3 October 1955-26 August 2000
Today marks the seventh anniversary of the untimely death of undoubtedly one of the greatest bass players of our time, Mr. Allen Woody. I know I said I wouldn’t post much Gov’t Mule here, but I happened across one of Woody’s final performances which to the best of my knowledge has yet to be released commercially. For the benefit of those who have already experienced this wonderful band during their early days, this may be something that your bootleg collection is missing. For those who have never heard this band live, strap yourself in and get set for two hours of sheer power trio fury.
This performance was recorded live at Tradewinds, located in Seabright, New Jersey. The Mule’s third studio album (Life Before Insanity) had just been released, so the tunes in the set from that album are still works in progress. Later performances will show just how good their improvisation skills really are. What makes this band so amazing is their ability to put their stamp on any type of song from just about any genre. I’ve heard them cover everything from Otis Redding to Radiohead, and even Prince. The list of influences is too long to mention, but you haven’t lived until you’ve heard their take on “Pass The Peas”. I’ll never forget it. It was my first time seeing the band. I was in a sweaty hole-in-the wall nightclub in Baltimore back in 1998, totally plastered from too much beer, then when the bartender poured that shot of cinnamon vodka. Game over… It was then that I met Woody, although he probably wished I had never approached him bacause I was three sheets to the wind for sure. I was able to shake the man’s hand and thank him for a wonderful performance. He was quite the gentle soul, despite his rather large frame. Later I heard that Mr. Haynes asked “Who was that guy?” Some six foot something dude with a full head of dreadlocks just acting a total fool (if anyone can help me, I’m still looking for a copy of that show for the record – the venue was Fletchers, I’m not sure of the exact date)… It’s all good though because since that experience, my friend Mike and I followed them from venue to venue, under varying degrees of inebriation. When we saw the band at the Recher Theater here in Maryland, we had no idea that it would be the last time we would see Woody play. Not so surprising, but we saw them again just weeks after Woody’s passing in Washington, DC. I was going to be the bold and brazen individual and make sure that the bass player that they chose (Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools) know that he had some huge shoes to fill. For the duration of their first set, I simply held a sign in the air saying “Woody can hear you…” Suffice it to say he did a fantastic job, considering the so-called pressure I put him under… The following night, we saw them again in Philadelphia, and the sign said “I’ve been ‘Schooled’…” He just smiled and they played yet another tremedous show.
As I slowly digress with my sordid tales of concertgoing, let me lay this heavy setlist on you.
Technically, this performance was recorded live to DAT (as far as I know). The Mule are famous for NOT playing a venue unless the fans can record the show. The taping section is usually small but I’ve seen up to fifty mike stands crammed into this space at once, and I ain’t talking about Radio Shack condenser mikes hooked up to 70s style portable tape recorders either… The sound quality on this one may be a bit bass-heavy for some, but since it is in tribute to Woody, that is considered a good thing.
First Set: 192 kbs mp3, 71 MB
Grinning In Your Face
Lay Your Burdens Down
Bad Little Doggie
Blind Man In The Dark
War Pigs / Luke’s Wall
Second Set: 192 kbs mp3, 91 MB
Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Excerpt)
The Obligatory Drum Solo (Matt Abts is one maniac drummer, but his technique is so effortless. It must be seen to be believed…)
Mountain Jam (bass solo portion and conclusion)
Life Before Insanity
World Gone Wild
Please download and enjoy the show. If they come to a town near you (and they do perform worldwide now), go see ’em. You won’t be sorry. I must also recommend The Deep End Trilogy, the story of Warren and Matt’s quest to play with just about every bass player they know, have heard or just flat out worship. Thank you for your time. Next time I will return to the regularly scheduled programme of super heavy Soul 45s.
Peace and blessings.