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Don Stevenson

Buskin' in the Subway

Review by Gary Hill

Don Stevenson was a founding member of Moby Grape, and that would probably lead people to expect to hear late 60s, early 70s styled music here. Well, that's what we get, but there is quite a bit of variety. One thing I noticed immediately about this set is the up and down, ebb and flow of it. The rockers are split in the sequence by mellower tunes. That's a classic bit of professional album layout that is so often forgotten these days. It allows the songs to breathe better by separating the more similar tracks. This is an effective and professional release that should be of interest to people who enjoy mainstream rock music from the 60s and 70s. This touches on blues, folk, psychedelic, jazz and more.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I'm Leaving You
This blues rocker is high energy, tastefully raw and quite cool. I dig the slide guitar quite a bit. I'm not completely sold on the lower range vocals, but this just rocks quite nicely.
Do You Ever Think About Me
Some killer psychedelic rock guitar dances over the introduction to this number. It really feels like something that would have been at home in the 1960s. It has some country in the mix, but is mostly folk meets psychedelic.
Buskin In The Subway
Another bluesy rocker, this is energetic and meaty. The hooks are catchy, and the guitar fills rock. It's a particularly fun number.
Dog On A Bone
This is a mellow cut that still has a lot of blues built into it. Yet, there is a definite folk and psychedelic edge here. This has some cool slide guitar and is another effective piece.
See You Everywhere I Go
There is some healthy blues in the mix here. This is a fun rocker that is particularly catchy.
Driven The Train
As strong as everything on this set is, this tune is one of my favorites. It's got a killer hard-edged blues rock sound. The guitar fills are so cool, as is the central riff. This is screamer is just so tasty.
Regret
There is plenty of country music built into this balladic piece. It's definitely among the mellowest music of the disc. The slide guitar brings some serious twang to the number.
Almost Feels Good To Feel Bad
This is a big change. While it's another bluesy piece, this has a lot of retro jazz styling built into it. It's a powerhouse cut that really works so well. The horn work on this brings a lot of magic to it, but the whole arrangement oozes cool.
Walkin' In The Fire
A mainstream rocker, this has some country in the mix. It's another solid tune on a disc with no weak material. In fact, this is one of the best on the disc. There is a real 1970s rock vibe (think Derek and the Dominoes, Blind Faith, etcetera) here.
It's Getting Late
Some serious country and bluegrass makes up the concept here. This has good energy and catchy hooks.
The Letter
Acoustic guitar brings this into being. The vocals come in over the top, bringing a real balladic approach. This is a folk song for certain. It's one of the mellower pieces here.
I Counted On You
A blues rocker, for some reason this makes me think of The Grateful Dead just a bit. I really dig the guitar soloing on this thing a lot.
Urban Angel
Jazz and psychedelia seem to merge on this mellow cut. It's so dramatic despite (or perhaps because of) it's mellow nature.
805
More of a countrified ballad, I like this, but I think either of the two previous cuts would have made stronger closing pieces.
 
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