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Record Review - 1 February 13 2002

Grizzled headbangers who thought rock died the day Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple have a reason to enter a record store again. Pull out those ratty headbands and light up the patchouli because Gov't Mule glorifies those good/bad old days when Grand Funk Railroad sold out Shea Stadium and power trios were cool.

A strikingly varied tribute to deceased Mule bassist Allen Woody, The Deep End Vol. 1 inducts 12 of Woody's favorite bass players, who swimmingly play on a song apiece. Vol. 1 kicks off a trilogy.

The Deep End's songs shift gears moderately depending on who lays down the bottom. Among others, Chris Wood from Medeski Martin & Wood kicks "Sco-Mule" (with guitarist John Scofield) into a funky MMW pool, Jack Bruce pounds out a Cream-ish "Fool's Moon," John Entwistle plunks Mule's Who buttons, Sly and the Family Stone's Larry Graham joins in on vocals for a "Dance to the Music"-inspired "Life on the Outside" and the irrepressible Bootsy Collins does the same Bootsy imitation he's done for years. Woody himself even appears, closing with a plodding, Hendrixy version of Grand Funk's "Sin's a Good Man's Brother."

The effect of this sprawling, sometimes lumbering 80-minute dinosaur (early versions include a second disc of live tracks, CD ROM info and videos) is like listening to a Rhino collection of classic '70s rock.

Gov't Mule plays the Classic Center in Athens Thurs., Feb. 14.??