Approximately forty minutes isn't nearly enough to capture the sensation of the Derek Trucks Band concert experience, but the five impeccably recorded tracks that comprise Already Live
should be enough to placate the guitar hero-worshippers and other fans of the precocious wunderkind who find his recent studio work a bit too structured.
Even with its availability limited to indie record stores, this collection of concert takes captured in autumn of 2008 may not constitute a collector's item per se. After all it contains just the one rare cut, "I Done Got Over." But, like the selections from Already Free (Sony, 2009)"Get What You Deserve" and "I Know"this track exhibits as much electricity as craft. The same is true of "I'll Find My Way" where the DTB's extremely tight-knit musicianship, especially in the Todd Smallie-Yonrico Scott rhythm section, is as evident as vocalist Mike Mattison's soul. While Trucks' imaginative guitar work remains fully in the context of the ensemble, the density of his ideas as well as the intensity with which he creates them is often breathtaking.
The seventeen-and-a-half minutes devoted to that old chestnut "My Favorite Things" is certainly more to the liking of those improvisational minded and as it appears here along side more compact performances, should serve the purpose of opening ears (and retaining the loyalty of those who prefer more rather than less Trucks). The pony-tailed guitar prodigy has never been inclined to hog the spotlight, so the band wends its way into this number via Count Mbutu's percussion intro and Kofi Burbridge's acoustic piano tease before Trucks himself begins to embroider the familiar melody in his unorthodox manner. Conducting a sweet and patient exploration of the melody as the rhythm grows ever more pronounced, a full-blown group improvisation then ensues, elevating in waves of intensity that include soft flute solos (courtesy of Burbridge), with a few dollops of ambient noise toward the conclusion.
This performance is as well-structured in its own way, as the preceding tracks timed around four and six minutes. There remain those devotees of Derek Trucks who may not be satisfied until the man embarks upon some wholly instrumental project, similar to this, of which he is the focal point. Until that time, or upon the release of a more contemporary and equally comprehensive live document similar to the two-CD set Live at the Georgia Theatre (Sony 2003), Already Live should satiate broadminded music lovers and those newly initiated into recent DTB concert experience.
Personnel: Derek Trucks: guitar; Mike Mattison: lead vocals; Todd Smallie: bass,
vocals; Yonrico Scott: drums; Kofi Burbridge: keyboards, flute, vocals; Count M'Butu: