Barry Goldberg

Stoned Again

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A truly brilliant and original concept for a tribute album, Stoned Again can be classified as many things: a Barry Goldberg solo record (his first in 20 years), a Rolling Stones tribute, as well as a sort of modern-day Super Session album. Goldberg, a veteran keyboardist and songwriter who was one of the founding members of the Electric Flag, has also played on hundreds of sessions for artists ranging from Bob Dylan to the Flying Burrito Brothers. Aside from showing off his imposing keyboard skills, Stoned Again is a vital example of his ability as a tasteful and inventive arranger. A good illustration of this is the smoky barroom funk of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which renders the actual tune almost unrecognizable, but nevertheless completely enthralling. Ditto for "Heart of Stone," which receives an extraordinarily jazzy, Booker T. & the MG's-soaked overhaul. Aside from Goldberg and his superb band -- which includes veterans Greg Sutton, Don Heffington, and Denny Freeman -- there are several astounding guest performances. Ex-Rolling Stones lead guitarist Mick Taylor shines on two songs, most notably a slithering version of "Ventilator Blues." This track also features another Stones sideman, Ernie Watts, who also appears on several other cuts delivering his usual tasty sax runs. Producer Carla Olson also steps out of the booth, performing guitar on a few cuts, including an exceptionally soulful reading of "As Tears Go By." But in the end, Stoned Again -- despite all of the guest appearances and the Stones-based material -- is really a resplendent example of Barry Goldberg's incredible, underrated musicianship, and for that reason alone is well worth a listen.

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