Monday, March 15, 2010

David Bromberg

Perhaps Columbia Records still thought David Bromberg had a chance at a hit single when they approved the concept for this hilarious album cover design, which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with the contents on the record. Surely, Columbia didn't need to go this extreme to depict a "wanted man," who is presumably wanted as a session guitarist and, perhaps, as a live (note "Alive" in album title) performer. These days, it's hard to imagine any record label expending this much creative and financial effort for the release of a solo album by someone who is, first and foremost, a session musician, however talented that artist might be. I'm sure it was commonplace back in the 70s.

Though I've seen Bromberg many times in concert, I took an unusual approach to getting this cover signed. While driving from New York to Washington, DC, I made a smaill detour into downtown Wilmington, found Bromberg's high-end violin shop and rang the buzzer. A violin craftsman answered the door and I introduced myself, asking if Mr. Bromberg might be available to sign my album. Even though I obviously wasn't about to plop down $100,000 for an antique french bow, the craftsman brought me into David's office where David stood up from behind his desk, wearing a coat and tie that offset the natural unkemptness of his burly gray beard. I introduced myself, we shook hands, and he signed this record. I mentioned how much I enjoyed his recent appearance with Tony Rice and Peter Rowan at B.B. King's Blues Club in New York City and how glad I was that he was performing regularly again, then I got back in my car and headed south.

I probably like this album cover design more than I should--it had a prominent place on the wall when I lived in New York City. It's a decent record too, with "The New Lee Highway Blues" being one of Bromberg's best songs.

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