Gov't Mule - The Deepest End: Live in Concert

Gov't Mule
The Deepest End: Live in Concert


First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2004, Volume 11, #2

Written by John Metzger


Warren Haynes is an incredibly busy man. For the past few years, he has been recording and touring with both Phil Lesh & Friends and the Allman Brothers Band, and despite the untimely death of his long-time friend and musical collaborator Allen Woody, he has managed to keep his own group Govít Mule plugging along at a phenomenal pace, raising the ensembleís profile in the process. Instead of replacing Woody, Haynes has taken the unique approach of incorporating a revolving door of all-star caliber bass players into Govít Muleís line-up in order to record a pair of studio albums The Deep End, Vol. 1 & 2. All of this climaxed with a monstrous 5 Ĺ hour concert that coincided with the 2003 Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. Due to its careful timing, a plethora of bass players ó such as Dave Schools, Jack Casady, Will Lee, Mike Gordon, Rob Wasserman, and Les Claypool ó as well as other artists, all of whom were already in town to perform with their own ensembles, were placed at Haynesí disposal, allowing him to orchestrate the ultimate tribute to Woody.

The culmination of this massive undertaking is The Deepest End, a extensive package that features the entirety of the event spread over the course of two albums and a DVD. Fans wishing to hear the complete concert in its proper order, however, may be a little frustrated by the collectionís design. Some songs appear on the CDs, some appear on the DVD, and some appear on both. This, of course, is due to the overall length of the affair, but it should be at least some consolation to fans that they wonít be coerced to shell out money for two separate sets.

Not surprisingly, The Deepest End is the definitive Govít Mule compilation, touching upon all aspects of the bandís catalog. For the most part, the various guests ó which in addition to the many bass players include guitarist David Hidalgo, banjoist Bťla Fleck, and keyboard player Bernie Worrell ó seamlessly assimilate themselves into the ensemble. This allows the band to stretch its songs to epic proportions, unleashing a torrent of psychedelic energy that fills its hard-driving blues with a magical air. Of particular note is the incendiary guitar duel between Haynes and Sonny Landreth on Robert Johnsonís 32/20 Blues. Elsewhere, the ensemble is simply content to deliver its crunchy rock with a concise blitzkrieg of heavy metal thunder. Either way, Govít Mule, with a little help from its friends, overcomes its biggest fault ó itís one-dimensionality ó and as a result, The Deepest End frequently finds the group mining its material for all it is worth. starstarstar Ĺ

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


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