The Derek Trucks Band
Songlines


4.5
superb

Review

by SgtOzzy USER (1 Reviews)
April 3rd, 2006 | 4 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Songlines is perhaps Derek Trucks Band's most accessible album, trading long winded explorations for catchy, well-constructed songs. This is not to say that they have sold out, because the whole album is full of energy and passion, not to mention all of the jaw-dropping musicianship one would expect from DTB.

The Band:
Derek Trucks - Guitar
Todd Smallie - Bass, Vocals
Yonrico Scott - Drums, Vocals
Kofi Burbridge - Keyboards, Flute, Vocals
Mike Mattison - Vocals
Count M'Butu - Congas

Produced by Jay Joyce

Volunteered Slavery:
For the opener, Derek Trucks Band takes the intro section from the original by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, which has a distictly african feel, and expands on it. The result is a catchy soulful chant with minimal instrumentation and simple, but effective vocals from the whole band. Since Roland Kirk's version eventually lead into a more conventional jazz sound, taking only the intro gives the song a sense of motionless-ness, as though it could go on forever. If it went on any longer, it could get dull, but at only 2:05, it makes a perfect opener. 3.5/5

I'll Find My Way:
With a surprising drum hit at the end of Volunteered Slavery, the band breaks into a catchy funk/soul groove. It is one of the five original pieces on the album, writen by Derek Trucks and producer Jay Joyce. The lyrics are fairly straightforeward - nothing special, but effective in the song. The instrumentals are tight and sound great, but Trcuks' sololing is restrained and out of place, like he's confined within the song. Its not great, but its a well done song that fits well in the album. 3/5

Crow Jane:
DTB's take on the traditional Crow Jane is fantastic. It begins with a funky, jagged blues riff, and the groove doesn't let up throughout the song. Mattison's vocals are amazingly soulful, shifting easily between his elastic falsetto and gritty tenor. The solos on the song, provided by Trucks and Burbridge are concise, but very lively and bluesy. Great song. 4.5/5

Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni:
On this song, Trucks shows his passion for eastern music with the song that has been a favorite at live shows for some time. He uses the bottelneck to replicate the microtonal inflection of the Indian vocal style, originally written by composer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, turning the guitar into another intrument entirely. The tone and vibe throughout the song is amazing, and there is an amazing flute solo. Truck's soloing however, sounds restrained and cautious, never straying far from the melody. I would like to have heard more exploration from the band, but the incredible sound of the song makes it memorable nonetheless. 4.5/5

Chevrolet:
This is the bluesiest song on the album. It begins with Trucks playing nasty, agressive dobro likes over african style rhythms. Vocalist Mike Mattison shows his ability to grunt and wail with all the grit of an old bluesman, and Burbridge punctuates the groove with stabs on the clavinet. Placing this song immediately after Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni was a good move because it shows the two side of DTB - transcendant exploration and in-your-face rock and roll. 4.5/5

Sailing On:
Having covered Africa, India, and the American heartland, DTB draws from yet another corner of the globe with of Fredrick "Toots" Hibbert's reggae/gospel classic. This song is well done with some great vocals and Hammond organ, but the sometimes overly dense production fills up the space with noise, diluting the reggae groove. Its a plesant song, but not much about it stands out. 3/5

Revolution:
This is the second original on the album, written by producer Jay Joyce. Its a traditional rock song with a simple verse, chorus, bridge structure and straightforeward lyrics. The simplicity of the song doesn't hold it back because of the sheer energy of the band's delivery. No jazzy improvization or world beats here, just a great rock song with song firey riffing by the band and Joyce's simple but memorable writing. 4/5

I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled And Crazy:
Another great funk/soul song that shows off the band's ability to hold down an infectious, dancable groove. Mattison's singing is wonderfully soulful and the rhythmic play between Smallie's thumping bass and Burbridge's jagged clav as fantastic. About halfway through the song, however, trades his smoothe electric slide work for the pounding dobro heard on Chevrolet. Its unexpected, but it adds a lot to the groove of the song. 5/5

All I Do:
Written by the whole band, All I Do is another funky groove song in the same vein as I'll Find My Way and the previous song. Again, the band's groove and instrumentation is incredible, and perhaps for the first time on the album, it feels like they have really let loose on the solos. Trucks and Burbridge shoot through different styles and grooves during the mid-song jam and again on the unusual outro, in which Trucks plays shocking outside lines over a dark, jagged groove. The angular playing sounds a little out of place in the context of the song, but its nice to hear the band in full jam mode. 4.5/5

Mahjoun:
This is a simple instrumental written by Trucks alone. It has a fairly catchy rhythm and a disticly asian melody. Towards the end, there are even some jazzy chord chenges, but the song never seems to go anywhere. Perhaps the band could refine it in the future, but on this album, it sound like more of a sketch than a completed song. 2.5/5

I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)
This is a great gospel-influenced song that really showcases Mattison's vocals. The organ playing and Trucks' tastefully economic slide work really fit the traditional gospel feel. The song builds to an invigorating climax and is simply a lot of fun to listen to. Not much else to be said about it. 4.5/5

This Sky
The closer is a strikingly Dave Matthews-esque slow world-beat ballad. Theres nothing really special about it, but its very peaceful and has a nice sound. Its easy to get lost in this song, because it tends to lull you into a trace. It's rather dull, and the lyrics are somewhat trite, but it makes a good closer and ties up the whole album well. 3/5

Songlines is a fanastic album full of vibrant energy and life. The songs are well constructed and catchy and the playing is always both soulful and impressive. The only drawback to the album is the curse that inevitably strikes jam bands know for their live shows: studio recordings simply can't capture the freedom of improvisation and spontaneousness that these bands base their sound on. With that said, this album does a much better job than most, because it doesn't try to capture their improvisation, it simply showcases their liveliness and transcendant playing within the structure of the songs. Songlines is a great introduction to the band and a phenomenal record all around.

Key Tracks:
Crow Jane
Sahib teri Bandi/Maki Madni
Chevrolet
I'd Rather Be Blind Crippled and Crazy
All I Do


user ratings (26)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
April 3rd 2006


3243 Comments


ZOMG, my name's Derek!

SgtOzzy
April 6th 2006


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Somebody has to have heard this album.

Jayontai
October 26th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hands down the greatest slide guitar player today...killer album!

Emyay
March 6th 2014


6010 Comments


came here bc of that blues list someone made. pretty good stuff. can't really see myself listening much but not bad



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