|Gov’t Mule — Sco–Mule [2CDs]|
Gov’t Mule — Sco–Mule [2CDs]
♦♣♥♠ Rock´s pochodeň Gov’t Mule slaví své 20. výročí rozsáhlým turné a řadou dynamických živých i archivních realizací, které zdůrazňují univerzálnost a epos skupiny, nebojácná/sebevědomá živá vystoupení. Žádné dva Gov’t Mule koncerty si nejsou podobné, kapela totiž čerpá z více než 300 písní ve svém repertoáru (a zpravidla z řady speciálních hostů/Jason Isbell, the Revivalists and Vince Gill, special guests include Col. Bruce Hampton, Jackie Greene, Oteil Burbridge, Jack Pearson, Kevn Kinney and Paul Riddle), dokážou tak pokaždé vytvořit jedinečný zážitek. Jejich neustále se rozšiřující fanouškovská základna ví, že u Mule na ně vždy čeká něco speciálního. Očekávejte neočekávané.
Musíš slyšet: Birth Of The Mule (15:35min)
Location: New York, NY
Album release: January 27, 2015
Record Label: Evil Teen Records
Duration: 77:25 + 76:25 => 153:50
01. Hottentot 11:06
02. Torn Thumb 11:06
03. Doing It To Death 12:08
04. Birth Of The Mule 15:35
05. Sco–Mule 9:17
06. Kind Of Bird 18:13
CD2: (Bonus tracks)
01. Pass The Peas 10:20
02. Devil Likes It Slow 13:03
03. Hottentot (Alternate Version) 11:40
04. Kind Of Bird (Alternate Version) 18:18
05. Afro Blue 23:04
♦♣♥♠ Warren Haynes: guitar;
♦♣♥♠ John Scofield: guitar;
♦♣♥♠ Dr. Dan Matrazzo: keyboards;
♦♣♥♠ Allen Woody: bass;
♦♣♥♠ Matt Abts: drums.
By JOHN KELMAN, Published: January 21, 2015 | Score: ****½
♦♣♥♠ "Since the news came out that Gov't Mule — the power trio that began as a part–time side project for then-Allman Brothers Band guitarist/singer Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody but which, along with drummer Matt Abts, was so well–received that the southern–roots jam band ultimately took on an unexpected life of its own — was finally releasing Sco–Mule, a collaboration with broad–minded jazz guitarist John Scofield, there's been plenty of speculation and anticipation. Now that the live recording is finally here as part of Mule's ambitious release and gig schedule to celebrate two decades together — first held up and then shelved after the harrowing tragedy of Woody's still–unexplained death six months after the group's third studio album, Life Before Insanity, was released in February 2000 — there are only two words that can apply:
♦♣♥♠ There are so many surprises on this two–disc (three if you're one of the people who pre–ordered the release directly from the group), two and a half–hour all– instrumental extravaganza that it's hard to know where to begin.
♦♣♥♠ First, the more–or–less easy part: Scofield had, by this time, already begun building a new fan base in the jam band community with A Go Go (Verve, 1998), the first of what has since become a number of ongoing collaborations with germinal jazz jam band Medeski, Martin & Wood
♦♣♥♠ Medeski, Martin & Wood. Pairing with Mule was a perfect fit; Scofield's blues and soul–drenched version of jazz guitar had separated him from the pack almost from the beginning of his career, when he released the still seminal Live (Enja, 1977), an incendiary date with pianist Richie Beirach. Still, who knew that the guitarist who has, in the ensuing years with his Überjam Band and others, expanded his purview even further, could rock out as he does here...and use his ever–increasing array of stomp pedals to such great effect — in particular on this album's scorching title track? Scofield scratches out a solo that's as close to a turntablist as any guitarist has ever come, while adding unearthly electronic swoops and swirls (with Abts matching him fiery note for fiery note), before digging in even further for an incendiary climax.
