Been All Around This World review
release of Been All Around This World has been billed as the
final installment of the Garcia and Grisman collaboration. To date, they
have released six studio albums and a documentary film. The possibility
of live releases exist and would be more than
of the Garcia and Grisman albums have a theme and Been All Around This World
is primarily folklore and acoustic blues based, though, not
exclusively. Its style is very much in the tradition of the Jerry
Garcia Acoustic Band's approach; Jerry's band from 1987 and '88 that took New York's
Broadway by storm.
and Grisman have a special music collaboration who's output could
only be achieved by the most elite musicians. In many respects they remind me of
the duo of Django
Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli; the way they effortlessly solo
in a melodic approach, trade off solos, and enhance the others work
with gorgeous complementary phrasing and riffs. Like Reinhardt
and Grappelli, one
of the thrilling parts of Garcia and Grisman's playing is the
instrumental hand-off. For example, on "I'm Troubled's"
first instrumental, during Garcia's solo Grisman joins in with him
and begins playing along before taking control and finishing the solo.
Meanwhile, just as smooth, Garcia slips into back-up mode
without missing a beat, perfectly complementing David. Talk about being in synch!
addition to the instrumental dominance of Garcia on guitar and Grisman on mandolin, they sparingly orchestrate the use of flute, dobro, and fiddle with
excellent results on select tracks. During the Irish themed "Handsome Cabin
Boy Waltz," Matt Eakle's flute interlocks with Grisman and Garcia
as the three musicians glide from solo to solo gorgeously; ditto for
"Nine Pound Hammer." Arguably, those are the two strongest jams on
the album. Meanwhile, Joe Craven subtly adds fiddle to
"I'll Go Crazy," and "Drink Up and Go Home." Sally Van
Meter trades riffs with the masters on
Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel #9" with some outstanding
dobro work leaving one wish for her contributions on more songs.
Garcia's vocals were not at his peak in the 1990's. As fantastic as the
Garcia and Grisman music is, it would be even better if his vocals had the strength they had during the 1970's.
On a positive note, Garcia always sung rural blues well and
his voice matches this material perfectly and his phrasing and
emotion more than make up for his lack of range. On most of the
material he keeps the
vocal breadth tame, such as on "I Ain't Never," a track that Grisman
adds harmony to. During their take of Dylan's "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
fans will enjoy a Lou Reed feel to the singing.
As excellent as
their rendition of "Sitting
Here in Limbo," is, notably Grisman's solo that features Garcia's melody
subtly crawling up the edge of David's instrumental passage. Fans will
Jerry's vocal phrasing; though, if his range could go higher it
would slightly improve the output. Their cover of James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy" demonstrates
Jerry singing beyond his limits that could only be appreciated by
hard core fans, which is the audience of Been All Around This
World. And they would rather hear a struggling Garcia voice than anyone else.
instrumental playing and magic between Garcia and Grisman is so
special that strained vocals aside this album is killer, a must have. Where
does Been All Around This World rank among the other Garcia
and Grisman releases? The cornerstones of their catalogue, IMO, are their
self-titled debut and
The Pizza Tapes albums. After, each
title offers a different theme so it depends on your musical
preference. Personally, we love this style of music, and highly
recommend it and rank it in third place. by Barry Small©
We included information of some of the original
performers of songs
performed on Been All Around This World.