Release Year: 2015
- Lonesome Road
- I’m A Ram
- Make A Way
- Bottle Up And Go
- Let’s Burn Down The Cornfield
- Wild Gardenias
- Music Is Love
- Bought And Sold (Body And Soul)
- Go Down Water
- Cane River Waltz
- For Free
- Papa Mali – Vocals, Guitars
- Johnny Vidacovich – Drums
- Cassandra Faulconer – Bass
- Dave Easley – Pedal Steel
- Mike Dillon – Vibraphone, Tabla
- Josh Paxton – Piano, Organ
Reviewed In OffBeat
Brett Milano (April 2015 Issue)
Remember the Ted Nugent live album where he voices the immortal sentiment, “Anyone who wants to get mellow can turn around and get the fuck outta here?” Well, Papa Mali’s latest is tailor-made for everyone who left.
After a few years playing Dead-inspired music with 7 Walkers, Mali now jumps all the way into the laid-back California vibe. No coincidence that the title-track is borrowed from David Crosby’s solo debut (and served up faithfully, with chorus and congas). Further covers come from Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman.
The tempo seldom rises above an easy ramble. The closest he gets to working up a head of steam is on the Delta blues standard “Bottle Up & Go,” which is done as the Grateful Dead might have—in fact Cassandra Faulconer’s bassline here is a close cousin to “The Other One.”
There’s something to be said for keeping it tasteful, but maybe not quite this tasteful. The fine players involved—including drummer Johnny Vidacovich, keyboardist Josh Paxton and Mali’s own slide guitar—barely get a chance to strut their stuff.
At times, the funereal pace is completely appropriate: No matter how many Katrina songs you’ve heard, “Go Down Water” is an effective one, with its gospel choir, Superdome references and a ghostly distortion on Mali’s voice. But it would have worked better if it weren’t surrounded by others at nearly the same tempo, and if producer John Chelew didn’t use the same vocal effect on a handful of other tracks.
By the time he gets to Joni’s “For Free”—done on solo guitar a la Leo Kottke—you may be craving a bit more energy.