Friday, September 22, 2006

MIKE BLOOMFIELD "Try It Before You Buy It" (1973)

Recorded At Columbia Studios, San Francisco
Producer : Michael Fusaro

Mike Bloomfield : Lead Guitar, Organ, Vocals (1,3-4,10)
Nick Gravenites : Vocals (2,8-9)
Barry Goldberg : Organ
Mark Naftalin : Piano, Vibes, Marimba, Accordion, Trombone
Roger "Jellyrol" Troy : Bass, Vocals (5-6,11)
George Rains & George Marsh : Drums
Ron Stallings : Sax, Vocals (7)
Jimmy Vincent : Rythm Guitar
John Wilmet : Trumpet
Mel Graves : Tenor Sax
Harry Mann : Alto Sax
Hart McNee : Baritone Sax
Chuck Bennet : Trombone

01. "Been Treated Wrong (5.09)
02. "When It All Comes Down" (3.02)
03. "Lights Out" (1.46)
04. "Baby Come On" (3.45)
05. "Shine On Love" (4.56)
06. "When I Get Home" (4.25)
07. "Try It Before You Buy It" (3.45)
08. "Midnight On The Radio" (2.53)
09. "Your Friends" (6.50)
10. "Tomorrow Night" (2.06)
11. "Let Them Talk" (5.10)
12. "Woodyard Street" (3.07)

(01-11)LP "Try It Before You Buy It" (1975-Columbia)
(08,12)LP "Bloomfield - A Retrospective" (1983-Columbia)
(01-11)CD "Try It Before You Buy It" (199?-One Way Records)
(05-06,11)CD "Living In The Fast Lane" (1991-Line)

The cover shows MB with his mother. The album didn’t leave a trace and the reason could be that it probably never even got a release! (1973 or 1975 promo copies are known to exist). Even the CBS special product CD is hard to find. It’s a good album with fine playing from a great band. It’s a typical MB album with uneven performances. The lead singing is split between 4 people. There are some great tracks like “Your Friends”, which is what MB and his friends do best: music that’s bluesy, slow and with a feeling. A great track. Also a great vocal performance on (1) from MB.

It’s not exactly a blues album, but it’s rooted in the blues for certain. It’s not a Rock ’n’ Roll album either (well, the Dr. John song “Lights Out” certainly is a rocker!). The MB penned (2) even has a Caribbean feel to it due to Mark Naftalin playing the marimba. Nice bottleneck on “Baby Come On”, a track any guitarist would be proud of. The title track is the weakest of them all.

The highlights on this record are Roger Troy’s contributions. He sings lead on three gospel-like songs: “Shine On Love”, “When I Get Home” and “Let Them Talk”. It’s understandable that all three were used again when “Living in the Fast Lane” was released in 1980. There are some differences in the list of musicians from the first release.


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