Old 97’s

Wreck Your Life: The Complete Bloodshot Recordings

Before Rhett Miller’s visage became pinup material, or the Old 97’s fully gave into their Britpop urges, the Dallas quartet was cranking out countrified punk tunes on an indie label that cranked out countrified punk records. The band and Bloodshot have long since parted ways, both emerging unscathed from the ill-fated “alt-country” movement of the early-’90s. While the Old 97’s later output did retain some of that outlaw-country twang, 1995’s Wreck Your Life is arguably the band’s best and most raucous outing. To celebrate 15 years, Bloodshot has reissued the album and everything the band recorded for the label—including various 7-inches and rarities—on double-vinyl. The remastering is nothing to write home about; then again the recordings are already plenty loud and gritty. Songs like “The Other Shoe” and “Doreen” comfortably sidle up to Bill Monroe’s “My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin’” and a gorgeous rendition of The Knitters’ “Cryin’ But My Tears Are Far Away.” Alt-country didn’t last because it became boring. This collection is a good reminder that the Old 97’s are still around because they always sounded like they were having a lot more fun than everybody else.