Vol 53 #1
Holstein: Reviewed by Mike Regenstreif
Although Eddie Holstein has been a stalwart of the Chicago
folk scene for more than 40 years, he’s probably as well known for his
involvement in such fabled clubs as Somebody Else’s Troubles and Holstein’s
– which he co-owned with his brothers Alan and the late Fred – as he
is as a performer. This is actually
his first full-length album, and it’s a seamless blend of live and studio
Among the album’s 16 songs are Eddie’s own version of
“Jazzman,” a song he wrote early in his career that was covered by a
bunch of artists, including Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc and Tom Rush. It’s a lyrically oblique, yet poignant song from
the perspective of someone in a bad way reaching out to someone who
used to care.
Most of the rest of the album is devoted to nice versions
of folk and blues classics like Bob Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain,” Elizabeth
Cotton’s “Shake Sugaree,” Sleepy John Estes’ “Drop Down Mama” and a
sing-along version of Paul Clayton’s “Done Laid Around.”
Eddie also happens to be one of the funniest comedians
I’ve ever heard, and there are comedy bits thrown into the CD. About halfway through “Don’t Think Twice, It’s
All Right,” for example, he tells a hilarious story that starts with
him singing the song the first time he was ever on stage – and Vincent
Price in the audience – and ends at an audition where the club owner
thought Eddie wrote the song.
Eddie plays it straight on some of the tracks, and
with his tongue firmly in cheek on others.
The arrangements are kept simple.
He is solo on some, but is joined by bassist John Abbey on most.
Other singers and musicians, including Bonnie Koloc, Mark Dvorak and
Jim Craig, pop up occasionally. – MR