TAKE OFF YOUR FLIP-FLOPS AND GET READY TO JAM. Widespread Panic’s first album was an attempt at greatness…and it came pretty close. Space Wrangler has been blaring out on warm summer nights, long road trips and in freshman dorm rooms for decades now, and is finally seeing a long deserved reissue that will only be available from independent record stores. Starting strong with “Chilly Water” (a true classic from their live show) the album never stops with the rock and roll goodness. “Travelin’ Light”, “Coconut”, “Stop-Go”, “Porch Song”, “Driving Song” and the title track have all been in regular rotation in Panic’s live sets for the last 20 years and it’s clear why. The album ends on a slow and bluesy note with the Robert Johnson and/or David Byrne written, two-part song “Me and the Devil Blues/Heaven”. Panic adds their own country jam touch to each with the first half sounding like a version of The Wire theme song after awhile. Front man John Bell does a solid job of capturing Johnson’s passion through the classic tale of selling his soul to Satan. Branching off from the roots set by The Allman Brothers Band and The Grateful Dead, the band is tight and focused on creating timeless music.
- music label: Volcano Entertainment 2014
reviewed by boumtje-boumtje 072414