♦♣♥♠ Who knew that Abts (who, taken collectively with his Mule buddies, looks more biker than musician, with shoulder–length hair and more tats per square inch than author Ray Bradbury's Illustrated Man) could swing his ass off as he does on two 18–minute versions of "Kind of Bird" that begin in unexpectedly free territory — the song originally written by Haynes with Allman Brothers co–founder Dickey Betts for that group's Shades of Two Worlds (Epic, 1991) — before settling into a positively nuclear rock groove that, driven equally hard by Woody's relentlessly driving eighth–note lines, bolsters yet another stratospheric Scofield solo?
♦♣♥♠ Who knew that Aquarium Rescue Unit keyboardist Dr. Dan Matrazzo had the chops to cut a Latinesque soul–jazz reading of Wayne Shorter's "Tom Thumb" — first heard by Scofield as a bonus track to the guitarist's 1996 Blue Note–era compilation The Best of John Scofield — navigating its more complex chordal constructs with ease during his electric piano solo, or waxing Jan Hammer–like with searing synth work on both versions of A Go Go's "Hottentot" that are included on Sco–Mule?
♦♣♥♠ Who knew that Woody was not just a great electric bassist — the heart and pulse of early Mule — but a kick–ass acoustic one as well, driving the two versions of "Hottentot" with visceral grooves and an upright tone for which plenty of long–term jazzers would give a body part?
♦♣♥♠ And who knew that Haynes — who has already proven himself a guitarist of depth and breadth that goes beyond his rock roots, both in Mule and with the Allman Brothers Band (especially the final incarnation that, teamed with another forward–thinking guitarist, Derek Trucks, just wrapped up its 45th and, sadly, final year by going out on the highest of possible highs) — was so capable of extending beyond the language of rock to bring in even more sophistication than usual...while still knowing how to build epic long–form solos of blues–filled, pyrotechnic proportions?
♦♣♥♠ Sco–Mule isn't a jazz album by any standard definition; it rocks way too hard for that. Still, with Scofield's intuitive way of taking the music ever so slightly out, only to bring it back in again with the kind of effortless aplomb he's developed in a career now entering its fifth decade as the guitarist moves into his mid–sixties, Sco–Mule ain't your typical jam band album either. Instead, it sits somewhere in–between, with everyone forgetting about artificial delineation. Sco–Mule is, quite simply, great songs played by a terrific group that may have been performing live for the first time, but was already imbued with a profound connection that went deeper and broader than any one genre.
♦♣♥♠ Its shortest tune (the nine–minute title track) is the only one that approaches but doesn't comfortably crack the ten–minute mark, with two versions of "Kjnd of Bird" approaching twenty minutes and a bonus version of Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria's often–covered "Afro Blue" approaching a quarter–hour — closing Sco–Mule with an epic jam that demonstrates just how deep (and, no doubt, unexpected) the chemistry between Scofield and Gov't Mule was from the very beginning. Still, there's absolutely no meaningless meandering here, with Haynes, Scofield and Matrazzo constructing long–form solos with such compositional expertise that it's all the more surprising they came out of thin air.
♦♣♥♠ Everyone plays with a sense of purpose and ongoing sound of the unexpected that surely made this as surprising and magical an event for the group as it was thrilling to its audience.
♦♣♥♠ As Gov't Mule hits the road with Scofield for 19 dates, from Seattle to New York and from Columbus to Nashville, it looks like 21st century fans will get the chance to relive what was originally intended to be nothing more than a one–off event with two Georgia shows in the fall of 1999. Allen Woody may no longer be with us, but with this tour — and, in particular, the exhilarating Sco–Mule — his spirit lives on, and other than coming with the warning for even the most intrepid fans of both Gov't Mule and Scofield to enter this 150–minute extravaganza at their own risk, the only other thing that can be said (again) is:
♦♣♥♠ But, then again: maybe we should have."
A l'occasion de la sortie de cet album souvenir, une tournée est prévue avec John Scofield en ce début d'année.
