Category Archives: DMB

Album Review: Recently

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When a band is first starting out it isn’t uncommon for them to re-release certain songs across multiple releases. This is true of the title track on Dave Matthews Band’s second release, “Recently”.

This EP is another series of live recordings, these ones all done in the bands home state of Virginia. The title track, is a reedit of the same song that was released 6 months earlier on the bands debut, “Remember Two Things”.

Back when we all still relied on physical copies of discs to play our music, “Recently” was one of the few albums that my friend Nate had on the job site, so it was played often. Those CDs were played so frequently that they were literally ‘played to death’, and often had to be replaced. I’m pretty sure that “Recently” may have been repurchased a few times over the course of those jobs… (Luckily, soon after, we discovered the CD-R!)

One of the tracks on the EP is a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, which was made famous by both him and Jimi Hendricks. I’ll accept any flaming that y’all have to offer when I say that I like DMB’s version better by a mile. From the slowed down intro verse, to the final crescendo, it’s a much more layered song than either Dylan’s or Hendricks’s. It’s actually one of the tracks that got my friend Nate hooked on the band.

The second and third songs on the album are again acoustic Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds songs, another sneak peak of the official Dave and Tim live releases that have put an awesome stripped down flavor on the catalogue. Also, on this EP is the first official release of what is my personal favorite DMB song, Halloween. Halloween is a fairly atypical DMB song. It’s very guttural, dark, and full of angst. It was written about one of Dave’s ex-girlfriends, who he had repeatedly asked to marry him, but she kept refusing. Halloween was written as the middle finger to her face.

Since the first DMB show that I went to in 2005, I’ve gone to multiple shows every year since, except for the year the band took off from touring. In all those shows it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that I finally was at a show where they played Halloween. Once I realized what they were playing, it all came right back to hearing it for the first time while 25′ in the air on a ladder painting the trim boards on a house in rural Western Massachusetts. While I will probably deny it, my friend Tif who was at that show with me says I screamed like a girl at a Taylor Swift concert.

The importance of the “Recently” EP in the band’s discography cannot be denied, as it led to the record deal that helped catapult the Dave Matthews Band in to the public’s eye, which in turn was the stepping stone for launching a successful multi-decade long career.

Remember Two Things

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I actually remember the first time I ever heard Remember Two Things. It was the summer of 2005, and I had just gotten home from Saratoga Springs, NY after going to my very first Dave Matthews Band concert.
Before that day, I had been a fan, but more of a casual fan. I had heard all the studio albums and a few live ones that had been released up to that point countless times, with the exception of Remember Two Things. I remember thinking of the album as just a demo, being that a number of the songs were re-released on subsequent albums (it wasn’t much later in life that I learned an appreciation for demos).
When the band started playing that evening at SPAC, they opened with a song I didn’t recognize, but everyone else seemed to know. In the pre-smartphone era, there wasn’t a way to Google on the go, so I took a mental note and when I got home I did an internet search.
It turned out the song was “One Sweet World”, and the very next day I was at our local record store buying a copy of Remember Two Things.
The album cover has an autostereogram image on it, which all through growing up I had never been able to see. (Autostereograms are those ‘Magic Eye’ 3D pictures that were really popular in the 90’s.) I spent hours going cross-eyed before I was finally able to see the hidden image. I won’t spoil it for you in case you haven’t seen it yourself yet, but trust me, it’s there.
   Remember Two Things was released on November 9, 1993 on the bands own label, Bama Rags. In 1997, after the band made it pretty big, their major label, RCA Records, re-released the album, helping it go platinum in 2002.
The 2014 re-re-release of the album has four different sections. The first six tracks are full band live recordings that were taped at two separate venues in Virginia and one in Massachusetts. The next two tracks are full band studio recordings, recorded at Flat Five Studios, in Salem, VA. Then there are two more live recordings, but are done acoustically, with just Dave Matthews on rhythm guitar and vocals, and long time friend and collaborator Tim Reynolds on lead guitar. Finally, there are two bonus tracks, early studio recordings of two tracks that would be reworked a bit and released on the debut studio album, Under the Table and Dreaming.
One of the things that had always struck me about this album is the quality of the live recordings. Remember, these were recorded at small venues, in the early 90’s (pre-digital era). Yet the instrument levels don’t wash out the vocals, the ambient and crowd noises don’t thunder over the band… It’s an high standard set right from the get go for the live official releases from DMB.
One of the other things that really stands out to me is the palpable energy given by each band member. You really get a sense of the youth that the band possessed when this was recorded.
More than twenty years later, these songs have all developed their own unique flavor that only time and experience can bring. Listening to these songs in their early incarnations, slightly simpler and stripped down versions, gives a look into the innate talents that each member of DMB possessed from the start, and gives you a baseline with which to view the musical progress of the band from then until now.

Daily Dose of Dave

3/18/14
American Baby
Weekend on the Rocks

There’s those thought mazes that, when you take the time to analyze them, just make absolutely no sense at all. What I mean by a thought maze is, the journey that our brain takes from point A to point B to arrive at a thought.
For example, today I was talking to a friend who retold a joke that I had heard a while back. My thought process took me back to when I first remembered hearing the joke, and had flashes of the faces of the people in the room at that time. One of those peoples faces, a girl that I’ve known for some time now, triggered the memory of a conversation that I had earlier that week about her, in which someone told me that they heard she was pregnant, which brought the word “baby” to mind. 2.3 seconds later I was subconsciously humming ‘American Baby’, causing me to stop for a second and trace back how a joke about a clever midget led me to the song in what seemed like an instantaneous jump. I often find that stopping and tracing back through these mazes proves insightful into my own mind.

Daily Dose of Dave

3/17/14
Old Dirt Hill
Live from Mile High Music Festival

I spent much of today hanging out with one of my oldest friends and his wife and kid. While you know that time passes and we all grow up, there are still those people in your life that bring it right back to those younger, wilder times. Just being around certain people sends you back in time, and you are right back to the mischief and mayhem. While the temperance of age keeps it from getting out of controll, all the fun remains. This song reminds me of those times.

Daily Dose of Dave

3/16/14
Rye Whiskey
Europe 2009

Passing thru my hometown town today I ran into my friend Bubbs, and in Great Barrington fashion we wound up down by the River, started a fire, and drank a bit of whiskey…. Typical GB day for sure!