Rusted Root

Rusted Root Live

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Recorded during Rusted Root's Welcome to My Party tour in 2003, this double-disc presents seven of that album's 11 cuts, as well as 15 others in fine, raw, loose-groove, spunky form. The material from the aforementioned album comes off far better in this setting; the inherent nocturnal funk slithers and pop and polyrhythmic invention and a slippery, driving bass throb guiding the band into the backbone slipping ether. In these songs, one segues into another -- or gives the appearance of doing so -- as "Welcome to My Party" cascades into Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," and shapeshifts into "Cat Turned Blue" from 1994's When I Woke seamlessly, funky insistence intact, then comes back to the present with "Women Got My Money," that feels informed by Dr. John's "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" in concert, while pumping the gritty soul of "Weave" into the cover of Neil Young's "Powderfinger." This is a stunner; in the grain of Michael Glabicki's voice one can hear the rambling ghost of the Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce if he were backed by the souled-out excellence of RR's Liz Berlin and Jenn Wertz. Disc two kicks off with a beautiful reading of "Send Me on My Way," that is followed with the massive percussion workout "Ecstatic Drums," which segues into a stunning version of "Ecstasy." In other words, there's no let up in quality. There's the nocturnal voodoo crawl of "Food & Creative Love," the raucous, celebratory "Cruel Sun," the moving acoustic guitar shimmer in "Scattered," and the trance-like snake dance orgy of "Back to the Earth" that closes the set, just to name a few. Rusted Root takes a lot of unnecessary critical crap for their alterna-tribe appearance, but the bottom line is that this band throws down musically and has continued to grow and explore. The evidence of that is right here.

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