9 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

David Bromberg’s second album is dominated by the singer/guitarist’s own songs, but his original tunes often sound like they could have come from Harry Smith’s famed Anthology of American Folk Music. The fiddle- and mandolin-filled album opener, “Hardworkin’ John,” could easily have hailed from the traditional Southern string/jug-band repertoire that goes back to the 19th century. In fact, there’s even a Bromberg-penned tune here called “Jugband Song,” a bluesy affair full of acoustic guitar and mandolin fingerpicking that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a record by an old-school jug-band giant like, say, Gus Cannon. Members of The Grateful Dead back Bromberg on the more modern-sounding electrified outings, like the lascivious, blues-rock burner “Sharon” and the title track. A trio of cover tunes closes the album: the classic country ballad “The Tennessee Waltz,” folk-rock troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker’s signature tune “Mr. Bojangles,” and the Tut Taylor bluegrass instrumental “Sugar in the Gourd.” All three were recorded live, giving a glimpse at the kind of excitement and emotion Bromberg could kick up in front of an audience.

EDITORS’ NOTES

David Bromberg’s second album is dominated by the singer/guitarist’s own songs, but his original tunes often sound like they could have come from Harry Smith’s famed Anthology of American Folk Music. The fiddle- and mandolin-filled album opener, “Hardworkin’ John,” could easily have hailed from the traditional Southern string/jug-band repertoire that goes back to the 19th century. In fact, there’s even a Bromberg-penned tune here called “Jugband Song,” a bluesy affair full of acoustic guitar and mandolin fingerpicking that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a record by an old-school jug-band giant like, say, Gus Cannon. Members of The Grateful Dead back Bromberg on the more modern-sounding electrified outings, like the lascivious, blues-rock burner “Sharon” and the title track. A trio of cover tunes closes the album: the classic country ballad “The Tennessee Waltz,” folk-rock troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker’s signature tune “Mr. Bojangles,” and the Tut Taylor bluegrass instrumental “Sugar in the Gourd.” All three were recorded live, giving a glimpse at the kind of excitement and emotion Bromberg could kick up in front of an audience.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

jrc127 ,

Demon in Disguise is a must have

For roots music fans who haven't discovered Bromberg this album is as likely a place to start as any. I've been listening to this one since it was first released. I was in high school then and the folk/blues rediscovery was still going strong. Bromberg was/is a scholar of American music with unassailable credentials. Several artists have covered Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles, but none, in my opinion, put the soul in song like Bromberg. His toneful picking and knack for storytelling still bring a tear to the eye after all these years.

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