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Album: Drive-By-Truckers, Go-Go Boots (Play It Again Sam)

Go-Go Boots is the promised "R&B Murder Ballad Album" recorded concurrently with last year's The Big To-Do, and it's every bit as good as that description suggests.

Except that there are no murders. Instead, the brooding protagonists of songs such as "Ray's Automatic Weapon" and "Used to Be a Cop" are captured on the cusp of catastrophe, at the end of their tether, while the adulterous itch prompted by a dancer's boots in the title-track bristles with portents of recrimination. Their creeping blues arrangements are balanced elsewhere by mordantly bathetic country anthems like "The Weakest Man" and "Cartoon Gold" ("I'm not good with numbers, I just count on knowin' when I've had enough"), and the uplifting, organ-driven country-soul of "Everybody Needs Love": overall, as genial a survey of white-trash tragedy as you'll hear all year.

DOWNLOAD THIS I Do Believe; Used to Be a Cop; Go Go Boots;