4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Good gosh, put on this CD and you’ll take a journey back in time to approximately 1970-1975.
This release was a breath of fresh air when it came out amidst all the Grunge and Pop and Rap and other diverse musical styles that dominated the mid-’90s and otherwise left me yawning and yearning for the “old stuff.” Here we find excellent musicianship, outstanding blues (ie. whiskey-soaked) vocals, and a heavy, albeit laid-back delivery, that smacks of Robin Trower meets Free (check out the remake of “Mr. Big”!) meets Cream meets Ten Years After meets Savoy Brown only with a more updated/modern production quality.
Very late-1960s/early-1970s-influenced, Gov’t Mule had the balls to issue a back-to-basics release such as this in the midst of yet another musical revolution/generational age gap quagmire of lackluster fare. This CD kicks ass! I knew deep in my heart that the newer members of The Allman Brothers Band were just dying to deliver a punch of straightforward, blues-based rock ‘n’ roll if only given the opportunity…well, they got it, and damn, do they deliver!
Highlights include the exceptional “Painted Silver Light” (the vocals are thunderous), the aforementioned Free cover of “Mr. Big,” as well as “Mother Earth” and “Left Coast Groovies (For FZ).” The track “Trane” also reminds me of early The Allman Brothers Band jams, yet without the countrified influence…more blues based, like the best of the Fillmore East or Eat A Peach days. The addition of the harmonica on “Mule” adds even more “trips down memory lane to the late ’60s/early ’70s” when blues-rock trios stirred the soul. In truth, there’s not a duff track on offer here, so the highlights are extremely difficult to select.
If you’re a fan of the “olden days” when rock trios with minimal production yet tons of grit forged new paths through the music industry, then you’ve gotta love Gov’t Mule.