The Dave Mathews Band’s Under the Table and Dreaming [discogs.com], was one of the first two albums I ever owned on CD. I purchased Under the Table, along with Counting Crows August and Everything After [discogs.com], in or around Gulf Shores, Alabama on summer holiday in 1995. It was on the same trip that I got my first portable CD player; A black Magnavox (I already had a boom box with a CD player but I only ever borrowed CDs from others and copied them to tapes — tapes I listened to on a yellow Sony Walkman Sport). I had a copy of Under The Table on tape already, being that the DMB is from my hometown it was hard not to have a copy if you were of high school or college age.
I spent the whole car ride back to Charlottesville listening to those two CDs over and over sitting in the dark of the family van. That’s around 18 hours on the road, and I don’t remember how many hours the battery gods granted me but a lot of it was spent listening to Under the Table. So between being one of my first albums and being from one of my all time favorite bands it holds a very high position of my list of favorite albums.
When I was a teenager I listened mostly to the first seven songs, Best of What’s Around, What Would You Say, Satellite, Rhyme & Reason, Typical Situation, Dancing Nancies, and Ants Marching. Always stopping at Lover Lay Down and starting over. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I was a teenage boy and Lover Lay Down was too awkward, but more likely it was too slow. Whatever the reason was I rarely ever got to Jimi Thing, Warehouse, Pay for What Your Get, or #34.
It wasn’t until around 1997 or `98 when I was listening too Under the Table mostly in the wee hours of the morning after nights of clubbing that I really feel in love with these later songs. Somewhere along the line Warehouse became my favorite. I can, and do, listen to the entire album from start to finish regularly and can zone out to any of these songs on single repeat for hours. I think this album as a whole is the best studio release DMB ever did, with the hours and hours of live shows behind these songs. I know many people prefer the follow up album Crash, and it’s good but Under the Table will always be my favorite.
The only thing that can compare is the unreleased The Lillywhite Sessions [discogs.com] with its darker, almost more jazz like, sound than their version of those songs that was released later as Busted Stuff [discogs.com].
Ready to listen? Here is the album on Apple Music:
And on Spotify: