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Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King

2009-06-22 12:02
Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
That's because he's a cultural hero born on our soil, who not only tops the charts in the USA, but fights from the left politically; who has shown he has a sense of humour about himself, and has the social sauvvy to guest on a TV programme like House to broaden his already massive sex appeal.

So the question is, is Big Whiskey really as good as they say, or is it - like Stand Up (and unlike his brilliant solo album Some Devil) - one of those albums you'll find yourself rating at the time, but yawning through when it comes to listening to it two years later - because who wants to hear a patriotic protest song years after the anger's just a distant memory?

The answer, to stop messing around, is that Big Whiskey is brilliant. Dave Matthews' brilliance has always been about three things: Sex appeal, intellectual class, and a big-impact band on whose fireworks Dave's run-on lines surf and sparkle, from opening lyric to final drum-roll. The brass is brassy, the drums hiss and smoke, and you can hear the sweat in the carniverous, filthy-hot “Shake Me Like a Monkey”: “I like my coffee with toast and jelly / but I'd rather be licking from your back to your belly”... and every straight woman in the room is toast, with jelly for knees.

The big single, "Funny the Way it Is" is a musing on life's accidents, simultaneous realities and the random nature of privilege – newly mintage vintage DMB. While Some Devil was all about loss, DMB celebrates romantic love and life in all its fragility with sometimes lurid passion on Big Whiskey, balancing themes of freedom and flying with the twist of posession and obsession, and alternating rocking out to a the climax on "Time Bomb", with uneasy moral meditations fit for a rocking chair in front of the fire on "Lying in the Hands of God".

*Apparently a tribute (both musically and in its mardi-grass themed cover design) to sax player LeRoi Moore (whose nickname was Groogrux King, and who passed away after an accident near the band's hometown) Big Whiskey is awesome in its own right - but it can be fun to know this stuff. Speaking of knowing stuff, there's nothing on Google about what "Groogrux" is all about.

Dave Matthews is a great craftsman, so he doesn't make anything bad. But while always being quite good that doesn't make Dave a God, it's still hard listen to his music with anything less biased than three parts loyalty and one part critical judgement.
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nick paul 2009-06-23 11:07 AM
Sex appeal, intellectual class, a big-impact band, and of course a breezy disinclination to let a little thing like melodic coherence get in the way of a 10 minute triangle solo, I think you meant. Love your work though, Jean.
dave 2009-06-23 12:04 PM
If the album's half as good as this review, it's worth a listen. Nice!
preshen govender 2009-06-23 01:16 PM
  • Rating:
Great music to make love to

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