We’re getting back to our roots with a jam-heavy edition of Grousing the Aisles. All four artists featured here love to noodle, each in completely different ways. First up is U-Melt, a band that mixes together more genres than the Bonnaroo lineup. Also featured this week is an amazing compilation of Jerry Garcia covering Van the Man. We follow that up with two of the crispiest shows I’ve ever heard from Gov’t Mule and the Phish. Enough with the small talk — check it out…
U-Melt’s music is all over the place. Within five minutes the band can hit heavy metal riffs, Steely Dan-esque lyrics and poppy melodies. The show featured here is a crispy soundboard from the band’s recent peformance at the Wheel House in Narragansett, RI. One of the segments that you’d only see at a U-Melt show is the scorching Bubblehouse > Boy In A Bubble > Bubblehouse that the band drops early in the show. U-Melt has never run away from their influences, covering the likes of Phish, the Smashing Pumpkins and MMW. Bubblehouse sounds extremely tasty with the addition of some rippin’ guitar.
U-Melt’s epic compositions are the true stars of this March 2007 recording. A Robbins Tale is a well-written tune that’s got a Steely Dan meets ELP vibe. The second set is palindromic in nature, and it’s chock full of some of the best this band has to offer. Kind Insight features Talking Heads-esque vocals with a beat that kinda sounds like Caravan on acid. I think I’ve thrown out enough random band comparisons for one day, so just go check out this show before I run out of ‘em.
Read on after the jump for the rest of this week’s Grousing The Aisles…
I recently came across this amazing collection of Jerry Garcia covering Van Morrison tunes. Check out this e.e. cummings-esque description written by RobbieM, who put together this excellent compilation:
For me, the pantheon is Van and Jerry.
What Van does with his voice, Jerry did with his fingers.
So it seemed only natural to marry the two.
Van never covered Jerry.
But Jerry covered Van.
He only covered five of his songs and much of that was in his later years.
Jerry’s versions seemed somewhat pedestrian at first. They were rather faithful to the originals, not terribly expansive as Jerry was known to be. But listen closer and they’re real Jerry. The artistry. The sense of fun. The passion.
The centerpiece of this set is He Ain’t Give You None. It’s the one song that Jerry covered in distinctly different phases, all of which were notable by the keyboards. There’s the r&b/jazz/funk stylings of the Garcia & Saunders/Legion of Mary years. The understated elegance of the Keith Godchaux years. The gospel of the Melvin Seals years, further enhanced by the additions of the exquisite Gloria Jones and Jackie LaBranch on backing vocals. It was the one song in this collection (and Vanatics will understand when I say this) that Jerry “workshopped.” So I’ve included a version from each phase.
I have a feeling Van fans that aren’t Jerry fans will be disappointed. There will be a tendency to compare the voices. That would be unfair. As Hunter once said, “I thought Jerry had a glorious voice, or maybe I had to to write the songs.” But he did have a glorious voice. What he lacked in range and technique, he made up for with passion and emotion, even in his later years when he croaked through many a show. When Jerry growled or strained, you knew it wasn’t artifice.
So take this for what it is. One musical god paying homage to another. Without comparisons.
320 kbps MP3s: http://www.sendspace.com/file/typdnn
Recently Rock Music Daily started a weekly feature called Mule Mondays. I’m not the biggest Warren fluffer, but I was intrigued by the songs that RMD uploaded this week, so I went and downloaded the whole show. What a great decision that was, as I was blown away by the interplay between the late, great Allen Woody and Warren. For instance, check out the unspoken communication between the two during the St. Stephen jam. These two guys knew exactly where the other was going. Add Matt Abts’ steady and powerful drumming to the mix, and you have one of the finest power trios of the ’90s.
One of the many treats on this recording is a sit-in by Derek Trucks. Trucks, who was 16 at the time, adds some rippin’ guitar work to both Spanish Moon and Gonna Send You Back to Georgia. When I was 16 I was busy playing video games and doing my homework, all while Derek Trucks was playing encores with the Mule at the Georgia Theater. Unbelievable. Also of note is a tasty Mule sandwich that includes a smokin’ version of Who Do You Love? Download this show for a reminder about how powerful the Mule was as a trio.
During my senior year of high school I plastered my first car with tons of Phish stickers. One day I ordered some pizza and the guy delivering the food told me he was a big Phish fan as well. We exchanged phone numbers, and he gave me a tape of this unbelievable show from 1992. Twelve years later, the “pizza guy” is one of my best friends, and I still listen to 4/18/92 at least once every few months. And all I wanted was some Chicken Parm!
The only problem with that show is that my copy of the soundboard recording was missing a few songs. Finally someone has pieced together Kevin Shapiro’s audience recording and the pristine board tapes with sexy results. When I would introduce my friends to the music of Phish, I would start by playing the Harry Hood from this show. Mike, Page, and Fishman lay down a solid base for Trey to just go nuts over. After some Trey face-melters, the whole band stumbles upon a sweet Linus and Lucy jam, before Big Red drops the hammer with some machine-gun riffing.
Other highlights from this “desert island” show include a nasty version of Run Like An Antelope and a tasty Bathtub Gin that both starts and finishes with Manteca. I miss Phish.
What is playing on your iPod these days? Let us know with a comment below….