"Live at Myrtle Beach"
Never mind balancing the books. If Widespread Panic keeps cranking out live recordings at the current pace, the band may have to hire an accountant just to keep track of its releases.
"Live at Myrtle Beach," the fourth in a recent spate of concert albums, is a sprawling, double-disc set that isn't likely to disappoint many "Spreadheads," though a significant number of them must be feeling financially pinched by now. The tune list is representative, blending concert favorites (beginning with "Ain't Life Grand" and ending with "Chilly Water") with solid covers (Robert Johnson's "Stop Breakin' Down Blues" and New Riders of the Purple Sage "Dirty Business"). What's more, nothing here will tarnish the group's reputation for endless jamming. "Papa's Home," the first of the six encores recorded at this November 2003 concert in South Carolina, clocks in at nearly 24 minutes.
Those looking for additional proof of guitarist George McConnell's worthiness -- he was recruited after Michael Houser, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2002, became ill -- will likely find it on the freewheeling Johnson tribute, one of three tracks that also feature welcome cameos by guest guitarist John Keane. Come to think of it, "Stop Breakin' Down Blues" wouldn't sound at all out of place on the classic southern rock soundtrack to Rob Zombie's new psychobilly horror flick, "The Devil's Rejects."
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Saturday at Nissan Pavilion.