Govít Mule- Live at Roseland Ballroom
Big name jam bands are pretty much a thing of the past. Phish broke up in 2004. And Jerry Garciaís death really hampered The Grateful Dead. In an age where most music is scripted and very rarely even slightly adjusted for live performance, there are always certain albums that stand out simply due to the amount of emotion that can only come from just playing what you feel, and not looking back.
Govít Mule is a modern day jam band, and Live At Roseland Ballroom
is one of those albums. On this, their sophomore album they pull off some of the most amazing jamming I have heard for a while. Warren Haynes and Allen Woody had a certain chemistry live after playing for 8 years together while they were still in The Allman Brothers Band. (Warren is still part of TABB, But unfortunately Allen passed away in 2000)
The chemistry between these two friends along with drummer Matt Abts shows through on this album VERY well. Studio Govít Mule is one thing, live is a complete new plateau of awesome. On the intro track ďTrane" they simply jam for almost 17 minutes, feeding off of each other constantly and only taking one break roughly midway through the song. And it is really amazing listening to the Haynesí guitar work and thinking, Where is that lick from? And then realizing where it was from.
But then itís time to get down to business, ďTemporary Saint" brings forth some simpler guitar playing on the part of Haynes, but it really shows the power behind his rough, southern voice. This also where the quality is really amazing, most live albums (even ones released by the record labels) donít have quality anywhere near how clear and full this album sounds.
That song is followed by the southern rock masterpiece ďPainted Silver Light". Despite Warren Haynes apologizing in the linear notes for his guitar being out of tune on this song, he had no real need to apologize. The bass on this song is what stands out the most; it sounds a lot of Iron Maidenís Steve Harris. The galloping rhythm is oh so catchy. This song turns in to somewhat of a ballad, frequently just leaving Haynesí voice over the drums. Again, this song has a real crushing feel during the solo, and Warrenís playing is so unique itís almost impossible to compare him to any other player.
Reaching back into their influences, they also perform a cover of Steppenwolfís ďDonít Step On the Grass Sam". If you have never heard the original before, you would have no idea they didnít write it. They definitely put their own unique spin on it, including southern swagger and classy drumming. Itís also mighty hard not to sing along during the chorus line of ďDonít step On the Grass Sam!" which has some sort of walkie talkie effect on vocals, and makes it really stand out.
Itís jam time again! On ďKind of Bird" itís easy to see why people prefer Muleís skilled improv sessions as opposed to their equally skilled songs that are pre-planned. As always during the jam track, Woody is on top of his game providing a bassline that would be good enough on itís own, but the way Hayneís plays guitar over it is simply majestic. You can sense just how much fun they were having simply by listening to the track, and it was this happiness and respect for each other that fueled all of Govít Muleís jams.
They closed off the amazing New Yearís eve show with a song from their self-titled album, ďMule". This is a very Allman brothers-esque song, a high-energy southern rocker. With some sweet slide licks every so often, just as the cherry on top of the already very tasty cake.
Pros- Amazing guitar playing, Bass is tops and Hayneís has a real nice voice
Cons- Some of the non-jam songs sound slightly boring compared to the jammier songs, and the drumming isnít that hot.
ďTrane" and ďKind Of Bird"
4/5 (if this was simply 56 minutes of pure jammage, it would be 5/5)