Hitchhike to Rhome (Omnivore)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Jan. 23, 2015
Los Angeles reissue specialists Omnivore did such justice to Old 97's masterpiece Too Far to Care, it's no surprise they've now revamped the Dallas quartet's 1994 debut. In fact, Hitchhike to Rhome's upgrade triumphs all around. Remastered, the original 16 tracks – songs still in the band's repertoire ("Dancing With Tears," "Doreen," "4 Leaf Clover") – sound better than ever. A second disc of rarities then makes the package a must for even casual fans. Included are four songs from the group's original demo, plus eight more unreleased cuts recorded during the Hitchhike sessions such as early versions of "Victoria" and "Eyes for You." A couple of them come across as tentative, but there's a beauty in that rawness, which broadcasts the Old 97's early spirit faultlessly.