Marin Independent Journal - USE ME

Press Play: David Bromberg 'Use Me'

One of Marin's star musicians when the county was loaded with them in the 1970s, multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg rolls with an entourage of big name friends on this intelligently conceived and produced blues- and R&B-soaked album that would be more accurately titled "Use Them."

Bromberg surrounds himself with Dr. John​, Levon Helm​, Linda Ronstadt​, John Hiatt​, Los Lobos​, Widespread Panic​, Vince Gill​, Keb' Mo' and others stellar guests on this follow-up to his 2007 Grammy-nominated "Try Me One More Time."

A onetime session guitarist and bandleader who left Marin in 1980 to study violin-makingin Chicago, Bromberg leads off with the only original he wrote for the CD, "Tongue," a bar band blues shuffle with Helm on drums that includes the cleverly repulsive line, "Get your tongue out of my mouth because I'm kissing you goodbye."

Helm also contributes the arrangement to "Bring It With You When You Come," an old jug band tune recorded right after "Tongue" at Helms' homey studio in Woodstock, N.Y.

Hiatt wrote the slow blues "Ride On Out a Ways," a track that's highlighted by a tasty Bromberg lead guitar solo on his trusty Telecaster. And Dr. John, an old pal of Bromberg's recording session days, wrote and plays piano on the funky and funny "You Don't Wanna Make Me Mad."

One of the standout tracks on an 11-song album full of standout tracks is the Brook Benton chestnut, "It's Just a Matter of Time," produced by Linda Ronstadt, who picked the classic ballad and sang backup on it. Recorded at Laurie Lewis' house in Berkeley, it features a refreshingly stripped-down arrangement with only Bromberg on acoustic guitar and Todd Sickafoose playing upright bass.

The title track, the smooth R&B hit by Bill Withers​, was recorded in Philadelphia with Phil and Joe Nicolo, the Butcher Brothers, producing.

Through it all, Bromberg croons and bellows, screams, raps and shouts in his sturdy baritone. He isn't known for his singing, but his vocals are earnest and good-natured and they work.

This is one of those albums that demands to be played over and over. It gets better every time.

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