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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Deep End Vol. 1
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
How cool and consistent can a band get? Despite the untimely death in 2000 of bassist Allen Woody, Government Mule has put out a real whopper with "The Deep End, Volume 1"! Warren Haynes and Matt Abts continue as the vocals/guitar and drums/percussion core of this electric blues band but, they pulled out all the stops in tribute to the beloved Allen by bringing in twelve of the best guest bassists in the known universe including John Entwistle, Flea, Roger Glover, and Jack Bruce on the 13 album tracks. Another 13 players add in their sonic joy on the organ, Wurlitzer, guitars, vocals, and brass including Bootsy Collins, Gregg Allman (of course!), Jerry Cantrell, Little Milton, Page McConnell, John Scofield, and Derek Trucks. As would be hoped for, the result is terrific! The guitars rip, the organ howls, the bass keeps the beat, and the gravelly vocals give you goosebumps oozing heartfelt lyrics and funk. Southern Rock has gracefully and forcefully entered the 21st century!
Buy this album if you dig American electric guitar blues! If you can make it happen, get a copy with the bonus disc "Hidden Treasure". It will then make this a "six" star review as it adds over 35 minutes of excellent live material from a recent New York City show including "Blind Man In the Dark", "Fallen Down", a solo acoustic "Soulshine", and a knee-bending KILLER ten minute version of ZZ Top's "Jesus Just Left Chicago". This Mule still KICKS!!!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Fantastic "comeback" of sorts for Gov't Mule. I never doubted the musical expertise of Warren Haynes and Matt Abts, but I did question how much spirit they would be able to infuse into the album, right after the death of their brother Allen Woody.
All questions, however, were put to rest when the opening riff of "Life On The Outside", the 2nd cut, blared out of my speakers. The song flies off the disc like no Gov't Mule track since "Mother Earth"...
The whole album is wonderfully dynamic, and for the first time, Warren Haynes' lyrics match the intensity of the music. Still, even as these songs are extremely personal for Haynes, the ability of he and Abts to fit in the seemingly endless array of guests into those songs is what makes the album truely remarkable.
"Fool's Moon" would have made a great track had Haynes and Abts performed it alone with a session bassist. But, when Jack Bruce's voice comes in on the 2nd verse, you wonder how the tune could ever survive without him.
"Banks of the Deep End", "Same Price" and "Beautifully Broken" are 3 tracks that cover some new ground for the Mule. All 3 of theose tunes have FM radio potential, while still maitning the high musical standards that Gov't Mule has laid out for themselves. "Same Price", may start out poppy, but the middle section is deeply reminiscent of the great middle sections that made the Who famous in the early 70's. No mistake, seeing as how John Entwhistle plays on the tune.
"Down and Out In NYC" and "Tear me Down" are out and out FUNK tunes, supplanted by the grandmasters of funk bass themselves, Flea and Bootsy Collins. The guitar work in both tunes are vintage Haynes, especially on "Down and Out In NYC". Haynes, who has stayed mostly in the jam-rock genre since his debut with the Allmans in 1989, fits seemlessly into the wall of horns and organ. The coda at the end is one the Mule's most satisfying musical moments.
"Sco-Mule" is a great instrumental tune, reminiscent of "Trane" from the band's debut album, and acts as a bridge between the jam-happy tunes of the first 2 albums to the meaty material of "Deep End"...
"Maybe I'm A Leo", "Effigy" and "Sin is a Good Man's Brother", 3 of the 4 covers on the album, stay true to the original versions, but are unmistakably Mule tracks. The latter is Allen Woody's last recorded studio cut. "Maybe I'm A Leo", an Allen Woody favorite, blisters as it fades with a meaty Haynes solo.
"Soulshine" and "Worried Down With the Blues" (featuring the Allman Brothers' Gregg Allman, Otiel Burbridge and Derek Trucks) come off wonderfully as good-old-time southern blues/R&B. "Soulshine", in particular, sounds wonderful with the funky arrangement it's given.
As a longtime Mule fan, I wouldn't hesitate to call this the Mule's most complete album to date. There is a depth the the songs, and the lyrics, that just weren't there before. The first 2 Gov't Mule albums, while wonderful in their own rite, were merely comprised of jam-riffs turned into songs. Haynes and Abts choose their spots more finely now, but when they do, the results are absolutely chilling.
