Gov't Mule - "High and Mighty"
(Blue Note Records BLU DP 0405)
From Aural Innovations #35 (January 2007)
It is always time to celebrate when your favourite band has a new studio LP. This is the second CD with a not so new MULE line up. Warren has written all the songs and there are some classics amongst them. Geordie Johnson (Big Sugar, Grady) produced the record at Willie Nelson's studio in Texas and this has given the record a grittier in your face but still very clear production that I like. The opening track, Mr. High and Mighty, has an AC/DC like riff and is the first single and is quite catchy but not my favourite track. Lyrics have rumoured to be about Chris Robinson (Black Crowe's) and/or George W Bush. Next up is the totally killer Brand New Angel, which is an amazing track with a cool Robin Trower like riff, powerful vocals, a cool bass groove and Warren just rips it up on the solo. Awesome! So Weak So Strong is a powerful and beautiful ballad. I really love this track and this is followed up by Streamline Woman, which is quite Led Zeppelin inspired, even the way the drums are mixed, John Bonham style. This will be a killer jammer live for sure. Child of the Earth is one of my favourite songs with powerful lyrics and playing by the whole band and amazing singing. Next up is a quite strange and cool Tom Waits influenced track, called Like Flies, with some potent political lyrics. Great and different song. Next is the 8 minute roots reggae track called Unring the Bell, again with political lyrics and a great track. It has some cool spacey stuff mixed in as well. I should also mention the rest of the band as all play absolutely superbly. This is a band where the musicians basically can't improve on their musical skills, as they are already at the top of the game, so it is all about making interesting music now.
Ok... back to the record. Nothing Again is a slow bluesy track. Nothing special except the beautiful guitar solo. The next track reminds me of classic southern rock stuff. This is a favourite of many people and it is a great track and features some nice female back up singers and Danny on the piano prominently. Brighter Days is a very Zeppelin inspired slide guitar number not dissimilar to In My Time Of Dying, at least to start. Cool song and one I hope they stretch out live. Endless Parade is the longest track at almost 9 minutes and another ballad like track but very powerful stuff. The CD ends with the all instrumental track, 3 String George.
This is a CD that does not kick your ass the first time but the songs are just so excellent that it just gets better and better the more you hear it. Fantastic playing and songs.
For more information you can visit the Gov't Mule web site at: http://www.mule.com.
Reviewed by Scott Heller