I’ve moved onto the next album not to mention the next wobbly pop (Sinister Minister, also from The Brimstone Brewing Company). I might even go for a walk later. Doubtful. But I’m thinking about it. Anyway, the next record in rotation is the ‘Midnight On the Water‘ album by the David Bromberg Band.
This album is what I refer to as a “Risk Buy”, meaning that’s it’s pretty beat up and in rough shape for sure but for, just $2.00 (it was rescued from the discount dustbin at the The Bop Shop in Rochester, NY while on a recent record excursion with HRH and Uncle Lance)…shit, it’s totally worth the risk. For if it’s in even moderate condition it’s still an excellent addition to anyone’s collection. In this case, mine.
This, his 4th album, was released by Columbia Records in 1975. It was later released on CD in 1994 as a double album, combined with his previous album ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ (click HERE).
So the first this you have to realize about this album is that the tracks listed on the back are in in no particular order. However, as you put the album on it all spills out in order and remains a milestone in the history of Americana.
Tighter arrangements and a well-rehearsed band made this a genre-hopping smorgasbord of bluegrass, country, 1950s pop, and Celtic fiddle tunes. Showing equal dexterity on guitar and fiddle, Bromberg frames 10 cover tunes and 1 original (‘The Joke’s on Me‘) with a historic collection of awe-inspiring players and singers. Members of his then-touring band, including Billy Novick (pennywhistle/clarinet), Evan Stover (violin/viola), Hugh McDonald (guitar/fiddle/bass), Steve Mosley (drums ) and arranger Peter Ecklund (cornet/trumpet/mellophone), set a foundation that continues to stand 35 years later.
As you begin to browse through the album credits, however, you will also begin to recognize a bunch of other not notable musicians including Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack (piano), Buddy Cage and “Red” Rhodes (pedal steel), Bonnie Raitt, EmmyLou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs.
Get better and better doesn’t it?
It’s about as eclectic, yet composed as any Bromberg album I’ve listened to. The man is an absolute mystic when it comes to putting together great song flows (note: never shout out a request at a Bromberg concert, lest you wan to be publicly chastised in front of 800+ strangers). Highlights include his cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘What a Wonderful World (This Would Be)‘ and his high octane version of the traditional ‘Yankee’s Revenge‘. Coincidentally (the two make up the one-two punch to kick off Side A) and ‘I Like To Sleep Late In the Morning‘ has all the Bromberg-esque sarcasm and humor as you would expect from his unique takes on musician life. Side B begins with the nice, NOLA swagger of ‘Don’t Put That Thing On Me‘ (featuring Dr. John) and ‘Mr. Blue‘ is about as mellow listening as one is likely to ever get at 5:22pm on a blissful Saturday evening. ‘Dark Hollow‘ is just a treat.
So, a a $2.00 gamble and nothing (so far) that would ever deter me from ever listening to it again, I’d day the risk was pretty well worth it.