Old 97's - Hit By A Train: The Best Of Old 97's
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Hit By A Train: The Best Of Old 97's (Rhino, 2006)

Old 97's

Reviewed by Andy Turner

This 18-track retrospective from Old 97’s is stacked beginning to end with gems from Rhett Miller and company that deserved to be heard by more people. The first four tracks come from the band’s lone full-length on Bloodshot and its debut, “Hitchhike to Rhome” on Big Iron Records. As Robert Christgau declares in his insightful liner notes, the rest come from the Old 97’s “miraculous” five-year stay at Elektra Records.

The band has been mostly ignored by commercial radio, with the band’s toe-dipping tendencies in the oceans of country, pop and rock the likely culprit. But couldabeens from the cowpunk call-to-arms of “Timebomb” to the charming “Valentine,” with bassist Murry Hammond singing lead, abound.

Rarities include a very cool version of “El Paso” from the King of the Hill soundtrack and the Bloodshot single “Cryin’ Drunk,” which was also part of the “Early Tracks” compilation. “Nineteen” and “Barrier Reef” are presented as live tracks from the limited edition bonus disc that accompanied “Satellite Rides.” The songs, from a 1999 performance at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, Cal., are revved up and fun, but perhaps an even earlier show also could have been included to lure hardcore fans. Of course, there are songs missing that could have been here - “W-I-F-E,” “Streets of Where I’m From,” “Indefinitely,” etc. – but all in all, a very well done introduction/refresher.

CDs by Old 97's

Twelfth, 2020 Love the Holidays, 2018 Graveyard Whistle, 2017 Hitchhike to Rhome: 20th Anniversary Reissue, 2014 The Grand Theatre Volume One, 2010 Wreck Your Life ...And Then Some: The Complete Bloodshot Recordings [Limited Edition], 2009 Blame It On Gravity, 2008 Hit By A Train: The Best Of Old 97's, 2006

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