♦♣♥♠ “Before I started playing guitar, I wanted to be a singer, right from the age of five or six. And what I wanted to sing was soul music. My brothers and I had just a handful of albums. First they were the 'Best of' collections by Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin…and eventually albums by the three Kings of the blues, Freddie King, B.B. King and Albert King. In fact, it was hearing B.B. and Freddie that made me realize you could be a great singer and a great guitar player.” MATT ABTS
♦♣♥♠ Matt Abts, 2003 Grammy Nominated drummer, original member of Gov't Mule, first started playing music in high school in Panama before relocating to Virginia where he spent the next eight years playing music regionally in many, many bands before moving to Florida and getting a break playing with Dickey Betts and Chuck Leavell in 1984. DANNY LOUIS
♦♣♥♠ Danny Louis was born in a small Catskill Mountain town, not far from the global music epicenter of Woodstock, N.Y. According to his mom an accomplished opera singer, and his next door neighbor, who was just trying to sleep, Danny was beating on tables, singing complete songs, and banging on pianos even before he could walk. His musical calling, passion for the arts and love of live performing took him far beyond those early performances...
♦♣♥♠ Jorgen Carlsson is a Swedish born and raised multi–instrumentalist, producer/mixer and composer, noted for his work as bassist and member of the band Gov’t Mule since 2008. Carlsson is a founding member of the rock band Planet of the Abts (P.O.A.), working on every creative level of the recording process.
♦♣♥♠ Rock torchbearers Gov’t Mule are celebrating their 20th anniversary with an extensive tour and a series of dynamic live archival releases that highlight the group’s versatility and epic, fearless live performances. No two Gov’t Mule shows are alike, as the band draws on the more than 300 songs in their repertoire (and often a host of special guests) to create a unique experience each and every time. Their steadily expanding fan base knows that the Mule always has something special waiting for them. Expect the unexpected.
♦♣♥♠ The deep chemistry and steely confidence shared by the quartet allow them to tackle any form of music and stamp it their own while remaining true to the spirit and intent of the original. This can of course be heard any time guitarist–singer Warren Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, bassist Jorgen Carlsson and multi–instrumentalist Danny Louis take the stage, but a series of new live archival releases really drives the point home.
♦♣♥♠ The first of the archival releases, Stoned Side of the Mule: Volume 1, captures the Mule on Halloween 2009 ripping through seven impassioned Rolling Stone covers. ♦♣♥♠ This special Record Store Day Black Friday release (out November 28, 2014), available only at select independent record stores, will be available as a limited edition vinyl–only pressing, newly–edited and mastered, with the vinyl lacquers cut from the old Stax Records lathe in Memphis. The release also features special guests Jackie Greene and Steve Elson.
♦♣♥♠ The second archival release, Dark Side of the Mule, will be released on December 9, 2014, and features 90 minutes of Pink Floyd covers recorded during the band’s Halloween 2008 show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, MA. There will be three configurations including a standard version (1–CD), a deluxe version (3–CD/1–DVD package featuring the entire 3–hour performance) and as a double vinyl version. ♦♣♥♠ All configurations feature audio newly–mixed and mastered.
♦♣♥♠ The third release, Dub Side of the Mule, will be released in early 2015 and shines a light on the band’s New Year’s Eve 2006 Beacon Theatre show. Newly–mixed and mastered, it includes a 45–minute set of reggae songs with special guest, reggae legend Toots Hibbert (founder of Toots & The Maytals). This will also be available in three configurations including a standard version (1–CD), a deluxe version (3–CD set of the entire 3–hour performance and one DVD of the Toots set) and a double vinyl version. The release also features special guests Gregg Allman & Friends and John Popper.
