Search - Bob Brozman :: Blues Reflex (Dig)

Blues Reflex (Dig)
Bob Brozman
Blues Reflex (Dig)
Genres: Blues, Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Before Bob Brozman, ethnomusicology seemed to be left to guys who traveled around with tape recorders. Brozman takes that idea one step further by unapologetically inserting himself inside the music at hand, and in the pas...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Bob Brozman
Title: Blues Reflex (Dig)
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ruf
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 1/17/2006
Genres: Blues, Folk, Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 710347110927

Before Bob Brozman, ethnomusicology seemed to be left to guys who traveled around with tape recorders. Brozman takes that idea one step further by unapologetically inserting himself inside the music at hand, and in the past its made for eclectic and ear-opening listening when he's traveled through Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Africa or Japan. Rather than focusing on a single influence, here Brozman makes a variety of connections by reflexively tying them to the blues using several models of National steel guitar (his axe of choice) as well as seven-string and Kona Rocket Hawaiian guitars, the Turkish baglama and even percussion. He's joined by a drummer on three of the 13 songs, but mostly he overdubs himself to fine effect or goes it alone with solo performances on a mix of traditionals, tunes by Charley Patton and Skip James and his own bluesy originals. This is one his fans will surely love, but the variety means it's not a bad place for the curious to start. -- Tad Hendrickson

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CD Reviews

Amazon surprises me!
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 02/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This album came out in 2004 but was available only through Bob's site ( I bought it via mailorder back then. I didn't realize it was available here until last night when I was going to go back and review another Brozman album I haven't reviewed yet. I'm surprised this is here, but now I also wonder "If this is here then where are the other albums previously only available through Bob's site?".

Aside from 3 tracks with drums, this is a solo (with various overdubs) Brozman disc. To compare it to one of the others available at his site, this cd could be considered a studio cousin of Live NOW but with more texture due to the overdubs. I know sometimes people freak out about overdubs but there is no need here. There's nothing artificial sounding about this album. Bob plays perfectly off of himself. The overdubs just allow us to have that much more of a good thing... Bob's touch, tone, and rhythmic sensibility. Just to give you a sense of what I mean, here's the instrumentation (straight from the liner notes) for one track... Charley Patton's Poor Me.

"1st section - Weissenborn Hawaiian guitar; Bear Creek Baritone 7-string Hawaiian guita; rouler; vocal.
2nd section - Bear Creek Kona Rocket Hawaiian guitar; National Baritone Tricone guitar; rouler"

Since this site doesn't give a tracklist, here it is... 13 songs and about 45 minutes long. Dead Cat on the Line, Rattlesnake Blues, One Steady Roll, Death Come Creepin, Vieux Kanyar 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.

I love this album! The first couple times I listened to it I wasn't really digging it but I must have been having mental problems that day. Since then I love it. At various points it seems to expand upon other Brozman-related releases. If you have (from his site, not available here) Rolling Through This World, you'll notice one track here seems like it could be a great, lost (and found) track from that album. A couple tunes here show Bob's newfound love and admiration for the music of Reunion Island, and the catchiest song here (at least for me), Mean World Blues, shows Bob doing this great impression of Tommy Johnson, vocally! (Or I guess it could be his impression of the guy from the Mississippi Sheiks who also did it sometimes, but since I don't have any Sheiks as old as Tommy's recordings I've always assumed it was the Sheiks guy doing his impersonation of Tommy and not the other way around. Stop & Listen Blues No. 2 from the Violin, Sing the Blues for Me disc is a great example of the Sheiks guy doing his Tommy style). Bob does it over this great, jumpy little beat though. It's unlike anything Tommy utilized.

You get a bit of everything that is Bob on this album. His upbeat, percussive-styled guitar playing topped off with entertaining Vaudevillian (at least to me) vocals, as well as the other end... some slow, emotionally heavy, deeper stuff. If you like the music (he has changed the vocal style/lyrics completely, so I just mean the music here) of New Guinea Blues you'll want to get the Songs of the Volcano album. One of the bands on that album is the direct inspiration for the music on this track.

Of the "website only" albums he's released in the past few years, this, Live NOW and Rolling Through This world are my favorites. I'm still not a fan of more than a couple tracks of Metric Time. Also add in Ocean Blues as a great one. I love that album but it did used to be available here. Now I think it's only his site or the label's site. I'd think any fan of Brozman would love Blues Reflex."