Out of State Plates
World Will Turn
This reissued, remastered, remixed, and appended Bloodkin’s Out of State Plates revisits the band’s 1999 effort, their third album and the first produced by the near legendary David Barbe. Barbe is the main culprit here as well, as he gained permission from co-founder Eric Carter and the late Daniel Hutchens reprise what has long been considered a breakthrough album of sorts for the band and a dear favorite of the band’s followers. Barbe, known primarily for his enduring work with The Drive-by Truckers, has since produced six Bloodkin and three Hutchens’ solo albums, not5ably the 2021’s terrific Black Market Tango, released just two weeks before Hutchens’ passing. Out of State Plates was one of his first in his Athens, GA based Chase Park Transduction studio and with his experience, and better gear, he not only refreshens the sonics but includes “Sing About Love” and “Morning Chrome” which were not included in the original album and only available until now in the One Long Hustle box set (2013). The album will be available on double vinyl, CD, and digital.
This is the inaugural release for the World Will Turn label, founded by Bloodkin’s manager, Carlson Stokes, a music industry veteran in collaboration with Portland singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph and long-time friend and colleague Anthony Minter.
The original album is renowned for spawning enduring anthems of Southern rock and the plethora of guests who appeared. They include Michael Houser, John Hermann, and Todd Nance of Widespread Panic, Moe Tucker of Velvet Underground, and Dave Blackmon. It was also the first stable Bloodkin lineup with bassist Paul “Crumpy” Edwards and drummer Bentley Rhodes joining Carter and Hutchens, a lineup that stayed intact for several years. Yet, neither are listed in the credits here, which read:
Daniel Hutchens–vocal, guitar, harmonica
Eric Carter–guitar, dobro, backing vocal
David Barbe–keyboards, percussion, backing vocals, guitar, bass
Dave Blackmon–mandolin on “Never In Vain”
John Hermann–keyboards on “Yeah” and “Transfusion (the magic show)”
Michael Houser–electric guitar and mandolin on “Wet Trombone Blues”
Todd Nance–percussion on “Taboo”
William Tonks–dobro on “Lifer”
Moe Tucker–backing vocal on “Lifer”
Jay Wilson–keyboards on “Who Do You Belong To?” and “Something To Say”
The sequencing is just slightly different with hard rockers “Never in Vain” (with Blackmon’s mandolin solo) and “Taboo” opening the album. Fans of Widespread Panic, who still include many Bloodkin songs in their repertoire, and the DBT’s will naturally gravitate to the raw, stomping, guitar heavy. The southern rock sound that these bands share – a thread that also seems to run through almost everything Barbe has ever produced. In very simple terms there are two camps of southern rock bands – the bluesy/jam band type that take their cues from The Allman Brothers and the harder edge/literate songwriting bands like Bloodkin, DBTs, and Blackberry Smoke. A terrific example of songwriting and its attendant weather-related imagery is embedded in “Wet Trombone Blues,” the first song co-written by Hutchens and Carter and positioned at third (further up than the original) in this sequence. It’s a tune that remains a staple, not surprisingly given Houser’s contribution to the original, in Widespread Panic’s set list today. The same is true for the harmonica driven “Who Do You Belong To?” bearing some faint resemblance, to the similarly titled iconic “Who Do You Love?” albeit without the Bo Diddley beat.
The remaining eight tracks find a nice balance between ballads and stomping rockers. “Yeah,” “Little Blinking Lights,” “Morning Chrome” and “Something to Say” are in the former camp with literate gems “Tennessee Williams,” “Transfusion,” “Lifer,” and “Sing About Love” in the latter. Anecdotally, Carter recalls Hutchens asking him to find a “Jimmy Page Sound” in “Sing About Love.” These songs, now 23 years old, sound as fresh as ever and attest to the timeless power of Southern rock, but even more importantly, strong songwriting. If you’re a Bloodkin fan or one who enjoys harder edge/literate songwriting bands, this one’s a keeper.
- Jim Hynes
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