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Diesel Doug and the Long Haul Truckers

An Angel, Not a Saint – 1997 (Sad Bird)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Diesel Doug and the Long Haul Truckers

Expectations are a funny thing. One would probably expect a band from Maine called Diesel Doug and the Long Haul Truckers to, well, sound more like what one would sort of expect a band playing trucker country to sound like.

By roots-rock standards, the Long Haul Truckers have a solid approach; part circa-'70 Stones and part '70's-vintage outlaw country. Tracks like "Not Much to Say" and the title track, in particular, benefit greatly from the Keith Richards-influenced lead guitar work of Charlie Gaylord and the pedal steel guitar work of Cartwright Thompson. The problem is the group sounds a little polite when compared to a swaggering Dave Dudley record of yore. Lead vocalist/guitarist Scott "Diesel Doug" Link, in particular, wouldn't do himself any harm by dropping his vocals about an octave on occasion if this is the sort of image that he plans on using.

To be fair, there are a few songs here that meet musical expectations ("Wicked Ways" and "18 Wheels of Love"), but the general results are more like what you would expect from a promising alt.country band playing at being truckers than four guys who stay up late trying to pick up WWKB's broadcasts of "The Road Gang" out of Buffalo. Still, there's promise here, particularly if the band can more seamlessly meld their music and their image in the future. (Sad Bird Music, P.O. Box 10558, Portland, Maine 04104)