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Published: 2009/04/28
by Brian Robbins

Already Live – The Derek Trucks Band

Victor

To tell you that the Derek Trucks Band’s version of “My Favorite Things” alone is worth the price of their new EP Already Live makes it sound like I’m slighting the rest of the album and believe me, I’m not. The first four cuts, “I Know,” “Get What You Deserve,” “I Done Got Over,” and “I’ll Find My Way” are great showcases for vocalist Mike Mattison, who once again proves that the same throat can do both Al Green and Joe Cocker — and do them both well. They’re all good songs – it’s just that the album closer is something else again.

“My Favorite Things” starts in true DTB fashion Count M’Butu lays down a hand percussion question that’s answered by a furious roll from Yonrico Scott’s drum kit; on the heels of that exchange, Kofi Burbridge gently offers a keyboard suggestion and the piece begins to move ahead. Todd Smallie’s bass is there without you even realizing it, providing a heartbeat for Derek to begin his approach to the main theme. The band addresses the melody we all know so well for a couple of passes (Derek’s SG “sings” lead) and then off we go swooping, soaring teases of everything from Coltranish sheets of sound to bits of raga dipped in yogurt and honey.

Deep breath the drums back off and everyone settles back down long enough to grab hold of another verse. Derek still has the lead, using the melody as a jump-off point and then pushing a wildly-flavored solo over Kofi’s Monk chords while the drums roll and tumble and the bass keeps it all from flying away. A wide-open pass at the main theme gives way eventually to a beautiful Kofi Burbridge flute passage – all flutters and darts and flitters and dips, building and then letting us down softly, handing us off to the rest of the band long enough for WHAM! Kofi to return, this time behind the keyboards with no holds barred: a big sound that roars but never threatens strong but never ominous. Threading through the thick weave of the organ comes Derek’s Gibson with the bridge: “When the dog bites, when the bee stings ” gentle sweetness and light for a moment and then everything implodes and the whole band heads into “Third Stone From the Sun”-like territory. All is lost all is found and then, suddenly our feet touch the ground again. Everything is back in place, just like we left it.

Or is it? It’s that kind of a performance.

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