Gov’t Mule & Reviews of Beyoncé and TV on the Radio

Gov’t Mule, one of the hardest rocking jam bands around, joins Jim and Greg for a performance and conversation. Plus, the latest music news, reviews and a Desert Island Jukebox pick.

Gov't Mule
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Music News

It has been one year since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region. The music community has responded in a number of ways over the past 365 days. In fact, the response was quicker and more dramatic than that following the events of September 11, Jim and Greg note. The most high-profile Katrina project was the collaboration between Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint. Toussaint is one of New Orleans' most noted producers and musicians, and, like many of the city's citizens, he had to flee during the storm and has yet to be able to return. He and Costello wrote their album's title track, "The River in Reverse," just weeks after Katrina hit. Check out Jim and Greg's review of that album.

Other artists inspired by Hurricane Katrina include Paul Simon, Mos Def and Bruce Springsteen, who decided to add new hurricane-related lyrics to the song "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Time and Live," during his live performances. Rapper Master P also just announced that he will be debuting a stage play, "Uncle Willy’s Family," which he describes as a hip-hop  gospel  comedy play about Hurricane Katrina. It will star the rapper, as well as his son Lil Romeo, Silkk The Shockker, and Terry Miles. Now he can add playwright to his ever-expanding résumé. But the post-Katrina project that most moved Jim and Greg was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's version of Marvin Gaye's 1971 concept album What’s Going On. Gaye's songs were inspired by many of the country's problems at the time, including poverty, the environment, urban decay and race conflicts. It's interesting to see how applicable his words are today.

00:12:16 Review: Beyoncé


One of pop's reigning divas, Beyoncé Knowles, is releasing a new album the day after her 25th birthday. The aptly titled B’Day (not to be confused with this), is Beyoncé's second solo effort since splitting from girl group Destiny’s Child. This is a big year for Beyoncé—besides the new album, she is also starring in the forthcoming movie-musical Dreamgirls and still going strong in the role of Mrs. Jay-Z. Jim suspects that all of Beyoncé's other concerns overshadowed her interest in the music on B’Day. With the exception of soul-sampled songs like "Sugar Mama," Jim thinks the album is an unfocused mess and gives it a Trash It. Greg had high hopes for Beyoncé (who can boast singing and dancing ability as well as a pretty face) but her current message is lost on Greg. He can't understand why the former "Independent Woman" would decide to play such a victim. Therefore, despite some good beats and good singing, he has to give B’Day a Burn It.

Gov’t Mule

Warren Haynes and his band Gov’t Mule join Jim and Greg on the show this week. Haynes first became well-known as Duane Allman's replacement in the Allman Brothers. He played guitar and sang with the band until 1997, when he left to form Gov't Mule. He and drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Andy Hess recently launched a new tour, and this show marks the group's very first performance with everyone together—though the band is no stranger to touring. They have a huge concert following, which is why many include Gov't Mule in the jam band category. You won't hear Jim and Greg utter that term too often though.

This tour coincides with the release of the band's new album High and Mighty, and they play two new songs from the record, "Mr. High and Mighty" and "Children of the Earth," on the show. Jim and Greg note that Warren is "pretty ticked off" on a lot of the record. Warren explains that despite a potential backlash, it's important more now than ever for citizens and musicians to express themselves and be political.


In true rock and roll style, Jim makes a cheeky Desert Island Jukebox pick this week. As discussed above, this week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Many people would have gone with a solemn, or even political track -- but, as listeners know, Jim is not many people, and he can't resist choosing R.E.M.'s "It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." Jim likens the Dadaist song to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," a similar surreal expression of social discontent. The song comes from R.E.M.'s pre-major label era, which Jim believes is their best time period. He also offers bit of insight into one of the song's most famous lines: "Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!" Jim wrote the biography of rock critic Lester Bangs, and learned that this line was written after Michael Stipe and Peter Buck attended Bangs' birthday party. Hungry and poor, the young band members were hoping to get a meal out of the event, but were only offered birthday cake and jelly beans. Then an over-served Bangs insulted his fan Stipe and started a food fight. Make sense now?

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