David Bromberg “Demon in Disguise”

I probably would have ignored this one but I just heard a conversation with David Bromberg on WTF podcast—and I really liked him—so this was a good chance to get some background via a recording he did; I have no idea of his discography, but this record sounds remarkably confident and alive. Some of the songs are credited to him, some are traditional and arranged by him, and then there is Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles”—a live version, with DB telling a story—in the middle of the song—about the origin of the song—which reminded me of another time I heard a recording with someone telling the story of that song—in a live version—was it possibly this one? Or am I just tripping?

Much of this record I really like, especially songs where he is singing. He has a kind of unlikely and unique singing voice. I don’t like some of the more traditional stuff that feels more serious or reverent (not that that was the intention, it just comes off that way, to me). For some reason fiddle music just really bugs me—I guess maybe due to a long childhood of TV crap, and whenever you’d see someone playing fiddle music their eyes would be bugging out like some insane hillbilly, and it always seemed like someone would have to yell “Hoedown!”—like announcing it, as if you don’t know. It’s kind of like if someone is having sex and one person has to keep yelling, “We’re fucking! We’re fucking!” I suppose some people could be into that, but me, personally, I’m a little more reserved.

8 Responses to “David Bromberg “Demon in Disguise””

  1. 1 J Curtis
    August 26, 2018 at 12:20 am

    First, I will say that I know nothing about David Bromberg, except that I thought you were talking about a 70s comedian, or perhaps a member of the Firesign Theater.
    Anyhow, I *am* actually a fan of “fiddle music,” and while I can appreciate that it certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I think your analogy with people yelling “Hoedown!” is a little off. More appropriately, it’s *exactly* like rock’n’roll bands yelling out, “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!” There are actually quite a few self-referentially-prone music genres, types of music where there are actually songs *about* the type of music that song is. And genres where a shout-out of the genre name is commonplace. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a zydeco band where someone shouted out in the middle of a solo, “Zydeco!!”

    Also, I always loved the parts on Hee-Haw where the musicians’ eyes would be bugging out like some insane hillbillies!

  2. August 26, 2018 at 7:10 am

    David Bromberg is an interesting guy and he’s still out there playing! I know my insistence that someone yells “hoedown” every time there is fiddle music is WAY off – but it cracked me up to say that (I’m sure I amuse myself more than anyone else) just because I HAVE seen people playing hillbilly music and someone yells “hoedown” and it makes me want to cringe into a ball and die. But you’re right, that kind of thing is far more prevalent in rock’n’roll – which also makes me cringe into a ball and die. In fact, just someone making that Devil horn thing with their hand thrust in the air makes me cringe. I just hate so, so much, but I kind of love it all, too, of course! I know you are a fan of fiddle music because I listen to every one of your radio shows, and often I’ll complain to my imaginary friend (the only friend who can put up with me on a daily basis) “oh, shit, Jeff’s playing more of that goddamn fiddle music!” But that’s why I love your radio show, there is stuff that I would never put on, on my own, along with stuff I would never have heard of without your show, that then I go into a big search for. That’s what it’s all about, as I see it, going places you are uncomfortable going – with someone you respect.

    • 3 J Curtis
      August 26, 2018 at 10:00 am

      ha – Well thanks, that’s pretty much exactly my whole concept for my radio show, so I’m glad it works like that for some listeners! I had a show a few weeks ago where I played quite a bit more than usual of “old timey” music, and I actually had a guy call up who told me that he *loved* that I was playing all that stuff, because, he said, he really was not very familiar with much of it, had never really listened to stuff like that before, but was really enjoying it and was wanting to find out more about it. So I was happy to know that my efforts were paying off for someone. I like to have a big variety of musics on my show in hopes of exposing people to stuff that they may have never considered checking out before.

  3. August 26, 2018 at 7:30 am

    I watched a lot of Hee-Haw growing up, and I just hated it, yet I sure watched a lot. When I think back on all the TV I watched, it strikes me as nearly traumatic. So much stuff that nauseates me just to think about. Why don’t I have nostalgia about that, like I do about so many other things that I’m nostalgic about? In the case of Hee-Haw, in retrospect, it had real music merit, but it took a long time for me to come around to appreciating someone I now love, like Buck Owens. For many years I thought of country music as something I was obligated to deride, almost as if it was a moral position. I kind of wonder, thinking about it now, what made me come around to it? Maybe it was just gradual, a little bit of Merle Haggard here, George Jones there, that big Hank Williams record I bought, who knows. I guess most changes are gradual. I sure regret not going to see Tammy Wynette at the Erie County Fair when I had the chance! And I could have never predicted that I would have more love for Skeeter Davis than anyone, ever! It just occurred to me, I wonder if Skeeter Davis was ever on Hee-Haw? I sure wish there was something like the internet where I could look that up.

    • 6 J Curtis
      August 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

      I know that my main interests in watching Hee Haw originally was the ultra-corny comedy, and, as I grew into my teens, Misty Rowe.. But for the most part, most of the music really bored me. I did like some of the perkier things that Roy Clark did, I guess, and Grandpa Jones’ corny novelty tunes, but most of the country balladeers, and the Haggard Twins, were of no interest to me whatsoever. I do appreciate a lot more of that stuff now, myself, and I do think that it is just a gradual coming-around to musics that, maybe, as kids, we sort of see as more “adult” or something, in the way that “adult” music seems boring to younger people. Something like that.

      here’s Misty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUyWAwIfOXE

  4. September 11, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Yes, possibly Misty Rowe was why our dad let us watch Hee-Haw, at all. But we watched everything, and there were only so many channels back then. Thanks for sharing the Skeeter Davis clip – one thing that makes me happy about our youtube years is how much old SD stuff I can find. I wonder if I saw her on Hee-Haw as a lad and something happened to my brain that didn’t reveal itself until decades later? I can’t really explain the vastness of my love for her in any rational way. Well, she is a great singer and recorded great songs is beloved by millions. Bus Fare to Kentucky is also the name of her autobiography, which I have, but haven’t read yet. Here’s a little trivia: depending on where you are in Ohio, you can just WALK to Kentucky.

    • 8 J Curtis
      September 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

      True enough (also, we up here in Cleveland frequently refer to it as “Cincitucky”), though you would have to walk over a bridge in order to do so, regardless of where you are in Ohio.

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