I picked up Govt Mules new release today and have been exploring the depths of the cd since about 5:00 pm. For those not familiar with this band, it is comprised of a group of veteran blues masters, with much history and mileage amongst them. However, dont expect to hear a lone dobro while some creaky voice squeaks about a black cat moan; these boys play modern, rock based electric blues, and this bunch has an extraordinarily diverse and creative range of selections to offer on this release. The everpresent Warren Haynes on guitar is still teamed up with percussion maestro Matt Abts on drums, and Danny Louis still sits behind the Hammond B3 organ and electric piano as he has done with this group for the last year or so. New to the mix is bassist Andy Hess, who was finally chosen to take the place of deceased bassman Allan Woody, and makes his Mule debut with this release. Old Mule followers such as myself were anxious to see who would take the place of Woody, but there was no need for worry the best, most inventive blues players in the world wouldnt pick up some schmo to troll around on the bottom, and Hess proves through this release that hes no disappointment.
The album, comprised of all new original numbers, kicks off with Warren laying down a strong, strut inducing foundation lick for Bad Man Walking, which is immediately followed with a slow, mystical, unusually timed 7/8 blues number titled About To Rage . As with prior Mule recordings, song selection is often arranged to accentuate the alterations of emotion of the numbers, and this cd is no exception. As a 3 pops up on the player indicator panel, the listener is surrounded by the familiar tone of a Les Paul being slightly overdriven through a Soldano tube head, and Warrens wah-wah pedal takes center stage as the powerful, funky Perfect Shelter oozes and builds out of the system, and then transitions into a 6/8 traditional Mule number entitled Little Toy Brain, which is quite reminiscent of the Dose cds Towering Fool. Other highlights of the album include Wine and Blood, a well written lyrical endeavor, Slackjaw Jezebel, a traditional 4/4 dance oriented blues-rocker that can pack a floor, and my favorite thus far, My Separate Reality, an utterly depressing, gut wrenching blues masterpiece that would toss even Richard Simmons into the depths of despair.
This album lacks the driving rock selections that are present in earlier Mule work, but it is apparent that a great deal of time was spent writing and perfecting the deeper selections found therein as well as developing a feel for their new bass man. If youre interested in hearing what the best blues rockers are turning out these days, this cd is a must buy.
In the whiskey hours
I sit mourning
But the morning brings no consolation,
Sun is rising-sky is yawning,
But the new day brings no celebration