VINYL BIN TREASURES
Although there are many reissue records being released, and hell, most of the labels are releasing new albums on vinyl as well, much of the romance of rummaging through the vinyl bins at your favorite vendor (psst, VERTIGO rules) is hunting for the elusive record you haven’t been able to find for years. One such record I have been searching for for awhile now is the 1997 release, Must’ve Been High by Supersuckers. Every time I travel anywhere, I have my trusty list, and I make a concerted effort to hit as many record stores as I can. This gem has alluded me. In this day of the reissue, it doesn’t look this fucker is anywhere near making it’s way back – so the used bin hunt continues.
The songs are seared into my memory not unlike cattle being branded for sale. Not only did these rockers put out a country record, they put out a really fucking good country record that stands strong in the genre. The playing on this beauty is filled with all the necessary chops of a classic country and western album. There’s twang, heartbreak, snare brushes, broken acoustic guitars, and pedal steel – aw sweet pedal steel. What stand this record outside the norm are the lyrics. With an album called Must’ve Been High, what else you expect. Songs like Barricade, a ballad rejoicing the safety barrier between the band and the audience, and Roamin’ Round, which plays on that lonely traveler (the feel of the song actually makes me feel like I’m a horse, slowly drifting from one saloon to another) that you get from many classic sad country songs. One song after another, this record is steeped with classics. Eddie Spaghetti isn’t the greatest vocalist out there, but his deep voice fits perfectly here. When the album gets to Hungover Together, the true classic is born. What’s more Country and Western than a song about waking up with someone who you may or may not remember being with, realizing your head is pounding and you want to die. Having the song be a duo with Kelley Deal from The Breeders only makes it that much more brilliant. And, there’s not much more sad sounding than the wail of a pedal steel played slowly. This has always been the stand-out track on this record for me. Just to prove that whatever genre of music you may play, the scum and bullshit is all the same, The Captain tells a tale of a fuckhead in the business that feels the need to mess with your sound out of ego. That shit happens all the time, unfortunately. One Cigarette Away always sends me into a dream of those awesome and ugly nights when I’d end up stumbling down my lonely street at 4 am, never really feeling like I’m getting any closer to my bed, begging for either sleep or death. The mandolin in this track brings a little tear to my eye. The instrumentation of the final track, Hangliders, fits so nicely to cap this sweet record off. If you wait long enough – you get the hidden track Supersuckers Drive-By Blues, which is much more like their heavier stuff.
In the end, this is one of my favorite country records of all time. Yeah, yeah, they aren’t one of the classic Country and Western acts, but this record stands up with many of them, and in a day and age when bullshit New Country fills the airwaves, it is refreshing to know that there is still a pile of respect for that classic country sound. It saddens me that I haven’t been able to find it while flipping through the bins of my favorite record shops, but I hear there are few record conventions happening pretty soon, so fingers crossed. Here are a few tracks, in case you don’t already know about this gem.