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'Victims, Enemies & Old Friends'   

-  Label: 'Southern Discipline Recording Company'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '5th October 2010'

Our Rating:
Doc Dailey and his band are from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, one time hit recording capital of the world.

In this neck of the woods Doc's singing voice may well be the norm but to my ears it sounds very weird. That's weird in a good way, I hasten to add. His strong Southern accent means vowels are routinely mangled and words frequently slurred. This can make it hard to catch everything he's singing but this doesn't really matter too much as it's a voice that brings an earthy authenticity to the songs.

If you listen hard, the songs themselves are also crammed full of sharp observations and vivid imagery (and it helps that the lyrics are also printed on the band's website!).

"I'm a pinball full of alcohol" he wails on She's Gonna Leave Me while on Blue-Eyed Blondehe muses: "Who'd have thought a blue-eyed blonde from Muscle Shoals would fill my heart so full of holes".

The short opening track (Prove Me Wrong) contains the poignant line: "If a picture's worth a thousand words, how come I come I keep burning hers" and a few other lyrics that impressed me, show a similar fondness for conditional clauses:
"If you gotta work that hard, it ain't working"(Pray For You);
"If he ain't dead - he's gonna wish he was" (Let Me Down) and "If she never draws the line, she'll get stepped on every time" (Red Tail Lights)

A bold standout track is Let me Down which is like a short story condensed into a six minute song. A woman gets stuck at an snow bound airport, decides to cut her losses and take a taxi home, when she finally arrives the suspicions of her cheating man are confirmed and she turns around and goes back where she came from. A cool touch with this song, and also on Red Tail Lights, is that the sympathies lie with the wronged woman rather than the philandering male.

As for the music. The fourteen songs may not be chest beating macho anthems but the album can be summarised in two words: It rocks.

The six piece band have obviously honed their live sound to a point where studio overdubs would be an unnecessary designer accessory. Theirs is the kind a raw, no frills electric Alt.Country sound that needs no polished production to hit the mark.

There's the merest hint of reverb on Doc's voice, for that hollering at the moon effect used so well by Jim James on early My Morning Jacket albums.

Any additional instrumentation is used sparingly but effectively, like the fiddle on 'Til Death Do Us Part or the string parts on the title track.

All in all, an impressive record.

It may not be pretty, but it's pretty effective.

Doc Dailey Online
  author: Martin Raybould

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DOC DAILEY & MAGNOLIA DEVIL - Victims, Enemies & Old Friends