GOV'T MULE - The Deep End: Vol.1 & Vol.2 & Bonus CD "Hidden Treasures" (2001)
The first of a two-volume set, The Deep End stands as both Gov't Mule's fourth studio album and as a tribute to their late bass player, Allen Woody, who died accidentally in August 2000. To rise above the tragedy, remaining members Warren Haynes and Matt Abts ambitiously and brilliantly recorded each track with a different bass player and guest vocalist or guitarist, many of them favorites of Woody's and all renowned throughout the music world. Cream's Jack Bruce, Bootsy Collins, the Who's John Entwistle, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deep Purple's Roger Glover, and Larry Graham of Graham Central Station are among those lending a hand and there are hints of an equally impressive guest roster for Vol. 2. Gov't Mule elected to continue as a four-piece with the addition of a full-time keyboardist, and the material on The Deep End serves as a great introduction to this new direction. While most tracks are reminiscent of their three previous studio outings, many also take advantage of the expanded instrumental arsenal to stretch out a bit, particularly on "Down and Out in New York City," with its jazzy stylings, and "Sco-Mule," with its classic Santana-esque delivery. Through it all, the distinctive and powerful vocals, guitar playing, and songwriting of the ridiculously talented Haynes ensures that the end result is a cohesive collection of material that will delight fans while bringing many new admirers on board. This second and final installment of the band's ambitious tribute to their late bass player, Allen Woody, concludes what they began with 2001's Vol. 1 namely, to record each track with a different bass player while retaining a cohesive feel to each album. The two are indeed bookends; this second release is by no means comprised of leftover tracks. Rather, so many of Woody's favorite players wanted to be involved that it led to the recording of enough material to fill two full-length CDs. As on Vol. 1, the guest list includes notable players from different genres, such as Les Claypool (Primus), Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix), Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), Meshell N'degeocello, Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica), and Chris Squire (Yes), among others. The intent was to have each guest incorporate their own style into their selected track, while retaining the identifiable sound of the band, and again they have succeeded, especially on the Squire track, "Sun Dance." A notable exception is "Greasy Granny's Gopher Gravy, Pt. 1" which is pretty much transformed into a Primus song by Claypool's distinctive bass and vocal. It's still a worthwhile song, but more enjoyable if you're a fan of his band. Three covers out of 13 tracks Tower of Power's "What Is Hip?," the more obscure "Hammer and Nails," and the traditional "Catfish Blues" fit in smoothly alongside new originals such as "World of Confusion" and "Slow, Happy Boys." After the death of founding member and bass guitarist Allen Woody, the band considered breaking up. Instead, remaining members Warren Haynes and Matt Abts recorded several songs with bass players Woody had admired. So many musicians wanted to participate that the band ended up recording two albums worth of material. Vol 1 was issued in 2001. Originally, The Deep End, Volume 1 was released with a bonus disc called Hidden Treasures which featured live performances by the "New School of Gov't Mule" (Haynes, Abts, bassist Dave Schools, and keyboardist Chuck Leavell).
DISCLAIMER: The music found through this blog is intended for review purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for the original, legal, RIAA approved, record company enriching product. Please note that songs are available for VERY short amount of time. And if you like the music BUY IT. Please support the artists and buy as much as you can directly from them and cut out the middle man.
zinhof [at] gmail.com