David Bromberg Band, “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues” (Red House)
Among his many attributes, David Bromberg is a generous bandleader, and so the first guitar solo on his latest album is performed by sideman Mark Cosgrove. It’s a doozy fittingly punctuated by a “Woo!” from Bromberg.
There’s plenty of room for the frontman to shine, too, on “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues.” Bromberg has never sung better, his wise, warm warble enhanced by masterful timing and droll wit. His guitar still gets its licks in, too, whether it’s an electric slide on the Chicago-style original “You Don’t Have to Go,” or an acoustic on Ray Charles’ “A Fool for You.”
Maybe Bromberg is just trying to keep up with the rest of the cast. The album was recorded with his terrific band and produced by Larry Campbell, who plays acoustic slide guitar on a wonderful duet rendition of “Delia.”
Arrangements are tight and the mood is loose as the group covers material by Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith and Sonny Boy Williamson, among others. The liner notes include useful cut-by-cut commentary from Bromberg, who explains what Johnson meant referring to an ex-mate’s “Elgin movements” in “Walkin’ Blues.”
Don’t worry, it’s PG-rated — this is the blues, not politics.