It's always seemed a shame to me that Jason Isbell and Drive-By Truckers parted company. As good as both still are, neither is as good as they were when they were together.
However, that doesn't take away from how good this record of Isbell and the 400 Unit, playing in Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama in August 2012, is. Five of the songs are legacies of Isbell's time with DBT, such as Decoration Day and TVA, which demonstrate how good he was when he was with them, especially as one of his best songs (in my opinion) Never Gonna Change, doesn't even figure.
But the other originals, such as Tour Of Duty, Dress Blues and particularly Cigarettes And Wine, show he is still able to produce high quality songs on his own.
One of the standouts of the set is the inclusion of a Muscle Shoals-inspired brass section on some of the tracks, one of which is Heart On A String, previously recorded by Candy Staton at the FAME Studios at Muscle Shoals in 1970.
Thus the set moves between styles and textures from rock to soul to country, and caps off with a beautifully faithful rendition of Neil Young's Like A Hurricane.
So, no hesitation giving this top marks, and it shows that what we lost when Isbell left DBT we gained in having extra, still high-class music from him.
Live From Alabama
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, 19 November 2012
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 7.82 x 12.34 x 0.41 cm; 40.82 Grams
- Manufacturer : LIGHTNING ROD RECORDS
- Item Model Number : 25805403
- Original Release Date : 2012
- Label : LIGHTNING ROD RECORDS
- ASIN : B009DVKU2K
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Live album from renowned country outfit Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, featuring covers of George Jackson and Neil Young.
4.8 out of 5
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High-class musicReviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 October 2013
Great live album from one of America's finest songwritersReviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 November 2012
If there's a better album released in 2012 I haven't heard it. This live album recorded in Birmingham Alabama captures Jason Isbell and 400 Unit in fine form. I saw Jason in solo concert earlier this year in London and thought it was one of the finest shows I'd seen in a long time, and his songwriting skills are captured in this album. For fans of Drive by Truckers,Jason performs tracks that he wrote for both the Decoration Day and Dirty South albums, but there are also performances of material from his solo albums including the Americana Music Awards winning track Alabama Pines. The set is bookended by tracks Tour of Duty and Dress Blue both poignant songs about young men sent to fight overseas wars. As an encore Jason offers a rendition of Neil Young's " Like a Hurricane" which caps a truly memorable album.
15 people found this helpful
This is not 'Achy breaky heart'Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 April 2015
Fantastic album. I'd never heard of this artist until I saw a BBC4 Documentary with Whispering Bob about Nashville, which was also very good. That programme had Jason Isbell singing so I took it from there and am very impressed. I - wrongly - assumed C&W was all Billy Ray Cyrus achy breaky crap, but this has changed my opinion. I'll invest in some more of this as well as looking into the Drive By Truckers.
One person found this helpful
Mr. A. W. Riggs
Don't Drive By This Ex-TruckerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 November 2012
Three studio records in Jason Isbell is carving out a career as a Premier singer songwriter of the Americana genre (whatever that is). Live he's even better, highlights include a stunning version of Danko/Manuel and a cover Neil Young's seminal 'Like A Hurricane'. Lasting over 70 minutes this is not to be missed - only grumble where's the DVD !
6 people found this helpful
Absolutely superb Album. Great songs, well recorded. Big soundstage. Classic IsbellReviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 June 2021
Just an absolutely fabulous live album with bags of atmosphere. One of my all time favourites from Isbell (or indeed anyone else for that matter. Really capture the live atmosphere and venue.