Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > CDs

Published: 2006/08/19
by Jesse Jarnow

High and Mighty – Gov’t Mule

ATO Records 028

20 possible openings for a Gov’t Mule album review

1.) So, Warren Haynes, huh?

2.) They say that troubled times make for good art.

(2a. They're pretty stupid, eh?)

3.) Despite its vague political overtones, Gov't Mule's High and Mighty seems a better antidote to the Carter administration’s malaise than the Bush gang’s Middle East quagmire.

4.) Wah-wah pedals? Are you serious?

5.) There's nothing wrong with making an album that sounds like it was arranged in 1976 — possibly the only time in American history when a Presidential candidate’s affiliation with a rock band seemed to do a lick of good.

6.) "This is authentic blues," Steve Buscemi's date tells him in Terry Zwigoff's biting Ghost World, as a completely ludicrous hair-blues band called Blues Hammer takes the bar stage.

7.) In almost two decades as guitarist for the Allman Brothers, and later Phil Lesh, the Dead, and his own Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes has embodied one of the new rock myths: the transformation from faceless replacement to a standard bearer of authenticity.

8.) When the Allman Brothers Band (for who Haynes has now played so long he seems like an original member) formed an allegiance with Georgia governor Jimmy Carter in 1976 (13 years before Haynes’ arrival), it was the final political flowering of the ’60s.

9.) "Fake liberty is just another form of hate," Warren Haynes sings over a fake reggae groove in "Unring the Bell" before launching into a not-fake-at-all jam.

10.) Like Jack White of the White Stripes, albeit with less contrivance and grace, Warren Haynes rigorously limits Gov't Mule's output to the confined space of blues-rock.

11.) "Streamline woman, let me be good to you," Warren Haynes sings about half-dozen times during "Streamline Woman," and — by the end of the typically snarling multi-section instrumental bridge — one wonders what the fuck a "streamline woman" really is, and if it ever had a meaning, if any white dudes in faux-classic rock bands ever really knew it.

12.) Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendwas to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

13.) "Take one," somebody says in the blurry distance before the first notes of High and Mighty’s opening and title track, so you know it’s gotta be for real, yo.

14.) While Thom Yorke may've been able to deny that Hail to the Thief was about American politics, it’d be harder for Warren Haynes to say the same of "Mr. High and Mighty"‘s title character, with his "fairweather fortune."

15.) Sure, yeah, everybody in Gov't Mule plays his instrument pretty well.

16.) Really?

17.) Of all possible bands in all possible Americas in all possible worlds, a frighteningly high percentage of them would probably sound a good deal like Gov't Mule.

18.) Why is somebody playing guitar and singing with a deep gravely voice somehow more authentic than somebody playing accordion and singing with a reedy voice?

19.) Warren Haynes walks into a bar.

20.) 20 Possible Openings for a Gov’t Mule album review…

Show 0 Comments