Barry Levenson - The Late Show (Rip Cat Records; RC 1101)
reviewed by Michael Macomber
Guitarist Barry Levenson knows your blues. On this mostly instrumental album, he tells the story of your life with his strings. He knows your ups, your downs, your struggles, your triumphs.
On “Meters Runnin’”, he recalls that night you were kindah upbeat, happy and a little too drunk, walkin’ your walk and spendin’ your paycheck like it was wine. He knows what you said to that woman you met at the bar, he knows how you laughed when she threw a drink in your face, he knows you finger-snapped your way home and never did go back to settle up for the damage you did to the men’s room door.
The sparse and intense “Steel Life” finds Levenson recounting your hard-working week. The muscles across your back stretch over the bridge of his instrument, taking on more weight and more pain, knowing there is no other choice. Sometimes Levenson is the foreman, looking down on you with disdain. Sometimes he’s the sun, burning straight into your eyes. Sometimes he’s a friend with a glass of water and a smoke, a short break, before it’s back to the job.
And on “Charlie’s Ride”, he remembers that fine lookin’ lady you danced with all night long last weekend. And he reminds you that her number is in your wallet.
From the kick of “Riley’s Shuffle” to the heart-rending truth of “Blue Tears”, from the mysterious melancholy of “The Late Show” to the too-hot cool of “Turn Up the A.C.”, Barry Levenson knows your blues. Just back up and let the man tell the story.