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Live In New York City 1982

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Album Review

David Bromberg was already past his peak as a popular attraction by the time this live recording was made in 1982, but his musicianly prowess was no less diminished. Whether on acoustic guitar, fiddle, or mandolin, Bromberg was technically proficient and often quite dazzling as he navigated his way around various traditional bluegrass, folk, country, and blues tunes, Bob Dylan's "Wallflower" and one original, "The New Lee Highway Blues." A listen to this ambiguously titled disc — nowhere does it say exactly where in New York City or when in 1982 the live performance took place — confirms repeatedly that Bromberg was a whiz as an instrumentalist. As a vocalist, less so, but his coterie of loyalists never held that against him, and there is a charm to his ragged singing that befits the down-home-ness of the pickin'. On uptempo tunes like the lengthy "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" opener (extended via an inserted medley of fiddle tunes) and the old Bob Wills favorite "Stay All Night," and on the slow blues numbers, Bromberg and his three support players (wielding various acoustic-stringed instruments) keep the level of virtuosity high. Unfortunately, the sound mix is painfully off-center during that opener and takes a while to find the proper balance, and other tracks could have benefited from some judicious editing when Bromberg's spoken intros ramble on just tad too long. Nonetheless, it's a representative slice of what fans would have heard at a Bromberg show during this period, several years before he took a long sabbatical from making music to become a violin craftsman.

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Live In New York City 1982, David Bromberg Quartet
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