The Tel-Star Sessions
Mascot Label Group
The Tel-Star Sessions Emerge Twenty-Two Years Later
The debut album may have been gathering dust since June 1994 but the first notes blow the cobwebs away as you are drawn into the world of Gov’t Mule. The disappointing side effect is this is a debut with no surprises of hearing a band’s music in a studio for the first time. Here you know what to expect and they deliver in all their gory across the ten tracks that is the missing piece in the story of a band that enthralls every time.
Back when the album was recorded Gov’t Mule was the side project of Warren Haynes and Allen Woody as they had some down time from work with the Allman Brothers Band. In 1994 an experimental rock trio Haynes, Woody and drummer Matt Abts. What was originally going to be a low-budget record and a few shows has blossomed into Gov’t Mule where fans anticipate with feverish excitement every show they play. The Mule’s improvisational interplay is legendary and hypnotises every time.
This is not a dusty stroll down memory lane the tracks are as fresh as daisy and the mix of styles ensures your music radar never strays for a second from the speakers. Opening with Blind Man In the Dark, with click of sticks and the roll of Warren’s guitar we are of out on a journey of Haynes entwined energy. The fluid southern music that borrows from rock, blues and creates a sound that is unmistakably Gov’t Mule. This is a catchy melody that grinds and strolls through some grungy riffs that creates a track full of interest and the lyrics flow effortlessly around the intricacies of the guitar.
Immediately you are transported to Mule live with the covers tucked into the album, Mr Big from Free and ZZ Top’s Just Got Paid. They also step further back and pluck Memphis Slim’s Mother Earth and The Same Thing from Willie Dixon. The tracks are transformed with the intensity of interplay between a trio re-writing the lexicon of what recorded rock sounds like. It is the Mule’s ability to weave the weft and warp of melody, rhythm and lyrics encapsulating riffs, licks, beats and vocals into a tonal soup that mixes it up. With soft embraces followed by tough love and then the dirty fuzzy overplay. Down on Monkey Hill is the refrain, this is a lyric driven tale and the fuzzed sound gives an atmosphere of reportage, brilliant live and this early version demonstrates that from the off they were inspired. This is an album inspired by lyrics like “Last night and the night before; The thunder crowed and the rooster roared” with every song, and closing the album with World of Difference twice! differnetly of course. The consistency is complex rhythms as they seamlessly join together rock, southern tradition and psychedelia. The power of Gov’t Mule to hit you with intensity infused with subtleties as the band explore the music and take you on a journey the song may be the same but the road travelled will always have a different tonal sound.
Yes many of the tracks have been record on subsequent albums, however, The Tel-Star Sessions are the starting point and the Dixon and ZZ Top covers are unique to this album. Many of the tracks did make it onto the self-titled 1995 debut album but as ever with the Mule the differences are there. History, unearthed and the exploration is a magical carpet ride of rock infused genius.
The Tel-Star Sessions Emerge Twenty-Two Years Later a time capsule back to 1994 classic Gov’t Mule. History, unearthed and the exploration is a magical carpet ride of rock infused genius.
Gov’t Mule – The Tel-Star Sessions – Mascot Label Group
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
- Blind Man in the Dark
- Rocking Horse
- Monkey Hill
- Mr. Big
- The Same Thing
- Mother Earth
- Just Got Paid
- Left Coast Groovies
- World of Difference
- World of Difference (Alternate Version)
Available as Single CD, Digitally or 180 gram double Vinyl set including a limited edition White Vinyl with different artwork.