Mark “Pocket” Goldberg – Off-Balance Blues
12 songs, 46 minutes
Mark “Pocket” Goldberg is a Southern California bassist who has played with a truly dizzying list of Blues musicians ranging from royalty to regional. On his 2nd solo effort Off-Balance Blues Goldberg brings his thumping bass and big man yowl to a set of 12 original Blues songs. In spite of being based in So Cal, the home of rough hewn swinging Blues, Goldberg presents a mixed pack of various Blues styles working his way through Chicago rumbles to Detroit solo electric guitar haunts down through some Texas shuffling and back to his West Coast swing.
Pocket Goldberg’s bass and lead vocals are accompanied by an excellent crew of musicians. Debra Dobkin is on drums and background vocals, Nick Kirgo on guitar and background vocals, Bill Bates on guitar, Dave Kida on drums, Billy Watts on rhythm guitar and Benny Yee on Hammond organ.
Album opener “A Matter of Time” starts simply with a nice slide intro. Then Michael Fell on harmonica kicks in with the band and stomps, giving Pocket “the chills all up and down my spine.” Unfortunately musicians are not listed by track in the promotional info sent along for review. But, special guest Junior Watson certainly brings his distinctive West Coast guitar wail to the swinging “Babblin’ Blues.” “Face in Disguise” has a feel good Adult Contempo Keb’ Mo/Bonnie Raitt vibe in which Pocket drops some pretense from built up emotional roadblocks. The funky minor key “Lookin’ for Insults” slinks through. Album closing title track is that solo electric guitar and voice breakdown ending the proceedings with a nice post script.
Pocket Goldberg wrote, or co-wrote, all the songs on this album. Earnestly presenting some very personal truths and observations, the lyric content does veer into some worn clichés and platitudes. But the music is so well executed and Goldberg’s distinct gruff delivery makes the music flow regardless. Off-Balance Blues is an impressive clinic in Blues styles performed with honesty and facility.