Fred's Country Fried Rock: Blackberry Smoke, “Son of the Bourbon” (2008)

Share this:

Since being signed to Zac Brown’s record label and touring with Brown last year, Atlanta-based Blackberry Smoke is probably a lot better known than they were just a couple of years ago when they released their most recent album Little Piece of Dixie. That record, like much of their music, was in a harder edged Southern-rock style. A year earlier in 2008, though, they released an EP called Honky Tonk Bootlegs, which was mostly acoustic and deeply traditional country. To me, it’s their best record, and this is the centerpiece of it.

“Son of the Bourbon” tells a familiar story in country music. It introduces us to the singer’s mom and dad drinking and partying in New Orleans. The dad “told my mom he loved her while Elvin Bishop played/Daddy’d be the worst mistake my mama ever made,” and you pretty much know where it’s going from there. Yep, as soon as he was born, “daddy up and ran away,” and the rest of the too brief song tells of the tough times he and his mom had while growing up and celebrates a defiantly independent spirit that grew out of the experience.

Musically, the song reminds me a lot of David Allan Coe’s rowdier material in the 1970s. There’s an awful lot of “Long-Haired Redneck” here, and the chorus is a definite sticker. And, I’m sorry, “I’m a son of the bourbon/I’m a son of a bitch” is just a fantastic country music line, especially in the proud, daring-anyone-to-say-anything-about-it way that singer Charlie Starr delivers it.

There are other really good songs on the EP, including another favorite of mine, the moaning steel guitar-driven “Living Hell,” which comes in both clean and explicit flavors. But none of the other tunes quite stack up to “Son of the Bourbon.” Here’s hoping that when they start making records for Brown’s label and getting more exposure, they don’t forget how to play songs like this.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B0059YXM34″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00531U7KY” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips

Latest posts by Fred Phillips (see all)

Share this:
Close