Sincere imitation from a distinguished musician and some virtuoso friends.
Michael Jerome Browne’s promo describes him as a musician’s musician. A blues archivist and knowledgeable on all points that connect American Roots Music. When he isn’t performing his own material he’s in demand backing up and recording with other artists. Browne is supporting Eric Bibb on his UK tour this coming May. ‘Gettin’ Together’ had Browne calling upon a veritable who’s who of 60s and 70s folk-blues aficionados who are now the senior sorcerers.
Of the 14 tracks, there’s a self-penned instrumental called ‘Reverend Strut’ which allows Browne the opportunity to gleefully play a banjo that belonged to the Reverend Gary Davis. There’s an abundance of breathtaking harmonica playing throughout the album which features the likes of Harrison Kennedy (81), Peetie Wheatstraw, Frenchman John Milteau (73), Eric Bibb (71) and the founding member of The Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian (79). Tielhard Frost plays some mean fiddle and his talents extend to making his own gourd banjos.
The final song ‘Living with the Blues’ is a nod to the Canadian folk scene. Happy Traum (84) guests on lead guitar. Traum was a student of the songwriters Brownie and Ruth McGhee. Penny Lang sang it. Canadian folk music icons who influenced many of these artists contributing to ‘Gettin’ Together’
Browne has the power to release magic from practically any instrument he chooses. But you can’t have it all. With all due respect, his voice lacks the tone required to cut it on these blues tracks. A voice of nature as well as nurture is required. But ‘Gettin’ Together’ is a fine repertoire of some historically cool songs and a record of outstanding musicianship.