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Mo’ Voodoo EP – Gov’t Mule

ATO Records

Mo’ Voodoo is billed as an EP, five tracks that Gov’t Mule recorded in the studio as a musical bonus for fans, but really it’s a Cliffs Notes version of what the band is capable of, a beacon of the blues and a shining example of the family tree that the genre has spawned.

Each song offers a shade of the overall musical palette used by artists Haynes, Abts, Louis and Hess. During its nearly half-hour timeframe, we get "King's Highway," a Joe Henry cover, that finds it strength in the performances by the four; how they seamlessly connect and support each other. Next it's a Haynes original, "I'll Be The One," which shows that they've been listening to a good deal of Stax Volt and soul records from the '60s on the tour bus. It just glides by with an understanding of classic R&B's breezy rhythm and a sound that evokes thoughts of guitarist Steve Cropper and Booker T and the MG's.

"My Oh My," a David Gray cover, embodies the singer/songwriter's melancholy melodicism yet molds it into something that's purely Mule-like. Another Haynes' original "I Can't Be You" contains that powerhouse blues moment you never get tired of, while "Ballerina," a Van Morrison cover, involves the same elegant swing heard during the band's version of Morrison's "Into The Mystic."

Before you get mad and think that the Mule has done an (Elvis) Costello and is forcing diehards to repurchase their original purchase, the band has taken care of matters. Those who don't have a copy of the group's last album, Deja Voodoo, should find the EP bundled with that release. Those who already bought that 2004 disc can place it in their computer in order to access a "secret website" via Sony Connected technology. Besides the music, other items such as photo icons and a live video of "Lola Leave Your Light On" will be available.

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