Monday, December 30, 2013

David Bromberg - Wanted Dead Or Alive (1974 us, exceptional mix of country, folk, blues, dixie, roots 'n' roll, 2004 reissue)

With their masterfully executed mix of America’s musical roots, the albums released by David Bromberg in the mid-1970s remain as much fun as they were more than a third of a century ago.

Though his work with Dylan (on New Morning, Self-Portrait, and the forgettable Dylan, which used discarded tracks from the previous sessions) had led to a contract with Columbia Records and members of the Grateful Dead had played on his first two albums, his roots-oriented approach was obscured by the soft pop-dominated hit parade of the early-1970s. 

Those who craved and understood great musicianship loved those albums, but sales were nowhere up to major label standards. Reaching into what he does best, Bromberg came up with an album full of spirit, high energy and musical diversity. Opening with a galloping reprisal of “The Holdup,” his collaboration with George Harrison, Bromberg and cohorts, including the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Keith Godchaux and Bill Kreutzmann and backup singers Tracy Nelson and the Sweet Inspirations, rarely let up. Bessie Smith’s 1929 blues hit, “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair,” Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City,” and a medley of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” and L. Jordan’s “Church Bell Blues” are resurrected with new life.

A Dylan tune is thrown in, as well – “Wallflower,” which, although it had previously been recorded by Doug Sahm, with Bromberg on guitar, did not appear on a Dylan album until the release of The Bootleg Series – Volumes 1-3 (Rare And Unreleased) in 1991. While his vocals were anything but luscious, Bromberg’s deep, growl-like singing made every word heartfelt. Showing the depths of his songwriting with four self-composed tunes (“Someone Else’s Blues,” “Danger Man,” “The Main Street Moan,” and “The New Lee Highway Blues”), Bromberg uses the guitar picking styles that he had learned as a student and protégé of bluesman Reverend Gary Davis as springboards for discovery.
by Craig Harris
1. The Holdup (D. Bromberg, George Harrison) - 3:06
2. Someone Else's Blue (D. Bromberg) - 8:02
3. Danger Man (D. Bromberg) - 3:09
4. The Main Street Moan (D. Bromberg) - 5:16
5. Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair (George Brooks) - 4:56
6. Statesboro Blues-Church Bell Blues (Blind Willie McTell, Luke Jordan, Arr. by D. Bromberg) - 5:12
7. Wallflower (Bob Dylan) - 3:00
8. Kansas City (Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller) - 4:00
9. The New Lee Highway Blues (D. Bromberg) - 5:38

*David Bromberg - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Steve Burgh - Bass
*Peter Ecklund - Trumpet, Mellophones
*Joe Ferguson - Alto, Baritone Saxophone
*Hungria Garcia - Timbales
*Jerry Garcia - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Keith Godchaux - Piano
*Jeff Gutcheon - Piano
*Bill Kreutzmann - Drums
*Phil Lesh - Bass
*Tony Markellis - Bass
*Steve Mosley - Bass
*John Payne - Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
*Neil Rossi - Fiddle
*Andy Statman - Mandolin, Tenor Saxophone
*Jay Ungar - Fiddle
*Winnie Winston - Banjo
*Jack Lee - Background Vocals
*Andy McMahon - Background Vocals
*Tracy Nelson - Background Vocals
*The Sweet Inspirations - Background Vocals

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