Drivin’ N Cryin’ – Fly Me Courageous

   1991 Island Records

This album turned off a lot of Drivin’ N Cryin’s core fans, as it was a deliberate step in a harder rocking direction…a far cry from the likes of 1989’s ‘Mystery Road,’ the album containing what is probably DNC’s most well known track “Straight To Hell.”  It didn’t help matters when the long-delayed follow-up, 1993’s ‘Smoke’ turned out to be woefully inferior…easily their weakest album.

Truth be told, though, ‘Fly Me Courageous’ is in my opinion a perfect blend of their more personable and introspective past and a more in-your-face and hard rocking sound that could have made them stars if they would have been able to match the quality of the songs here on subsequent releases.  For there’s not a bad track to be found really, as this stands with The Cult’s mighty ‘Electric’ as prime examples of the pure power and appeal of heads-down no-B.S. guitar/bass/drums rock and roll.

I have to admit, though, that Drivin’ N Cryin’ show more depth than The Cult as the acoustic tracks here – most notably the Dylan-esque “Let’s Go Dancin'” – are just as powerful in their own way as the rockers.  And there’s plenty of rock to sink your teeth into, “Around The Block Again” kicking things off in fine fashion and then immediately going into the comfortably familiar “Chain Reaction” before giving way to the almost-classic title track.

“The Innocent” is powerful and almost prophetic, drawing attention to what is perhaps Drivin’ N Cryin’s unassuming trump card – the almost little-boyish introspective innocence of Kevn Kinney’s vocals.  “Build A Fire” got some deserved video airplay on MTV and “Rush Hour” closes out the disc with a playful riff that showcases Kevn Kinney as a guitarist not without chops.

While this album was a minor hit (mostly regional in the southeast), they were never able to make that next leap into the big time as so many people had predicted they would.  ‘Fly Me Courageous’ is a wonderful rock album very deserving of some serious air guitar action that you know you’re guilty of…but will never admit to.  Guilty as charged.

Rating:  4 out of 5