’