"The first time you hear Delmark Goldfarb's growl of a voice, you'll understand why everyone wants to claim his new album "Up To My Neck" as their own personal blues discovery," writes radio host Jim Santella of upstate New York's WBFO-FM.
"If you can imagine Tom Wait's gutsy voice combined with Johnny Cash's emotional honesty and Robert Johnson's blues clarity, then you have some idea what this album is all about."
Songs of love, loneliness and the arms race. Domestic bliss and homelessness. Del calls 'em as he sees 'em, keenly observing a kaleidoscopic world, all the while laying down a fine flurry of string band shuffles or slow, slinky rags.
DownBeat Magazine placed Del among the top upcoming blues performers, although he's shared the spotlight as well with country artists such as Billy Joe Shaver and Todd Snider. Soul singer Curtis Salgado identified with Del's "Portable Man" and delivered a heartfelt cover of the tune on his album "Soul Activated" (Shanachie).
UP TO MY NECK has a reliably rootsy rhythm section with John Sebastian blowing harp ("Don't Bring Me No Flowers" and "Got Something Good With Her"); Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) on drums and washboard; and Fritz Richmond (Kweskin Jug Band) on jug and gutbucket bass, among other fine players.
You'll hear Memphis bottleneck wizard Tommy Burroughs sliding through "I Need Your Love" and Houston harpist Randy Byrd who renders a hauntingly stark wail through "Portable Man."
Widely regarded as the world's foremost jug player, Fritz Richmond has taken the instrument to unprecedented heights, performing at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Prairie Home Companion accompanying luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne. On "Mr. Jailer Man," he lays down a deep, pulsing boogie beat, a rare treat for the ears sounding not much unlike a jazzy didgiridoo. Fritz plays the "gutbucket" washtub bass on the album's only cover tune, the traditional country blues "If You Lose Your Money." The actual instrument he plays here is now housed at the Smithsonian Institute.
"Shoot The Angels Down," a profound warning regarding the human costs of the arms race was originally released as a single and sent to senators, congressmen, pundits and opinionmakers across the nation. The campaign goes on. . .