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Don't Tell The Band

  out of 4 Music Review: Don't Tell The Band

Artist: Widespread Panic
Genre: Rock
Release Date: June 2001

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
No rating supplied

This CD was my introduction to the group Widespread Panic so I had to do my homework before listening. I loved the name so we were already off to a good start. From the first song on "Don't Tell The Band" all the way through to the end I was totally impressed. This band embodies the word diverse. Over ten years ago they picked up were the Grateful Dead left off and they have been pumping out great music ever since. They have released six albums previous to this one. I must say that there were moments during the course of listening to this recording when I thought of Jerry Garcia and the boys.

Widespread Panic has a huge and faithful following, and its no wonder. They play an eclectic brand of music to say the least. With a compelling combination of rock, blues, bluegrass, funk, jazz-fusion, and any other style of music you could possibly imagine, every song is an adventure to look forward to. 'Little Lilly' is an opening rocker that will get your juices flowing. On 'Imitation Leather Shoes' not a thing is held back and they cut loose with another flavorful rocker. I say flavorful because every song has its own special flavor and sound, its incredible. The booklet that comes with the CD is as interesting as the music. Why would you put a picture of a blowfish on the first page? (There is more just wait and see) Who the hell knows? For that matter, why not? I think that is the general attitude of any jam band, and that is the main reason the music sounds so good. The approach is 'Let's try this and see how it develops'; hence the freeform jam band style and the originality and different sounds that are offered on every tune. 'Casa Del Grillo' is an amazing amalgamation of culture and rock-blues. No doubt the percussionist Domingo S. Ortiz had something to do with that song being created.

John Bell sounds in good voice at all times, Michael Houser plays a killer guitar, and David Schools plays a walk-the-picket-fence (you can really pull out all of his parts from the rest of the music) style bass that sounds amazing together with Todd Nance's drums. Domingo S. Ortiz is an essential part of the entire sound that the group endeavors to create; he is the final piece of the puzzle that makes this band a complete and cohesive unit. Having a percussionist that plays on the level he does presents entirely different aspects of the music that otherwise would never have the opportunity to develop. When the opportunity does present itself to improvise every member of the band is right their to contribute.

This could very well be the best album this group has ever made, but then again I have nothing to compare it to. I did read some rave reviews on various sites on the Internet. Psst…don't tell the band but this is one of the best albums of 2001.

Note: There is also another version of this album available with an additional bonus disc with live tracks.

1. Little Lilly (Widespread Panic) - 5:07
2. Give (Widespread Panic) - 3:29
3. Imitation Leather Shoes (Widespread Panic) - 4:14
4. This Part of Town (Widespread Panic) - 5:20
5. Sometimes (Crawford) - 3:32
6. Thought Sausage (Widespread Panic) - 4:39
7. Down (Widespread Panic) - 3:52
8. Big Wooly Mammoth/Tears of a Woman (Widespread Panic) - 6:45
9. Casa del Grillo (Widespread Panic) - 6:30
10. Old Joe (Widespread Panic) - 3:50
11. Action Man (Widespread Panic) - 4:30
12. Don't Tell the Band (Widespread Panic) - 4:11



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