Michael Bloomfield


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Michael Bloomfield's love of gospel music is well-known; it anchored his solo acoustic sets, and also inspired these duets with classical guitarist Woody Harris (who accompanied him on his last European tour, in the summer of 1980). A more intimate recording situation could not have been devised, with Harris anchoring the chords on his acoustic guitar while Bloomfield solos on acoustic or electric slide guitar. The exception is "Great Dreams From Heaven," which was Harris' song choice and on which he solos, according to Norman Dayron's back-cover liner notes. The notes serve as interesting reminders of Bloomfield's ever-inquisitive musicological bent. For example, "I'll Overcome" is cited as a song from Bloomfield's earliest playing days in Chicago, not the version associated with America's civil rights movement. This record carries the power of two topflight guitarists in relaxed form, with only their favorite songs for company. Bloomfield, at times, coaxes some otherworldly, ethereal sounds from his guitar. When he does, the results are truly stunning, such as on the closing treatment of "Peace in the Valley," or "Gonna Need Somebody on My Bond." Such intimate acquaintance with American idioms paid great dividends. This album is another example of Bloomfield's ability to assimilate other styles and make them his own; it is well worth the trouble to find.

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