"Dark Side of the Mule" (Mascot Label Group; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

The name of this disc might make you lean towards a familiar Pink Floyd album title and well it should. This is Gov't Mule's tribute to Pink Floyd and the many songs they have written. I was quite impressed because I like the Southern flavor that Gov't Mule has in their sound and to mix Pink Floyd in ... well, it just sounds damn good and since this is a live concert recording you get a great sound via the production.

The cool thing about Gov't Mule is that they release a disc just about ever year so you can always have music on hand. This is a slight departure in that they cover a band that is hard to emulate but these talented guys do it every bit of justice. This is one disc you can put on and just chill. Well done, gentlemen, well done.

There is a DVD that comes with the special edition of this disc. It's a live gig entitled "Dark Side of the Mule Set 1" and it's Gov't Mule tracks from days past. Excellent musicianship and a sweet sound to boot!

Gov't Mule: Warren Haynes - guitar, vocals; Matt Abts - drums, percussion; Danny Louis - keyboards, guitar, trumpet; Jorgen Carlsson - bass.

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"Deja Voodoo" (ATO; 2004)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Southern rock with a jam attitude; this is good stuff. This disc is 75:47 so they don't skimp on material or song length. For those unfamiliar with the history of this band, they are an Allman Brothers Band side gig and they have been cranking out blues rock and hard rock since their first self-titled disc in 1994.

You name 'em and Gov't Mule has played with them: Les Claypool, Jack Bruce, Flea, The Rolling Stones, Widespread Panic, Peter Frampton -- the list is really long and distinguished. Their music is the stuff you would hear at a benefit concert or a music festival because its good ol' rock'n'roll and it doesn't use any flash or fancy to get the point across.

The guitar is gritty in parts and smooth as silk on other tracks. Keys and solid bass work lay a foundation that Warren Haynes uses to jab grooves into when he cuts his fingers on a nasty guitar solo. Warren has a great blues voice as well so when he slows a track down you can feel the words coming through, this is rainy day music and it helps to ease the pain when you get to feeling down.

Sometimes you can hear old Whitesnake or The Black Crowes sneaking through the speakers. If you love southern rock and would rather hear a song develop and jam for a few minutes then give Gov't Mule a spin. They tour like crazy so they just might be gigging close to your town.

The best mule kicks are: "Bad Man Walking," "Perfect Shelter," "Slackjaw Jezebel," "Lola Leave Your Light On," "Mr. Man."

Gov't Mule: Warren Haynes vocals, guitar; Matt Abts drums; Danny Louis keyboards; Andy Hess bass.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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