Vintage Reserve – Galactic
Volcano Entertainment 61422-32193-2
Since 1995, Galactic has brought their New Orleans-flavored funk to three
studio albums and one live album. The albums have been impressive, but
three studio albums hardly warrant a greatest hits compilation. I’m not
sure if Vintage Reserve is intended to be a greatest hits record or
merely a sampler, but it may very well be the by-product of a band trying to
escape their recording contract with Volcano Entertainment.
Nevertheless, the compiled tracks are treated to some nice re-mastering, and
there is an even flow between the chosen songs. The selection of tunes is
rather eclectic, but including the seminal late-night-in-the-studio version
of "Quiet Please" is a wise decision. Golden oldies such as "Something’s
Wrong With This Picture" and "Tighten Up Your Wig" also sound great after
their aural facelifts.
For Galactic fans, the principle attractions on this album are the three
previously un-released tracks. "The Green Minute" combines Stanton Moore’s
spirited drumming with Jeff Raines’ raunchy soloing to create a nice
old-school boogaloo feel. "Sew Sew Sew" is captured from a Mardi Gras 2002
concert featuring a plethora of special guests. While it’s great to hear
Galactic on a traditional Mardi Gras Indian tune, they’re only a small cog
in a slowly developing jam. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and The Golden Eagles
Mardi Gras Indians begin with their call-and-response chant. Moore joins in
to punctuate with some tom work, and then Raines tosses in a little rhythm
guitar before Galactic signs on in full force. Then the Lil Rascals Brass
Band adds some spice to the roux before the Triple Threat DJs turn the song
on its head. Utilizing their inventive scratching styles, the turntablists
launch into an inspired improv that is cut short by a criminal fade-out at
the 7:51 mark. Regardless, the Triple Threat guys get another chance to
scratch and sample their little hearts out, fully integrating with all of
Galactic on the rousing album-closing live cut of "Doo Rag."
While there is not much in the way of new material on _Vintage
Reserve_, the album is worthwhile because it presents a fluid document of
Galactic’s career. It plays host to several excellent studio cuts and a
couple of live jams, and surprisingly, everything gels together smoothly.
Since Vintage Reserve covers every period of the band’s career,
including live performances, it’s probably the best starting point for the
virgin Galactic listener.