Now that Phase One is complete I can proceed with Phase Two of today’s workout program, sip at my chocolate protein shake and complete another vinyl-induced functional strength and core workout on my basement floor under the careful supervision of the “Coach”, Tina the Cat. My record of choice this afternoon is the self-titled album by David Bromberg.
Released in the year of my all exalted birth (1972), this was the multi-instrumentalist Bromberg’s first solo album released by Columbia Records.
Eclectic as always, the tunes range stylistically from jug-band folk to blues and rock. ‘Last Song for Shelby Jean‘ is a lonesome ballad to begin the workout and, in a complete juxtaposition, ‘Suffer to Sing the Blues‘ is a self-deprecating humorous take on the bluesman’s ethos. ‘The Holdup‘, co-written with George Harrison, is also a whimsical tune with a southwestern flavor, the arrangement complete with Mariachi trumpets. ‘Sammy’s Song‘ is a painfully sensitive and affecting coming-of-age ballad where ‘Dehlia‘ is a sparse yet moving rendition of a traditional country-blues. When Bromberg sadly croons “all I have is gone”, it’s hard to know if he’s referring to Dehlia or “gone” itself. Both ‘Pine Tree Woman‘ and ‘Mississippi Blues‘ are both perfect examples of the old school blues tradition recreated for a more (then) modern era.
This album certainly holds up as one of David’s most compelling studio sets. Then again, I’d listen to an album of him playing Christmas carols with his armpits and probably still love it. Pity it’s only available as an expensive import now, but at least the Japanese have enough sense and taste to appreciate it. And now, with both phases complete, I can happily and contentedly move on to Phase 3: the eating of homemade apple muffins and applesauce.