Government Mule - Shout!

Government Mule, or simply 'The Mule', began as a side venture for Allman Bros. members Warren Haynes and Allen Woody (no, seriously, that's his name; I'm not employing a critic's pull-yer-leg reversal of 'Woody Allen') in order to kick out the jams old school a la Cream, Mountain, Hendrix, etc. These guys had an unquenchable desire to continue the tradition, and it's an ambition that's been a goldmine for bluesrock/psych/hard-rock connoissieurs, as the gents often release multiple-disc editions laying out an orgiast's table of provender. Therefore, if you're a member of the discerning consumer elite, when I say GM is very much like the best of BBM, Masters of Reality, and other rooted-in-the-60s/70s ensembles, you'll know precisely what I mean.

Too, they're now releasing in vinyl, and, Jesus Christ!, but modern slabs are SO much better than what I was buying back in the day! Not only is this twofer packaged in a study gatefold, not only are the LPs in color (one is gold, the other red), and not only are the discs heavyweight 180-gm, but, along with all that, you get the opportunity to downlaod all the cuts done a second time in different versions on MP3, each with a guest singer/player: Glenn Hughes, Steve Winwood, Elvis Costello, Dr. John, and others. DAMN! Talk about a feast!

The music, though, is exactly what you always expect from The Mule: bluesy, psychedelic, folky, Southern, often hard rock and roll with more than a little jamming: "Bring on the Music" is 11:05", "Captured" is 9:04, and so on. I have a longstanding policy of reviewing only physical product, so I won't essay the remixes with the killer sit-ins, but suffice it to say that there are times when I regret that policy, and my mouth is right now drooling, especially over Hughes' presence. Nonetheless, if you haven't gotten your ass kicked by music lately, if the Southern Comfort jes' h'ain't doin' it no mo', and if that horrible horrible urge to don a Brooks Bros. suit and go kiss the boss' chancrous keister down at the factory has been edging slowly into the corners of your weary mind, then you need Shout!, brother, and I suggest you hasten to whatever passes for a record store out your way and pick the bastard up.

Peel out of the mall parking lot, slam through the back of the garage, sprint to the turntable, throw side 1 on, down a couple of beers (if you like good cheap suds, I'll suggest Pearl, which was The Students' Favorite when I was colleging down South way back when…if, that is, that brew's still even being made), and let yourself be assaulted by the glory days come back to life. Drag your old headband out of the closet along with the fringed leather vest and sandals, shake the dust off those John Lennon granny glasses stashed in the attic, rig up the black light, tack some day-glo posters on the wall, and tell 2013 to go fuck itself. And if you see a beat-up VW bus rambling down the highway, smoking pouring as much out the windows as the tail-pipe, that's me. Flag me down, jump in, and we'll both seat dance and be-bop to this funky stuff as we head for the desert and a little of the true freedom. The 70s are gone for good, but sometimes an echo is just what the doctor ordered.

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