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Ball


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Audio CD, April 15, 2003
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Amazon's Widespread Panic Store

Music

Image of album by Widespread Panic

Photos

Image of Widespread Panic

Videos

February 2011, Athens GA

Biography

Everybody loves surprises, that feeling of not knowing what might be around the next corner -- and that’s exactly the vibe that Widespread Panic gives off every time they unleash a new album. Sometimes that means taking listeners on a nice, smooth ride, and sometimes it means making ‘em hold on tight, but either way, it means the trip is gonna be worth it.

On Dirty Side Down, ... Read more in Amazon's Widespread Panic Store

Visit Amazon's Widespread Panic Store
for 28 albums, 4 photos, videos, and 26 full streaming songs.


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sanctuary Records
  • ASIN: B00008WT66
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,293 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Fishing
2. Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi)
3. Tortured Artist
4. Papa Johnny Road
5. Sparks Fly
6. Counting Train Cars
7. Don't Wanna Lose You
8. Longer Look
9. Meeting Of The Waters
10. Nebulous
11. Monstrosity
12. Time Waits
13. Travelin' Man

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Widespread Panic's eighth album is a rather grave and ponderous affair. Filled with hippie homilies and philosophical ruminations, it sounds more like Jefferson Airplane circa After Bathing At Baxter's than the Allman Brothers, with whom Panic is most often compared. They do include a few of their muscular jazz-tinged rambles, but more often they're intent on documenting their search for meaning. They every right to try to figure things out after the 2002 death of founding guitarist Michael Houser. His absence affected their sound--Houser's intricate guitar solos were integral--as well as how they recorded the album. Rather than road testing these songs, they went straight into the studio, which resulted in a more strident sound for the band. Panic is a band in transition, attempting to regain its equilibrium, soaring to great heights on the extended jam of "Travelin' Man" and "Monstrosity," but also mining classic-rock clichés on "Tortured Artist" and "Papa Johnny Road." --Jaan Uhelszki

Customer Reviews

JB sounds great.
-RAD'O- mom
Overall I'd say that the album is very good, promising for the future.
Craig Fisher
I see only better things to come!
The Stew is hot

