The Supersuckers were kind of the Americana version of The Cramps-crass, irreverent, but still talented enough to be more than a gimmick. The self-described Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World, have been on hiatus since late 2008. Since that time, lead singer and bassist Eddie Spaghetti has been on three solo albums. His solo work has continued the tradition of The Supersuckers, falling somewhere between Hank III and Kevin Fowler. While it does not have the bite and snarl or Hank III, he doesn't bother with the PG trappings that keep Fowler radio friendly. On his latest, Sundowner, Spaghetti continues the trend with an album heavy on covers and light on indulgence. While this album will never be on anyone's year end top ten list, it does come as a refreshing antidote to the sterility that has invaded contemporary country.
The album starts with “I Never Thought I Would,” its own version of a love song, from a man who doesn't really need love, but is glad it found him just the same. He takes the classic Party Dolls and Wine, covered by both Dean Martin and Red Steagall among others, and turns it into something more akin to Mickey Gilley. He pays homage to lonely truckers with a cover of “Girl on the Billboard.” His cover stays fairly true to the original, but he sings is with his heart in the right place, so to speak. “I hate to see you going where I already been,” he warns on “If You Fall In Love,” one of the albums better tracks about falling in love with the heart breaker in the bar. Spaghetti does a strong cover of The Dwarves' “Everybody's Girl.” He takes a restrained delight in the character of a man who can only fall in love with his friends' girlfriends. Spaghetti takes an almost pretty and melodic vocal turn on his cover of Johnny Cash's “What Do I Care?” “The nights night over, and you're not dead,” Spaghetti sings on the original “Sundowner,” a song that picks up the tempo and the party life themes. As party songs go, this one falls above the average with its joy and encouragement someone who is living a party life not partying himself to death. His cover of Willie Nelson's “Always On My Mind” pays homage to the original, while falling short of that lofty goal. He fares better with “Jesus Never Lived on Mars,” a cover of the Lee Harvey Oswald Band, which follows the same motif as “Jesus Was a Capricorn” and “Jesus: The Missing Years.” “Cowboy Boots” is a tongue in cheek tribute to life on the road and all the of the fun toys it can buy. Spaghetti's portion of the album with the original track Marie, one of the better songs on the album. “It could have been anyone, I wish it had been anyone buy me,” he laments, remembering times spent partying with a friend after he drinks himself to death. The final track on the album is “When Do I Go?” a sharp bit of repetitive garage rock done by Spaghetti's son.
Eddie Spaghetti's Sundowner has the same issue as much of the Supersuckers' best work. It walk the line between genius and parody so well that it becomes difficult to take him seriously. And, in all probability, he does not want to be taken entirely seriously. This is the best part of his album, songs of drinking and adultery that contain neither the furious defiance of Hank III nor the depressing apologies of Tim McGraw. There is a refreshing element in songs about partying that involve grown ups, that are pulled away from small town USA and high school Friday nights. It is enjoyable to hear someone singing so lustfully about doing things wrong. Its something we haven't heard too much of since Mickey Gilley and his peers in the 1970's. While it will never compete for album of the year, Sundowner is an enjoyable collection of songs that fans of drunken-Friday-night country will have fun letting their hair down to.