[5 November 2009]
How’s this for a gimmick: Four Dallas yahoos call themselves Boys Named Sue and play roadhouse crowd-pleasers in beer-soaked classic-country mode. They are: Sue-ah on “lead vocalizin’ and pickin’”, Snakebite Sue on “bangin’ and harmoneez”, Bobby Sue on “sawin’ and lady killin”, and Dub Sue on “slappin’ and drinkin’”. These guys are renowned for facilitating bar bashes in Texas to loyal crowds of hooters and hollerers, and now the band has committed its reverent but goofy blend of outlaw archetypes and alt-country songwriting to a new studio record, The Hits Volume Sue. Thankfully, these guys can write and play well enough to transcend their wisecracking personas, and they aren’t faking their love of ‘70s country, as on “Lost My Mind”, the most Waylon-y song in years. Sue-ah can’t sing well enough to hold his own with his honky-tonk heroes, but that’s hardly the point on songs like “Light Beers Away” and “Whiskey Talkin’”, both catchy and fun sing-alongs that sound better the more you take the band’s advice. The album is front-loaded with the Sues’ best songs and eventually runs out of good ideas, and while a studio release from a party band can’t compete with its shows, this record ought to satisfy folks who still dust off their BR5-49 albums once in a while.