The Old 97’s – Hitchhike to Rhome

ARTIST: The Old 97’s  220px-Old_97s-Hitchhike_To_Rhome
TITLE: Hitchike to Rhome
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They redid a few tracks for later albums.
LINEUP: Ken Bethea, Murry Hammond, Rhett Miller, Phil Peeples.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Texas alt-country band begins their long recording career with an independent album that, coupled with a national tour, started the wags buzzing.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Old 97’s burst out of the gate pretty much fully formed in their vision and what they do. Rhett Miller and company write songs about bad relationships, drinking and other substances, and Texas, in a rockin’ way with country underpinnings – with some acoustic tales of woe from Miller.

About half of this record is great, and most of the great songs familiar, as they recorded some of these tracks later, or played them live and documented them on their live album. They stumble a bit at times (while Hammond loves Mama Tried it’s not his best effort) and a few songs could have trimmed – there are 15 tracks.

Still, it’s a debut album that’s a great introduction to them, and you’ll want to consume your beverage of choice and kick back to it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title comes from the song “Stoned” – which I think is the highlight of the record.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes with a bunch of demos.

GRADE: B: There’s some fluff, but it’s solid.

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