No idea how many records this guy’s released over the years. By my count at least eleven, but having been unable to find the website for Pel Pel Records or a satisfactory catalog on AllMusic after a brief internet search makes me unable to be sure. These two and a few others are streaming on Rhapsody, more on Spotify. I hear Tell Me That Before is a good one, and if I happen upon it I’ll give it a spin. Never Give Up Study barely made an A Minus, but They Like Me Around Here is definitely recommended.
DAVID GREENBERGER – They Like Me Around Here (PelPel Recordings): Bizarre album. NPR personality Greenberger puts on storytelling masks—personas remembering ages four to eighty, sometimes straight or gay, with or without a dad—and alternates between his elderly subjects’ vivid anecdotes, meditations, and lectures for about an hour in spoken word over what could be surplus Van Morrison sessions. Unlike Patti Smith’s supposedly highbrow material, Greenberger’s radio-friendly voice, everyman demeanor, and sharp eye for detail make for better storytelling and rapt reflection—a mother bravely voting in a pre-WWI presidential election or how one must scream while skydiving just to breathe before the chute opens. Paul Cebar and band do backup work quite well, playing in real time against Greenberger’s recitations. Very bizarre, but a good entrance for the uninitiated. A MINUS
DAVID GREENBERGER – Never Give Up Study (PelPel Recordings ’12): A little looser than his newest release. Backup band Jupiter Circle is jazzier than Paul Cebar in a neoclassical/avant way, a lot freer without much brass; not better or worse but just different. Reminiscent of bad jazz club stereotypes of a guy on bongos wearing a beret and sunglasses while the author recites poetry. Except Greenberger’s translation of the stories his subjects weave can be really funny; my favorite bit is where he complains about people on the sidewalk who refuse to make room for you as they approach. A MINUS