Written by: Pat King, Special to CC2K
Someone suggested I review Fifth on the Floor’s album, Dark and Bloody Ground, and I did and, well, I really wish I liked it more. They’re a very good southern rock back. They’re tight and have interesting arrangements. I mean, they’ve got some chops, you know? I guess there’s not a lot of innovation on this album, but that’s okay sometimes. But, still, I only felt about middlin’ about this album.
So, I dunno, what’s the deal? Maybe I’m just getting a little older and drinking songs don’t really do it for me anymore. I guess I’m also not too big a fan of the kind of 70’s classic rock that forms the spine of this stuff.
There were, however, three standout tracks. “On my Way” is definitely a diggable tune. It dials up the country twang and doesn’t emphasize the classic rock elements so much. Sounds a bit like an Allman Brothers tune. “The Fall” is a rare slow song with a bluesy vocal. It’s about a guy’s “honky-tonk angel.”
For me, “Another Day” is the only fully inspired track on the album. It’s a tribute to coalminers and their struggles. It’s about union organizing, union busting, and the lives lost therein. Fifth on the Floor are from Kentucky, so they know what they’re talking about. A steady and soft drum beat provides the rhythm and the mandolin and acoustic guitar playing are top-notch. Combine this with some really impassioned singing and you’ve got a real special track.
But that’s about it. Maybe part of my ambivalence is the amount of songs about drinking and such. I guess I can take or leave these kinds of songs and, besides, a little goes a long way. I have a sort of shrugged-shoulder reaction to Hank III’s constant drug and boozing references and he’s about as good as it gets in this twisted XXX country scene.
I guess that’s really the crux of it. I’m really not into the bar scene or partying anymore, so drinkin’ songs don’t move me too much. But maybe there’s something else too. Country music has always glorified drinking as a sort of last refuge of escape for the working class. For my part, I’m glad that there’s so many songs about the working class in country music. But sometimes country music is just too damn conservative for its own good. Drinking songs only make it easier for working class folk to accept the insane social stratification that discards laborers and the poor like so much bad meat. I like that Fifth on the Floor at least address injustice in their song, “Another Day,” but I kind of wish it didn’t end there.
But I’m biased. And a borderline anarchist. So take that into account. Fifth on the Floor are talented and obviously dig making people happy. I have a feeling they’re absolutely killer live. Like I said, if you’re into southern rock, I think you’ll really get a kick out of these guys. I guess I’m just looking for something else in the music I listen to right now.