Truely a wonderful album.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
When Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody died in his sleep last year, it seemed that the band, comprised of Woody, formerly of the Allman Brothers Band, ABB guitarist Warren Haynes, and superb rock drummer Matt Abts, was through. Rather than give up on their incredible chemistry, however, Haynes and Abts decided to record a tribute album to Woody, with 25 of Allen's favorite bassists laying down the grooves. The result was a massive collection of amazing music, spanning two volumes.

The Deep End Vol. 1, as with all Mule albums, displays the incredible guitar work and brawny vocals of frontman Warren Haynes, who draws heavily from Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix in his guitar playing. However, TDE is more ambitious and diverse than Mule's previous efforts, its content ranging from the jazz-rock of "Sco-Mule," featuring legendary jazz guitarist John Scofield, to the funk of "Tear Me Down," starring P-Funk's Bootsy Collins on bass, to the straight-ahead, Who-like hard rock of "Same Price," which features The Who's John Entwistle on bass. Diversity aside, though, it is Mule's trademark brand of Southern Rock that provides TDE's most memorable songs. Epics such as the Neil Young-like (think "Southern Man) "Banks of the Deep End," and the ABB's instantly memorable, feel-good song "Soulshine" provide Haynes plenty of room to sing with all his soul and heart, both with his voice and his guitar. TDE takes its listeners on a musical journey, through good times and bad, that ends with the powerful Grand Funk Railroad cover "Sin's a Good Man's Brother," a sobering reminder of
Allen Woody's greatness, recorded before Woody passed away.
Other guests on TDE Vol. 1 include Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cream bassist Jack Bruce, Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed, ABB guitarist Derek Trucks, and Gregg Allman. TDE Vol. 2 is scheduled for release in early 2002, featuring guests such as Les Claypool of Primus, Billy Cox from Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies, and Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Deep End Vol. I is perhaps one of the most ambitious musical projects I've encountered in a long time. The untimely death of Allen Woody, which happened during Gov't Mule's ascendancy, was not only a blow to the band, but also to the sublime synergy that existed between its three core members (Allen Woody, Warren Haynes and Matt Abts). After reeling from the loss of Allen, Warren and Matt summoned their prolific musical tendencies and caste a line up of some of the greatest bass guitarist to ever grace the music scene. Jack Bruce, Roger Glover, Flea, Bootsy Collins, and John Entwhistle are just some of the over twenty-five bass players to perform on this record. In addition the likes of Derek Trucks, Chuck Leavell, Gregg Allman, and John Scofield add demonstrably to this project, which of course goes without saying. Each of the aforementioned musicians add there own voice to the record, but at the end of the day Warren and Matt keep the sound underpinned to Gov't Mule's signature sound and style. Gov't Mule fans will enjoy this recording without much argument, however, music fans of all walks will appreciate this recording not as an all star jam session, but more as a disciplined musical statement that virtuosity and persistence still commands respect. Enjoy!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Gov't Mule is a reliable band. They've been churning out thier furious brand blues-fueled rock over the course of 4 studio records and one of the greatest live albums to ever be released. true, they don't really stray very far from the sometimes rawkus, sometimes elegiac blues-based tunes they excell at, but when you find something that works, why not stick to it?
"Deep End" finds them mourning the loss of fallen soldier Allen Woody by recording this 70/30 originals/covers album with a wide selection of guest bassists. On paper, this looks like a project that could go sour really fast. The bassists range from Bootsy Collins to Roger Glover to Jack Bruce, and I was really concerned that this was going to wind up as one of those overstuffed, all-start jam sessions. But, the firm hand of Warren Haynes guides this ship to familliar waters. One thing that is certain about this album is that it IS a Gov't Mule album. The bassists and other guests are just there to add a little something to each track. It is a focused album with strong originals, well done covers and some of the best musicianship in the galaxy. The recording, as is common to all GM albums, is superb. The crisp engineering really captures the sound of a killer live band. It sizzles.
