Well, with Restless Mind, Murali Coryell cements his Southern-tinged bluesrocker status in stone. More so than in past releases—Live (here), for instance. There's a kudzu-raw tone to a lot of this album, as though Murali recorded the affair by moonlight beside a Florida bayou, gators yawping in the distance, cougars growling just out of sight. Then the intricate string work of the title cut, surprisingly Trey Anastasio-ish, sidles in amid a mello-tone vocal exposition where mind and mood lay back into better times tinged with existentially earthy regret. I hesitate to call this disc a nexus point for the gent, but there's something I can't quite put my finger on that definitely marks a turning of the page.
This time around, too, I'm catching a much stronger wave of Capricorn label nostalgia, back to the days of the imprint's first incarnation when Grinderswitch, Stillwater, Wet Willie, and ensembles strongly influenced by soul were stomping around the landscape. This is hardly surprising, as the era was never properly fleshed out and still needs a good deal of re-evocation. Derek Trucks has taken up half the yoke admirably, but all his daunting fretwork tends to obscure the fact whereas Coryell's uncluttered compositions—catch Crime of Opportunity, for instance—nail the vibe securely to the whipping post.
That cut also amply demonstrates how slyly the gent's singing and chord work pull ears and hearts into the atmospherics, nearly emotionally narcotic until the close-out leadwork erupts and you remember "Oh hell yeah, this mofo can paint in the sides and corners as well!". My favorite cut, though? Restless Mind. The more I listen to it, the more haunting it becomes, and the arrangement's killer, neither too much nor too little of anything, perfectly engraved. I can't say the same of the take on Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On, too overdone, but then there's the heavily Duke Robillardy Tag Along, yow!, and even Sex Maniac, with its ribald reflections on certain liaisons we boyz remember all too well from our youths, don't we, guys? Yep, we do, and…oops!…oh geez!, the wives and others wimmens are listening in! Quick, sprint to the window with index finger pointing frantically as you shout "Whoa! Was that a flying saucer?!?! C'mere, babe, take a look at this!" Maybe it'll distract her sufficiently to buy a little time as you burn those photographs stashed away behind the armoire.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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