http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/31d1d9e01a3613eecb42588d7965aaa6f0b93ae8.jpg Under The Table & Dreaming

Dave Matthews Band

Under The Table & Dreaming

RCA Records
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
February 2, 1998

In its '70s heyday southern rock was huge but hardly monolithic — under its pillars dwelt the guitar swagger of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Dixie Dregs' jazz fusion and Sea Level's literate funk. Then, dealt fatal blows by the passing of crucial Allmans and Skynyrd greats, it crumbled, and the region, led by Athens, Ga., and Chapel Hill, N.C., turned alternative. Now, with the H.O.R.D.E. concerts and a new appetite for mammoth bluesy jamming, there's a revival of Southern-rock spirit. And especially of the pyrotechnics its originators perfected.

A Georgia sextet, Widespread Panic come closest to capturing some of the Allmans' grandeur — fat organ, fluid guitar, dense percussion — but they summon up, too, a tad of the Grateful Dead's laid-back charm. Players so fiery that they don't show off (check the instrumental "Blackout Blues"), they can craft a sweet single ("Ain't Life Grand") and can also do serious damage with the blues ("Junior").

South African expatriate Dave Matthews leads a Virginia quintet whose major-label debut is one of the most ambitious releases of '94. With an arsenal that includes reeds and violin backing Matthews' gorgeous vocals, they've got chops to kill. But it's the complex harmonies and subtle rhythmic shifts of songs like "Satellite" and "The Best of What's Around" that really slay. Almost unclassifiable, the Dave Matthews Band sound like four or five groups in one.

While the Tractors hail from Oklahoma, their sound is bona fide Dixie fried. Remakes of the country hoot "Settin' the Woods on Fire" and Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days" set the down-home tone, and singer-guitarist Steve Ripley's originals are in toe-tapping keeping with that kind of swing. "Tryin' to Get to New Orleans" and "Doreen" are ragged and absolutely right; Ripley's own "The Blue Collar Rock" sums up the Tractors' authentic drive.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

    This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

    More Song Stories entries »