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Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (CD/DVD) Deluxe Edition
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Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King
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- Boyd Tinsley
"He [Leroi Moore] would always say, `Take it to the next level.' That's what we've done here. We've taken it to the next level."
- Dave Matthews
"It was time to unleash the tiger."
- Carter Beauford
The first time I heard songs from "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King" was at the May 29 show at Fenway Park. Listening to live versions of songs like "Seven," "Why I Am," "Squirm," and "Time Bomb" immediately had me and my friends thinking "Whoah... this album is different. This album is going to be GOOOOOD!"
And it is. It's REAL good. I've been listening to the CD for a solid week, and I can say that it is, by far, DMB's best album in over a decade. They haven't played with this level of passion and tenacity since their back-to-back classics "Crash" and "Before These Crowded Streets" from the late 90s.
It's not hard to figure out where the intensity comes from. In 2008, DMB experienced a serious double whammy. First, they nearly broke up due to interpersonal struggles, "toxic" energy, and a lack of leadership (according to Dave). This was followed by the tragic death of founding member and horn-player extraordinaire Leroi Moore.
The result? A massive reboot of purpose and energy. With the help of Green Day producer Rob Cavallo, the Dave Matthews Band has once again found their "A" game. "Big Whiskey" is the sound of a band that is NOT mailing it in... instead, they sound like musicians that are psyched to play together and ready to go for it (to "unleash the tiger," as Carter says in the DVD documentary.)
The opening notes of the CD is a sublime Leroi solo, a voice from the past calling us forward.Read more ›
I needn't have worried; Dave Matthews Band are back with a vengeance. There is an energy, a vibe, a passion, a groove that is present on this album that had been missing on the stuff that followed "Before These Crowded Streets". I've read that there were tensions in the band over the last couple years, and that at one point they were on the verge of breaking up. If that's the case, I guess it's true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. After "Grux", a prelude showcasing since-departed saxophonist LeRoi Moore, the album kicks right into "Shake Me Like a Monkey", a flat-out rocker that allows the whole band to shine. After that, the album never really lets up; other stand-out tracks include "Funny the Way It Is", "Why I Am", "Alligator Pie" and "Seven". There are others great songs too but I've only listened to the album once so I haven't tied all the titles to all the songs yet.
Bottom line: if you've ever liked Dave Matthews Band at any point in their history, you will really like this album. They've got their fire back, and they know it: I watched the show they did at the Beacon Theatre in NYC last night, and you can really tell they love these songs and are having fun playing together again. Pick this album up, and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Runtime - 29:17
Packaging - Trifold with artwork on all panels. CD in one panel, lyrics and liner notes booklet in middle panel and DVD in last panel.
Contents - Behind the scenes look at the making of the album. Consists mostly of interviews with all bandmates, producer and session musicians interspersed with snippets of the recording sessions at different studios around the country. There are no full-length videos of complete songs. You get the gist of how the album was put together, but it's not a completely linear narrative, more like snapshots.
About 17 minutes in, the DVD becomes a tribute to late bandmate Leroi Moore. Some of the bandmates' remembrances are very touching. There are also some interesting tidbits, like Dave Matthews drew the cover artwork and the GrooGrux King bears a slight resemblance to Moore.
Altogether, it was enjoyable viewing, especially for someone like me who doesn't always read the fine print in the liner notes. However, I doubt I will be viewing it over and over like a performance video.
Now some critics out there are calling this "The Best Album Yet" and I won't go that far: Before These Crowded Streets was a masterpiece. If anything, this album is a second masterpiece. Springsteen had Nebraska and Born to Run, U2 had the Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. This album succeeds in a way that most bands' best albums succeed: This album is familiar...but at the same time, remarkably different.
Where BTCS utilized cellos and other stringed instruments to create a very dark feel, this album is all about Stefan and Carter. It is funky...in the good way...and that isn't an understatement...you hear Cameo screaming at you in the opening riffs of the first track...BTCS was polished...this album is raw. They complement each other perfectly in the band's repertoire.
What sets this apart from Remember Two Things, Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, Everyday, Busted Stuff and Stand Up is that this album is simply that...an album. Whereas the others were compilations of songs recorded at the same time and placed on the same CD without too much rhyme and reason (see what I did there?)...this album, like BTCS, is masterful when listened to as a whole.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm 37 and have a LOT of music that I've collected over the years. I don't get into most contemporary music. DMB is the best band in the last 20 years, period. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Donald A. Murphy
I love the record but was dissapointed that the last few tunes of the CD album did not make the LP cut. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Federico
I love this CD!!
The art work on the CD is by Dave Matthews himself. That is a very nice bonus!!
Great album. Arrived in flawless condition and sounds great.Published 5 months ago by World's Greatest Critic
Haven't played the vinyl yet. I'm on my second replacement now. The center punch and label on the 2nd LP for the first two copies I received are very sloppy. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rolo