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CD REVIEW: Bob Brozman - Blues Reflex
By JJ Biener - 07/12/2006 - 04:33 PM EDT

Artist: Bob Brozman
Album: Blues Reflex
CD Review: Bob Brozman
Blues Reflex

It is summer, 1947. I am sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of a general store in Small Town, Mississippi. The dust and the heat make it difficult to even breathe. Two old men sit staring at two matched sets of bottle caps laid out on a checkerboard painted onto the end of a weathered barrel. On the step sits a black gentleman who wears his seven decades like an old set of work clothes. Across his lap is a dobro as old and worn as the man holding it. The man brings forth from this battered instrument music that is as pure and primal as any I have heard. The music speaks of a lifetime of poverty and sorrow far beyond anything most people today can really understand. This is a raw emotion distilled and filtered through six strings and a resonator. This is the Blues. Make no mistake here. This isnít your fatherís BluesÖthis is your grandfatherís Blues.

Truth be told, I was not alive in 1947 and neither was Bob Brozman, but somehow listening to his CD Blues Reflex evokes strong memories of that time and that place. Closing my eyes, I can feel the heat. I can taste the dust in my mouth. I can hear the creaking of the rocking chair. It is right there in the music.

To say Mr. Brozman can play slide guitar is to be guilty of understatement. The word virtuoso is seldom applied to this style of playing, but it gives you an idea of the ball park we are playing in. His technical skill is truly remarkable. Most of the songs on this CD require no other accompaniment than what the man can produce with a six-stringed instrument and some occasional percussion. I should also mention his vocal performances which fit the style and spirit of the recordings perfectly.

The first track on the CD is Dead Cat On The Line. It starts with part of a 1929 radio broadcast of the Rev. J. M. Gates about a telegraph worker investigating a problem and finding a dead cat on the telegraph line. The Reverend likened this to a son not listening to his father. Mr Brozman uses this story as inspiration for a song about how communication can go astray.

While most of the tunes on the CD are originals, Bob does cover a couple of traditional numbers like Rattlesnake Blues. On this track a single National tricone guitar provides the rhythm, harmony and lead sounds. On another traditional tune, One Steady Roll, Bob overdubs two National tricone guitars.

On a cover of Charley Pattonís Poor Me, Bob shows off his vocal range as well as his guitarís range. He uses the guitar to double his vocal line and in some respects mimics the guitar line with his vocals. This technique provides an interesting tonal color to the piece.

Bob Brozmanís Blues Reflex shows what can be accomplished with a slide guitar. It can be seen as a lesson to aspiring slide players on how far you can reach if you dare. If you have a taste for traditional Delta blues, you would do well to give this CD a try. You can find more information about Mr. Brozman at .

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