Michael Bloomfield

Michael Bloomfield

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This self-titled effort found Bloomfield reaching back to his nightclub roots, following forays into acoustic music (Analine), sleazy R&B-derived rock (Count Talent & the Originals), instructional albums (If You Love These Blues Play 'Em As You Please), and gospel guitar duets (Bloomfield/Harris). Six of the eight tracks here are blues standards that Bloomfield tailored to his aggressive and in-your-face guitar style. The sound mirrors Count Talent's barroom lurch, only with a smaller cast. This time, the bedrock is drummer-vocalist Bob Jones and bassist "Gashouse Dave" Shorey, with Bloomfield shouldering the multi-instrumental load. Bloomfield adds some deft touches, such as lead acoustic guitar and six-string banjo on "Knockin' Myself Out," a darkly humorous look at self-destruction. "Sloppy Drunk" sketches the alcoholic's life from a lighter standpoint, while "Women Loving Each Other" is a frank examination of lesbianism, from the jilted man's side. (Pianist Ira Kamin and bassist Doug Kilmer make crucial contributions on the latter two songs.) Bloomfield and friends also nod to their roots on a haunting rendition of "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," which glows from his accordion, piano, and acoustic slide guitar. The funky "My Children, My Children" gives matters a more contemporary sheen, as does "The Gospel Truth," an instrumental by producer Norman Dayron where Bloomfield's guitar gets plenty of flying time. Having long abandoned the major-label rat race, independent labels became Bloomfield's major professional outlet, ensuring that his work remained relatively low profile (like the man himself). This album is among his most consistent efforts; needless to say, it's also extremely scarce, so snatch it up before another knowledgeable person gets there first.

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