I'm glad to see the band is going to carry on in the shadow of thier loss. Hopefully, they'll continue to turn out honest, powerful albums. Check out "Effigy". It's one of the most heart-wrenching songs the Mule has yet recorded.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Dedicated to their fallen comrade Allen Woody, Warren Haynes and Matt Abts pulled together a legendary line-up of bass players that influenced Woody for their project Deep End. Vol. one includes such signature riffs from Jack Bruce (Cream) on Fool's Moon, John Entwhistle (The Who)on Same Price, Roger Glover (Deep Purple) on their remake of Maybe I'm a Leo, and the list goes on to include Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Mike Gordon (Phish), etc. But anyone who's a Mule fan knows they don't stop there. They've added Gregg Allman (Allman Bros.), Derek Trucks (Derek Trucks Band) Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), and the legendary bluesman himself Little Milton.
Besides great new material penned by the Mule, they've added great covers of CCR's Effigy, Purple's Maybe I'm a Leo, and if you're lucky enough to get a hold of the bonus cd 'Hidden Treasures', a great rendition of ZZ Top's Jesus Just Left Chicago. This is a MUST cd to add to anyone's collection!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I "discovered" Gov't Mule quite by accident one evening listening to internet radio on my computer. My genres were something like Classic Rock/Hard Rock/Blues, and when Banks of the Deep End came on I sat up and took notice. Half-way thru the song I wrote down the band name and the album. Within a few days I owned this disc and have never regretted the purchase. I have bought 4 or 5 other Gov't Mule albums from the debut up to the newest By a Thread, but The Deep End Vol. 1 will probably always be my favorite. I really like the WHOLE THING. It is one really complete album. **updated 01/2010**

I'm not going to be able to say anything more than all the other reviewer's have already said about this great Blues/Rock Masterpiece. Suffice it to say, it is absolutely a fabulously great collection of songs and musicianship all in one place.

It is also quite a diverse cd. Some really slow blues, intrumentals, blues rockers, even some tracks with horn sections! It is NOT repeatitive or boringly predictable (as someone thought). The addition of all the great guest musicians just adds to the diversity of the songs. Slightly different styles, different lead vocals, and lot's of "favorite" guitar players, bass players and keyboardist. It is simply a great cd that is highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If you are looking for a living legend on guitar (Warren Haynes) and a collection of the greatest bassists of all time all on one c.d. then your search is over. This c.d. is a tribute to Mule's late former Bass player Allen Woody. Haynes' vocals are inspired and heartfelt and his guitar playing is amazing. As if one great guitarist wasn't enough, John Scofield makes Sco-Mule one of the best tracks on the c.d. and Derek Trucks on slide guitar makes Worried Down With the Blues another great track. Haynes also shows off his considerable song writing ability on Soulshine (soon to be a classic and covered by many other bands), On The Banks of the Deep End, and Beautifully Broken, all absolutely beautiful songs. Buy this c.d. for some great music where the talents of the many great bassists of our time are featured. Then go to a concert: Gov't Mule live will blow you away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD
No, they don't wear fashionable clothes. They don't incorporate the lastest "sound" in their music. They don't "dance" while singing. They play their own instruments. They put the music first and foremost. They are easily the BEST band that the "mainstream" has never heard of. If you truly want to know what music/rock/bluse is all about then buy this cd. It is easily one of the best releases of 2001. Warren and Matt have carried on and have released a fitting tribute to Woody. Every track on this is excellent, no filler like many bands. The extra "live" cd is everything you would expect from them. I urge anyone to check these guys out live if they come anywhere close to your town. Warren Haynes is easily one of the best guitarists around today. Buy this cd to see what the Mule is all about!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2001
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Gov't Mules has delivered some of of the most true classic hard driven rock in recent times. This record follows the same direction.
Many though (including me) that the chemestry within the band could be lost because of the death of their former bass player Allen Woody. Fortunate for us, this was not the case. With an all-star line-up of bass player Warren Hayes (Vocals & Guitar) and Matt Abts (Drums) deliver a very inspired recording. This record includes original tunes as well as covers od Creedence Clearwater Revival and Deep Purple.
Although there are great bassists like Flea, Jack Bruce and Stefan Lessard among others this is not a bass extravaganza record. Every player focused on the song rather than the instrument making the band sound as a tight unit on every track.
The best thing is that this is Vol. 1. By next year Vol. 2 will be released with more guess player backing this incredible band. I just hope we get a chance to see a live performance video sometime.
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