♦♣♥♠ On January 2015, fans will finally be able to get their hands and ears on a very special release — the long–awaited SCO–MULE album. In late September of 1999, John Scofield teamed with Gov’t Mule, then featuring original bass player the late Allen Woody, along with keyboardist Dr. Dan Matrazzo, in Georgia for two legendary shows of mind-bending live prowess. Both shows were recorded and included the Mule’s first–ever all–instrumental sets. The band had begun preparing the music for eventual release while working on their third studio album Life Before Insanity. However, less than a year later, their beloved bassist Allen Woody passed away, setting the Mule on a different path. The idea of releasing SCO-MULE came up over the years, but the timing was never as right as it is now — helping to mark Gov’t Mule’s 20th Anniversary. ♦♣♥♠ While Scofield and the Mule did reunite briefly for a set at Warren Haynes’ 25th Annual Christmas Jam in December 2013, fans have been clamoring for the return of the project ever since those lauded 1999 shows, and for more than a decade the Mule have been eager to share the music from these shows through an LP. Now for the first time, fans can experience the SCO–MULE magic first–hand in album form, newly mixed and mastered. The 3–hour all–instrumental album is a jazz romp laced with rock riffs and will be available as a 2–CD set as well as a double vinyl.
♦♣♥♠ Warren Haynes’ unparalleled ability to bring together different musicians into a cohesive whole or to pull off epic musical happenings is one of the many reasons why Haynes stands apart from the many great front men and guitarists who have graced the musical landscape. Combined with his guitar and vocal mastery, these skills have made him an in–demand presence and indispensible musical ally for many. This was shown most recently on Mule’s most collaborative album to date, Shout!, their most recent (and 15th) studio album. The one–of–a–kind project is a double CD featuring two versions of every song — one with Haynes singing and the other featuring a host of guest vocalists, including Dave Matthews, Ben Harper and Elvis Costello.
♦♣♥♠ “Making Shout! a double CD with guests was a cool way to mark our 20th anniversary,” says Haynes. “Each song has it its own personality; it sounds like Gov’t Mule but doesn’t sound like anything we had ever done. The songs cover a lot of the influences that have made Gov’t Mule what we are from the beginning. I think it’s the most diverse record we’ve made. These new archival live releases just further that concept and allow us to highlight some of our influences as well as how far we’ve come since the first album.”
♦♣♥♠ Indeed, it would have been hard for those listening to Gov’t Mule’s self–titled debut, filled with thunderous power trio rumblings of Haynes, bassist Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts, to envision them remaining true to this original vision, while also expanding to include reggae and horn–driven, backup singer–sweetened, classic rock covers by Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, but that’s the tricky feat the band has pulled off, as illustrated by their upcoming live albums.
♦♣♥♠ “I wouldn’t recommend any of these releases as a starting point,” says Haynes. “But I would strongly recommend all of them to anyone who already knows the band. They capture different sides of us and each also features us playing very different sets of our own music as well.”
♦♣♥♠ Gov’t Mule was formed in 1994 when Haynes and bassist Allen Woody were playing in the Allman Brothers Band and talking about their shared passion for old school power trios.
♦♣♥♠ “We were listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, Cream and Free, caught up in the musical freedom they displayed,” says Haynes.
♦♣♥♠ Haynes called up drummer Matt Abts, with whom he had played in the Dickey Betts Band. The band recorded three increasingly ambitious studio albums and performed countless shows before Woody died in August, 2000. After briefly pausing to ponder their next move, Haynes and Abts began recording The Deep End, two CDs featuring guest bassists, ranging from the Who’s John Entwistle to the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh.
♦♣♥♠ “Everything we’ve done collectively has led up to where we are now,” says Haynes. “But those Deep End sessions, and the experience of playing with so many bassists and adapting to different sounds and approaches had a profound effect on Gov’t Mule and what we’ve done since.”
Louis, a longtime collaborator, became a full–time member of Gov’t Mule in 2001, and the group has been a four–piece ever since. Bassist Carlsson has been with the group since 2008, solidifying the lineup.
♦♣♥♠ “I think a lot of the music we’re doing now is very similar to the music we were making in the earliest years with the obvious exception that we are no longer a trio,” says Haynes. “In some ways we’ve come full circle and in other ways it only makes sense if you step back and connect the dots. And that seems right to me. You want to keep growing and you never want to be static, or done changing.”
by Jeff Giles November 20, 2014 8:44 AM
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by Alan Paul | Posted 12/09/2014 at 10:37am |
|Gov’t Mule — Sco–Mule [2CDs]|