Bob Brozman's latest CD, BLUES REFLEX, is a new album of songs and compositions by Bob, featuring his deepest playing yet. A full menu of tones and timbres are provided on this all-acoustic album.
This CD features Bob's music prowess on several National guitars, Bear Creek Hawaiian guitars, baglama, percussion and vocals, and is joined by legendary Greg Graber on 3 tracks. Blending Bob's deepest blues roots with the many influences from his worldwide travels, BLUES REFLEX digs down and pays tribute to the artists and sounds that drove Bob to the music, while taking it further to the edge than ever before.
Here's a run-down of the tracks on BLUES REFLEX:
Loosely inspired by the great Charley Patton, this track features Bob's free-wheeling on-the-edge improvisatory style on a tricone guitar. "Rattlesnake" contains the full dynamic range from whisper to roar typical of Bob's live shows.
DEAD CAT ON THE LINE
A new song preceded and inspired by the spoken word prelude from Rev. J.M. Gates, from a 1929 recording of a "sermon" on the subject of genetics and communication. Recorded with Bob's National Baritone tricone, vocal, Bear Creek Kona Hawaiian guitar, and percussion, with Greg Graber on drums, "Dead Cat" updates a 100 year old traditional field holler with a modern edge.
ONE STEADY ROLL
Twenty one years after recording this 1920s Chicago classic song (on SNAPPING THE STRINGS) Bob decided to revisit this song, reinformed and re-invigorated by his decades of travel and collaboration with musicians from around the world. This version of "One Steady Roll" is played on 2 tricones in sega rhythm, from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion. The listener can tap along either two or three, because African-based music proves that a shuffle and a waltz can occur simultaneously. All percussion sounds on this song are played on the 2 guitars.
DEATH COME CREEPIN'
Here Bob pays tribute to Tommy Johnson's legendary 1928 recordings, playing in straight ahead traditional Jackson Mississippi style on two guitars, a 1997 National Baritone tricone and a 1929 national tricone. The new lyrics have a traditional sound, yet are relevant to Bob's current feeling.
VIEUX KANYÁR BLUES
"Vieux Kanyár" is a Reunionais creole phrase meaning roughly, "Old musician-wildman." All instruments are played by Bob: Two Kona Hawaiian guitars and a National Baritone tricone guitar, and percussion. This is one of those unplanned songs, a surprise inspiration, composed while recording the first part on kona, then the other instruments quickly recorded while the fire was still burning.
Based on one of the oddest Charley Patton recordings, "Poor Me" may be one of the slowest, most open tracks ever recorded by Bob. Where "Death Come Creepin'" retained the original 1920s playing style combined with new lyrics, this version of "Poor Me" has the original melody and lyrics set to completely different guitar sounds. The accompaniment begins with Weissenborn and Bear Creek 7-string Baritone Hawaiian guitars, but at the key change, the instruments also change to National Baritone tricone and Bear Creek Kona Hawaiian guitar.
CYPRESS GROVE BLUES
The traditional Skip James classic, played as Bob plays it live, in sega shuffle rhythm, raw guitar and vocal. The listener can comfortably tap along in two or in three.
LITTLE TOUGH GUY BLUES
Exactly what the title says...played solo on the Kona, lap style with a bar-like playing with one finger, and that finger does not bend. A tribute to the raw edgy energy of Robert Johnson and his musical forebears.
NEW GUINEA BLUES
A new song inspired by Bob's 2003 recording trip to Papua New Guinea. Bob is playing 5 guitars, in the unusual group "plucking" style of the Gilnatta String Band from Myoko, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Remarkably, the rhythm is very similar to the oldest delta Blues styles, though the tonality is a little sweeter. A simple message awaits the listener, at the last line.
IT'S MERCY WE NEED
A protest song without words. Played solo on the National Baritone, this song can be thought of as a second movement of "Sans Humanité" (from Metric Time). It's a deep minor blues, a musical plea for compassion, played with passion.
MEAN WORLD BLUES
An homage with a twist, "Mean World" is a re-working of the Tommy Johnson classic "Canned Heat Blues" melody, played in "one-drop" ska style, with new lyrics for these troubled times.
MORE ROOM AT THE EDGE
Completely new all-acoustic music-hip-hop impressionism...Funky Bolero blues...Art music...Trippy chamber music... This track features Bob playing two Kona Hawaiian guitars, tricone, Baritone tricone, a tiny Greek baglama, Chinese temple blocks, and cajon, with Greg Graber on drums.
A lullaby for tired working people everywhere, with a "folk orchestra" sound, with Santa Cruz Brozman Baritone guitar, tricone, baglama, and humming vocals.
- Dead Cat On The Line
- Rattlesnake Blues
- One Steady Roll
- Death Come Creepin'
- Vieux Kanyár Blues
- Poor Me
- Cypress Grove Blues
- Little Tough Guy Blues
- New Guinea Blues
- It's Mercy We Need
- Mean World Blues
- More Room At The Edge
- Workman's Song