Review Summary: A step back in the right direction...
Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
Dave Matthews Band
• Carter Beauford – drums, vocals
• Stefan Lessard – bass
• Dave Matthews – acoustic and electric guitars, lead vocals
• LeRoi Moore – saxophone
• Boyd Tinsley – electric violin, violin
• Tim Reynolds – electric guitar
• Jeff Coffin – saxophone
• Rashawn Ross – trumpet
• Danny Barnes - banjo
1. "Grux" – 1:11
2. "Shake Me Like a Monkey" – 4:00
3. "Funny the Way It Is" – 4:28
4. "Lying in the Hands of God" – 5:40
5. "Why I Am" – 3:53
6. "Dive In" – 4:26
7. "Spaceman" – 4:08
8. "Squirm" - 5:32
9. "Alligator Pie (Cockadile)" – 3:59
10. "Seven" – 4:17
11. "Time Bomb" – 3:59
12. "My Baby Blue" – 3:41
13. "You and Me" – 4:52
Since Everyday Dave Matthews Band tried a new approach to their music: less jams and simple song structure. The quality of their album went downhill with only a couple of song being really amazing. This time the band brings back their old friend Tim Reynolds. Tim has been a session member on classic albums like Before These Crowded Streets, Crash and Under the Table and Dreaming. This is also the first album after the tragic death of their former saxophonist Leroy Moore. The Band used his last contribution on some of the songs on Big Whiskey.
The first Thing that pops in your head when you first hear Big Whiskey and The Groogrux King is the summer vibe of the album. You’ll also notice that Carter is grooving like a machine behind his drums which is something he haven’t done on Stand Up. Shake Me Like a monkey will be a high energy opener for their live shows and it’s probably their best song in a while. Dave Matthews’s vocals are always amazing. Seven vocal performances is amazingly fun with the horns in the back.
In general the album is a step back in the right direction. The album contains lots of DMB classic approach song and amazing singles potential. The only thing which is missing is the ghost presence of Boyd Tinsley. There’s not a lot of violin on the album. Some of the songs could have jam section which should have been amazing but the band decided to keep it simple. This album with not changed the world of music but this is a solid record from one of the biggest band on the planet.
Track by track
Grux: A short saxophone solo introduction by Leroy Moore. The rest of the band plays quietly in the back. This intro works well for me. It’s a nice warming up for the next song.
Shake Me Like a Monkey: An amazing high grooving song. The song is really reminiscent of Word Up. The horns work is pretty amazing there. The song is about good sex basically. ‘’Do you know how it feels to feel the light of love inside you, and all the darkness falls away, if you feel the way I feel then I believe will find the answer that we’re searching for tonight’’. An Instant DMB classic.
Funny The Way It is: The first single of the album. The song is amazingly catchy. It starts with a nice guitar work by Tim Reynolds which also plays a nice solo at the end. Amazing drumming again by Carter Beauford on this one. The song seems to be about the irony of life. ‘’Funny The Way It Is if you think about it, there’s someone going hungry while someone is eating out’’.
Lying in the Hand of God: This is one of the best songs of the album. Overall this song is slow but has this hypnotizing feels. The chorus is calm and relaxing. Nice work by Tim Reynolds again but this time on the acoustic. Jeff Coffin is also amazing is the back with some nice horns work.
Why I Am: Another fun songs. This was the favourite one of Leroy from that recording session. Starts with a short chord progression and then go into a solid fun rock riff. The song is short but works really well. I would have enjoyed a violin solo in there.
Dive In: This is another song with a summer vibe. It starts with some piano work. It’s one of my personal favourite of the album. It’s a peaceful song with one of best chorus of the album.
Spaceman: This song is probably the weakest of the album but still a good song. It’s a mellow piece with a nice chorus but the verses miss something for me. Nice banjo playing by Barnes in this.
Squirm: The most original song of the album. It’s an intense song with orchestra. The ‘’Drum beats louder’’ part is pretty amazing. Every band member playing is amazing in that song. This is the most epic song of the album. The chorus is really powerful with the orchestra.
Alligator Pie: For a few second this song reminds me of Bayou but after a couple of seconds the song gets better. This one has a southern feels and some nice drumming by Carter Beauford again. I bet this would sound amazing live with some jams added.
Seven: Starts with a guitar riff that sound 70’s. The vocal there is so amazing. Dave is using his high pitch voice in the verse. This is one of the funniest and happiest songs of the album. Tim Reynolds is shining there with some nice electric guitar work.
Time Bomb: A progressive building song. Starts really slow then go into a hard rocking part. There’s banjo work in the intro. The melody of the vocals is one of the best of the record. The song explodes in the middle with a riff coming out of nowhere and then repeats the chorus with an intense vibe. Dave’s voice is getting pretty hard there. An interesting song.
My Baby Blue: This is the beautiful ballad on Big Whiskey. This song used to be called ‘’Sister’’ but the band play it faster now and changed the lyrics. Some orchestra works in the back add to the dramatic side of the song. It could have been interesting if the song was building up into something more intense.
You and Me: This song sound like it’s coming from the Lillywhite sessions. A good song but doesn’t have the closing song potential. I would have put Squirm or Time Bomb instead.
-Carter is back behind is drums
-Not enough violins
-Songs could have been longer with jams section
-Grux/Shake Me Like a Monkey
-Funny The Way it Is
-Why I Am
-Lying In The Hand Of God