As of the late 1990s, guitarist and fiddler David Bromberg was in musical semi-retirement, supplementing his day job (making his living buying and selling American-made violins) with the odd club gig. But in the 1970s, he had a thriving career as both a bandleader and a sideman, having played on seminal recordings by Bob Dylan, the Eagles, and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others. This disc includes two of his early albums: first, the acoustic and largely solo My Own House, on which he plays a program that ranges from traditional Scottish and American fiddle tunes through Delta blues and songs by Hoagy Carmichael and Phil Spector. Talk about Americana. The second album included on this disc couldn’t be more of a contrast: You Should See the Rest of the Band is a live recording with a large and very definitely electric band.
David Bromberg the rock & roll bandleader is much more inclined toward horn-driven R&B (“Key to the Highway,” “Sharon”), although he does pull out the fiddle for a high-octane romp through a medley of traditional tunes at the end of the show. His singing, while not bad, isn’t really worth mentioning. What stand out are his wide-ranging tastes, his instrumental chops, and his skill as a bandleader, all of which combine to make this both a valuable piece of pop music history and a thrilling listening experience.