I’m back today in Corporate Hell after a nice weekend away in Ottawa. Well, I’m actually in my basement office but I’m still dealing with the usual office bullshit so it totally counts as “Corporate Hell”. Of course, I can attempt minimize the overall “Hellaciousness” by putting on some dusty gold, beginning with this second find from our weekend visit to the Vinyl Destination store in Merrickville, Ontario, the ‘Demon In Disguise‘ album by David Bromberg.
This is David’s second album, released by Columbia Records in 1972, and contains songs that were recorded in the studio, as well as some that were recorded live. The most notable thing about the album (awesome tunes aside, that is) is that it also features five members of the Grateful Dead — Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Keith Godchaux, and Donna Jean Godchaux – on the tracks ‘Sharon‘ and ‘Demon In Disguise‘.
This album is from the tail end of an era when there were so many albums that were just plain excellent from beginning to end (I mean, just look at this list from 1972 alone: click HERE) and this album is no exception. Some might see the song listed here: ‘Mr. Bojangles‘ and think of the Hollywood schmaltz and crassness that Sammy Davis Jr. turned it into. Not so. David gives praise to it’s creator Jerry Jeff Walker, along with a funny story about it’s true origins, and then proceeds to rip your heart out with his beautiful rendition of it. I have both Jerry Jeff’s version and David’s….I prefer this one.
Bromberg’s songwriting and musicianship were at its peak, his band of amigos were all stellar musicians from other bands, they cover Irish fiddle tunes and reels (‘Medley of Irish Fiddle Tunes‘), folk (‘Jugband Song‘), bluegrass (‘Sugar In the Gourd‘), rock/carney/main street moan fusion (inside joke – you’ll get it when you hear the album) and even a waltz from Tennessee (‘Tennessee Waltz‘ – duh). And then there’s the classic ‘Sharon‘, which has become one of David’s regular staples during live performances. So there’s literally something for everyone. Really, this could be one of my all-time favorite Bromberg albums – wit, musicality, and reverence for the genre.
They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.