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Craig Fisher on April 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
On Ball, the boys in WSP head for unchartered waters, recording their first studio album since the passing of the great "lingering lead" guitarist, Mikey Houser. Filling in is the former guitarist for Beanland (JoJo's old band too), and new Panic member, George McConnell. Overall I'd say that the album is very good, promising for the future. Fishing and Papa Johnny Road are two of the best tunes they've cut in years. Longer Look is similarly great, a beautiful acoustic JB number, a unique song in the Panic catalogue. And Travelin' Man, penned by the late Mr. Houser, is a fun and fitting tribute to its author, classic Mikey. JoJo's Don't Wanna Lose You is great too, reminiscent of his solo work with the Smiling Assassins. Also keep your ears out for the hidden track: a 10 minute jam riffing on Thin Air slowed down to about half tempo, great stuff. But... there are some weak songs as well. Specifically, Counting Train Cars, which has some of their worst songwriting on any album, is a real disappointment. Meeting of the Waters is also unfortunate, and Nebulous (great jam not withstanding) and Tortured Artist are both sub-par. While McConnell's presence is a source of great controversy in the Panic community (e.g., is his sound really a good fit for the band?), and there are a lack of interesting leads on this album, there are also some truly great songs, and it is definitely worth overlooking some of Ball's shortcomings to hear the boys do what they do best.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Griff on April 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
OK, so this CD isn't Everyday, but I'm not ready to head to the used CD shop with Ball in hand, either. I've been listening to the guys since the early 90's, and I felt like Panic hit their collective strides around about Bombs or Medicine, excluding, of course any live releases (nothing can compare to any of those).
One of my favorite things about Widespread Panic was always Mikey Houser's guitar sound, and frankly, that sound is gone. But, having accepted that fact, I was able to listen to this with an open mind, or ear. George McConnell is a more than adequate guitarist. I listened to him in his old band, The Kudzu Kings. Give him time to settle in, and and Panic will be churning out 5-star records again.
As far as the songs go, "Fishing" and "Meeting of the Waters" stand out for me, as well as the Houser-penned "Travelin' Man". I'd be hard-pressed to name a song that I genuinely dislike.
All in all, as a long-time Spreadhead, I can honestly say that this disc is a good first step in a new direction for Widespread Panic.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By david kelley on April 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Of course I bought the new album today and am going through my first official listen to the tunes of the new panic. Ball- very polished, very studio. Not what I was expecting when I heard that they had not played any of these songs live. McConnell shines as does Bell's vocals. When I first heard the songs that Panic leaked out, I was beginning to wonder about the future of the boys. After reviwing their latest CD, I am still sure about what they're about and where they are heading. This CD is unlike most other panic discs due to the length of the CD. It's not your typical Panic 40 minute CD. It is a whole 60 minutes in length, with a bonus. JoJo's piano has taken more of a lead in certain songs, but I like that. I don't hear Dave standing out at all. Again, NOT AT ALL.
1. Fishing... Great song in the same realm of most WP ballads. Has airplay potential.
2. Thin Air... Sounds like Carlos Santana sat in on the writing of this song. Throw in a 60's keyboard and this song was written. All that's missing is the DDBB.
3. Tortured Artist...no opinion yet. This song will have to grow on me. I'm leaving it at that.
4. Papa Johnny Road...Here is southern rock taking over the grooviness that Houser added to the band in earlier releases. "I got a real good mind to beat you senseless"...Not bad though, I'd redo the chorus.
5. Sparks Fly...Sounds like Col. Bruce on Greta. I really like Bell's vocals on this, however be prepared for some Panic fans to not like this one.
6. Counting Train Cars...Kicks should be playing this. Twangy but sometimes twangy is where it's at. Nice story.
7. Don't Wanna Lose You...I have liked this since I first heard it a couple of days ago. Has college radio potential. JoJo on lead, then Bell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By -RAD'O- mom on October 14, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Ball is a great CD, it is one CD I can listen to from beginning to end, and over and over again. It is spontaneous, calming, exciting. JB sounds great. Fishing has one of the tastiest licks I think since Mikey. I get lost in that song. The lyrics are great, and proves Widespread Panic as a solid force to be reckoned with, Ball is a great CD, from a great band, with their heart and soul poured into each song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Andrews on January 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Now, 'Ball' has taken almost 7 years to really grow on me, even though there were songs that immediately gripped me the first time i heard I spun the disc.

What is really interesting to me is that overall, I never really got into George's playing w/ Panic. His live playing seemed very noodle-y and for the most part, uninspiring. He often sounded lost and simply trying to 'play along' rather than really grab hold of the songs and make them his own. There are certainly exceptions (I thought they way he ripped up Rebirtha consistently was an astounding feat!), but I really can't say I miss him now.

Given what I just said, George's playing on 'Ball' is outstanding. He does exactly what I would have hoped someone would do when they first come aboard an already-established band: he asserts himself, yet doesn't try to overdo things. George did a fantastic job of not trying to copy Mike's style, but also not straying too far off point. It's the rest of the band that really brings their collective A-game on this record. Also, this is a damn-near perfect sequenceing of a record!

Song-by-song:

(01) 'Fishing' - a nice way to introduce the new era of panic. love the acoustic interplay between Bell & McConnell, with the added bonus of Jojo's Bear Gone Fishin-esque organ work.

(02) 'Thin Air' - album picks up with a classic Panic track, driven by Schools' excellent bass-work (what a solo!). George makes his presence felt here, but does a nice job avoiding potential Southern Rock cliches, instead focusing on the interplay between himself, JB and Dave Schools.

(03) 'Tortured Artist' - This song was one I initially overlooked, but now have grown quite fond of.
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