Holy ghost time!
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Robert Randolph in which we talked about The Word's 2015 album, Soul Food. During our conversation, Robert mentioned that the band played long jams in the studio that were edited down into shorter tracks for the album. Above you can listen to a 17+ minute version of the instrumental "Early In The Moanin Time" via Vanguard Records' YouTube account.
This is a spectacular jam, showcasing what makes The Word one of the most compelling and impressive collections of talent ever assembled. Robert Randolph leads the way on that very distinctive pedal steel guitar, while the North Mississippi Allstars — Luther Dickinson on guitar, Cody Dickinson on drums, and Chris Chew on bass — and keyboardist John Medeski come together like a classic "Memphis Soul Stew."
Medeski's moody piano part with Randolph's wailing slide guitar at around the 7 minute mark of the extended version became the starting point for the gorgeous album version of the track. Here you can stream that tidy 3 minute album cut, via Spotify:
The Word are a band that can hold a groove while throwing in all kinds of tasty licks and fills as the tension builds and releases several times over. There are only a handful of bands in rock history who can play music that even compares to this, falling somewhere between the soulful, exploratory rock of The Allman Brothers Band and the funky, epic jazz of "Electric" Miles Davis, circa 1970. Using a foundation of gospel music, the guys bring their talent and energy together to make something really special.
For The Word's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.
Source: Vanguard Records YouTube