Gov't Mule - 'The Tel-Star Sessions'

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Gov't Mule - 'The Tel-Star Sessions'

If you like classic American Rock with a sturdy Blues grounding, few bands do it better.

The Mule's journey has taken them down very different musical paths since their inception in the early nineties, from their Southern Blues Rock origins to Jazz, star studded collaborations, Reggae and even an album of Pink Floyd covers! This release of the original demos from 1994 takes you back to their root sound. Originally a threesome in the great power trio tradition, until the untimely death of their bass player Allen Woody, the band's brand of Classic Rock flew in the face of fashion – class, of course, outlives trends.

Their essence is captured here. The sound is excellent for a demo, but it retains a rawness that suits their music. The three cover songs here perfectly demonstrate what their influences are. There's the British Hard Rock sound of the seventies on Free's 'Mr Big', the stinging Blues take on Muddy Waters 'The Same Way' and the Southern fried grit of ZZ Top's 'Just Got Paid'. The covers don't stray too far from the originals, but GM have the character to add a few colourful inflections to these songs.

Elsewhere, 'World Of Difference' and 'Left Coast Groovers' show off the band's jam credentials. On 'Rocking Horse', the line "This Rock 'n' Roll life will be the death of me" is perhaps sadly prophetic in light of Woody's passing. Warren Haynes is a modern guitar legend, capable of playing anything, imbuing each note with sweat, and he possesses a marvellous world weary Rock voice that can, at turns, convey toughness or vulnerability. After Allen's death, the band's ranks swelled, allowing them to diversify their sound and move forward, but a part of the chemistry they had as that original trio would always be lost.

Six of the tracks here appeared on their debut release whilst 'Blind Man In The Dark' appears on their second album 'Dose', which might suggest this disc is for completists only, but if you like classic American Rock with a sturdy Blues grounding, few bands do it better and there's also an electricity here that's worth hearing. Gov't Mule are no donkeys!

Duncan Jamieson

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