Live recordings really are the way to show what the Derek Trucks Band does best. Onstage, its members play off each other as well as any band today, and few jam bands know how to carry it off as well as Trucks and his group.
Part of the beauty of this band is its versatility. Funky, horn-driven soul music has become a staple of its sets, and cuts like “I’ll Find My Way” and “Down Don’t Bother Me” are showcases. Both feature nasty, slashing slide guitar from Trucks and soulful vocals from singer Mike Mattison. The rhythm section throws in plenty of gospel overtones on songs like “Sailing On” and the wonderful “Days Is Almost Gone.” If you need more proof that Trucks is one of his generation’s best guitarists, check out his fills and solo in the latter.
The closer on each of this set’s two discs gives an idea of the ground the band covers. The first finishes with “Afro Blue,” a Mongo Santamaria jazz classic often associated with John Coltrane that here gets the full treatment, with Trucks supplying stunning solos and Kofi Burbridge adding lovely f lute. Disc two closes with the Derek and the Dominos classic “Anyday,” and this version sheds none of its raw rock-and-roll power.
If Trucks keeps this band together for the long haul, it just may one day be seen as “the next Allman Brothers.”
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.