David Bromberg's incredible journey spans five-and-a-half decades, and includes – but is not limited to – adventures with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, and music and life lessons from seminal blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis, who claimed the young Bromberg as a son.
A musician’s musician, Bromberg’s mastery of several stringed instruments (guitar, fiddle, Dobro, mandolin), and multiple styles is legendary, leading Dr. John to declare him an American icon. In producing John Hartford’s hugely influential Aereo-Plain LP, Bromberg even co-invented a genre: Newgrass.Back to Singles Catalog Listing
Originally recorded by Sam McGee, from sunny Tennessee, in 1926. Sam and his brother Kirk, a banjo player and fiddler, were frequent performers on the Grand Ole Opry and long-time members of a Country band led by Uncle Dave Macon called The Fruit Jar Drinkers.
"Buck Dancer's Choice" became very popular in the 1960s for up and coming fingerstyle guitarists. It was one of the first instrumentals that was considered
a "must" to be mastered. It is played in the key of C and in standard tuning. The alternating bass technique is used throughout the arrangement.
This is not Rev. Gary Davis's "Cocaine Blues" but rather a completely different song recorded by Luke Jordan on August the 16th, 1927, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was the same recording date he laid down "Pick Poor Robin Clean" and "Church Bell Blues". Unlike other blues singers Luke Jordan sang in a relaxed tenor voice. His recordings feature interesting novelty songs. Jordan's "Cocaine Blues" was picked up by the white, cross-over artist Dick Justice (1906-1962). Justice's recording was made two years later, on May the 20th, 1929, but titled simply "Cocaine".
David plays this in the key of G and remains faithful to Jordan's original playing of the song.
Blind Willie McTell recorded "Delia" in 1949, for the Library of Congress. It is a traditional ballad about the murder of Delia Green, a 14-year-old African-American girl from Georgia. In 1928, folklorist Robert Winslow Gordon reported to the Library of Congress that he had traced the song back to a murder in Savannah and that he had interviewed both Green's mother and the police officer who took Houston into custody. Gordon's research was never published, and Green's relationship to the popular songs was essentially unknown until Prof. John F. Garst, working from hints left by Gordon, turned up the details in Savannah newspaper archives.
The songs inspired by Green's murder now appear in two forms; both forms were staples of the "folk revival" of the 1950s and early 1960s. One version, usually attributed to Blake Alphonso Higgs, is known as "Delia's Gone". It is explicitly told from her killer's point of view. The second version, usually attributed to Blind Willie McTell, is usually known as "Delia" and is told from an ambiguous point of view.
David's arrangement is played in the Dropped D tuning (D A D G B E)
"I Like to Sleep Late In The Morning" is a David Cohen aka David Blue song that David Bromberg recorded in 1975. It has remained a popular showstopper in David's performances.
It is played in the key of C. Watch for the walking bass lines. The ending is a tour de force in turnarounds. An arrangement and song to enjoy!
"It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" is a song written by Bob Dylan, that was originally released on his album Highway 61 Revisited. It was recorded on July 29, 1965. David was very close to Dylan throughout the 1960s to 1970s. You will find David's playing on several of Dylan's seminal albums.
David's arrangement is played in the key of E in Standard tuning. It is an exquisite setting for the lyrics.
"Just a Closer Walk with Thee" is a traditional gospel song that has been performed and recorded by many artists. Performed as either an instrumental or vocal, "A Closer Walk" is perhaps the most frequently played number in the hymn and dirge section of traditional New Orleans jazz funerals. The title and lyrics of the song allude to the Biblical passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7 which states, "We walk by faith, not by sight" and James 4:8, "Come near to God and he will come near to you."
David's beautiful arrangement is played in the key of A in Standard tuning.
"Mr. Bojangles" is a song written and originally recorded by American country music artist Jerry Jeff Walker for his 1968 album of the same title. Since then, it has been recorded by many other artists, including The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Chet Atkins, Sammy Davis Jr. and a host of others.
David played guitar on Jerry Jeff's original recording and his guitar break is one of David's most requested solos. Davis shows you note for note what he played in this lesson.
This tune is said to be the first tune Turlough O'Carolan composed. It is supposedly the local legend of a "battle between the kings of the gentry (fairies). In an account of his visit to the area in 1828, Edward O'Reilly tells of two ranges of hills. On the highest part of one of the ranges "is one of those ancient conical heaps of stones and earth called motes or raths, so common in this country, and which the popular voices says are inhabited by the Daoine Maithe, the "Good People", which the country people dare not venture to call by the name of fairies. This mote, and the mountain on which it stands, are much celebrated in the popular poems and songs of Ireland under the name of Sigh Mor. " On the other range, near Squire Reynold's home was another mote, Sigh beg which was also reputed inhabited by fairies. According to local tales during the period in which Fionn Mac Cubhail and Fianna Eirionn were defeated, one of Fionn's heroes (perhaps Fionn himself), who was killed, was entombed in Sigh beg and a warrior of the other side was buried in Sigh mor. The battle of the two continued to be carried out by the immortals of Sig beg and Sig mor.
The composition was originally played on the Irish harp. You'll find many fingerstyle arrangements of "Shebeg An Shemore". These are usually played in a Dropped D or DADGAD tuning. In this lesson David sets the melody in the key of D but does not use a fingerpicking technique. Instead he plays with a flatpick and focuses on the tone and texture of each note played in the melodic line. This is a great lesson for developing control of your left hand.
Besides being a great fingerpicker, David is also a master of flatpicking. In this lesson he demonstrates his approach to playing "St. Anne's Reel".