Night of Joy Album reviews.
Release Date: 03.23.04
Record label: Sanctuary Records
Still Jamming After 20 Years
by: tim wardyn
Widespread Panic has been jamming for over 20 years and they show no signs of slowing up. Although they are taking 2004 off, they have left the music scene with a live album for our listening pleasure. Night of Joy highlights two nights of live performances with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The album is only nine songs in length but it is not short by any means. When a jam-band puts out a live album, the chances of that album being short in time is like the chances of Marlon Brando going on the Atkins Diet. Not likely.
Night of Joy starts out with the thoughtfully-titled "Thought Sausage" which is also the shortest of the nine tracks at 5:31. Having never heard Widespread Panic before I was taken slightly aback by the raspy vocals of John Bell. But after listening to the album several times I have grown not only accustomed to the sound, but quite fond of it. A.K.A. I dig it!
"Use Me" is a wonderful adaptation of the Bill Withers penned classic. It brings a fresh rock twist to this tune. Add the blaring horns of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and you have a cover that one-ups Hootie and the Blowfish's version (and I really like their rendition).
"Bust It Big" starts out with a wonderful piano intro and a bass line that you can't help but move to. The entire 9:05 is filled with solos from almost every instrument. This is the most delightful song on the album, especially with the minute and a half acappella outro that is one of the most satisfying closings to a song that I have heard in a long time.
Some of the tracks are a little too long. Arleen is 10:21 and Rebirtha is 17:12. But what else can you expect from a jam-band.
"Night of Joy" is just that; a joy to listen to. Even thought this is Widespread Panic's 14th album (including two with Vic Chesnutt under the name Brute) and second live album, this is the first time that I have ever heard any of their music. And I am pleasantly surprised. 20-Apr-2004 9:20 AM