David Bromberg – Use Me

January 01, 1970




Widely hailed by colleagues and
contemporaries, guitarist David Bromberg began his career playing with a who’s
who of rock and folk notables, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Jeff Walker
and Tom Paxton simply for starters. After donning the mantle of a solo career,
he made a series of critically acclaimed albums throughout the ‘70s for a
variety of prominent record labels, even as his reputation as a star session
musician continued to flourish.


Bromberg abruptly retreated from
the spotlight in the early ‘90s, changing his tack and becoming, of all things,
a devoted violinmaker. His return to the studio in 2007 yielded Try Me One More Time, an album which
picked up where he left off some 20 years before. That, in turn, set the stage
for the equally entreating Use Me, a
brash, oftentimes bombastic set of authentic Blues broadsides, each imbued with
an unusually brusque point of view. “Tongue,” “Ride On Out A Ways” and “You
Don’t Wanna Make Me Mad” offer a scornful rebuke to the women who have done him
disservice, with Bromberg’s impassioned playing summoning up the turbulent
spirits of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. Then there’s Bromberg’s venomous
vocals, a mumbled, off-handed snarl that reflects both his insolence and
authority. A variety of big name guests (Dr. John, Levon Helm, John Hiatt, Los
Lobos, Widespread Panic etc.) turn up throughout the album, but aside from some
nods in the liner notes and a few stylistic concessions, they remain all but
anonymous while allowing Bromberg to steal the spotlight.


That’s appropriate. As its title
suggests, Use Me offers a lesson in
how to stay true to one’s muse.


DOWNLOAD: “Tongue,”
“Ride On Out A Ways,”
“You Don’t Wanna Make Me Mad” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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