Barry Goldberg
"In the Groove "
Sunset Blvd Records

Barry Goldberg returns from a two-decade solo career hiatus with his fashionable (Carla Olson produced) “In the Groove.” Goldberg plays piano, and B3 organ, is backed Denny Freeman (guitar), Tony Marsico (bass) Don Heffington (drums), Rob Stone (harmonica), James Intveld (guitar), Joe Sublett (sax), Darrell Leonard (trumpet), Johnny Lee Schell (guitar), Reggie McBride (bass), Craig Fundyga (vibes), Victor Bisetti (percussion) and Nawfel Hermi (guitar).

Eleven if the twelve tunes are instrumental except for “Guess I Had Enough of You” featuring the celebrated Les McCann’s vocals; McCann also shares songwriting credits with Goldberg on this album opener. Better yet checkout Goldberg’s tribute to Mezz Mezzrow (Mezz was a 1930’s marijuana supplier; also known for “mezzrole” for the type of joint he rolled,) this swinging tune burns like a “mezzrole” and also has a late-night singe. Goldberg’s “Westside Girl” has a hip feel like it could have been a good fit for a late fifties/early sixties Peter Gunn TV episode. The title track (also authored by Goldberg) intro segment feels like Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues” and remains deliciously haunting and soulful throughout. Straight Blues with Milt Buckner’s “Mighty Low” is performed and placed well here. Fifties-sixties organist Doc Bagby’s “Dumplin’s” features Joe Sublett’s appropriately raspy sax as Goldberg lays down the blues backdrop. The Cyclones’ “Bullwhip Rock” is a short but sweet rollicking romp. The late fifties Wailers group “Tall Cool One” is another fine (nearly forgotten) chestnut from sixty years ago that’s driven by Sublett’s sax and very tasty piano tinkling from bandleader Goldberg, similarly Sil Austin’s properly titled “Slow Walk,” reminiscent of Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk.” The album concludes with ‘Lead Belly’ Huddie William Ledbetter’s and Snooks Eaglin’s “Alberta” with Goldberg all by himself playing solo piano, adding a nice touch to this fine recording.

It was during the late sixties that I became aware of Goldberg’s artistry; he also helped me find out more about the likes of Michael Bloomfield, Harvey Mandel, The Electric Flag and many other Blues heroes. So after all of these years it’s neat to hear Barry Goldberg doing what he’s always done best; still recording first-rate music. (*) The included fact-sheet and what I didn’t know was that it was the same Goldberg who played that burning organ intro on Mitch Ryder’s 1966 mega hit “Devil With the Blue Dress On.” Better late than never… In the meantime I hope you enjoy Barry Goldberg’s “In the Groove” as much as I did.

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