Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

MICHAEL PACKER

I Am The Blues - My Story

2014-02-28

Check listings carefully! Some are narration (spoken word), some are new music from the Michael Packer Blues Band, some are narration with music, some are old music from Michael Packer's two 1970s bands, Papa Nebo and Free Beer.

Play the first track off of Michael Packer's album I Am The Blues - My Story and your phones will ring off the hook. "What did I just hear? Can I hear some more? Who is this guy?". The album is spoken autobiography plus music. Most songs have a spoken intro, either as the track before the song, or integrated into a single track. One song was recorded with his first band, Papa Nebo (released 1971), and three were from his band Free Beer (approx 1975. This is NOT the current-day Detroit band that uses the same name.)

Michael Packer spent much time living and playing music in Greenwich Village, and he drops a lot of names you will recognize. He was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame in 2011. Here he tells his story of a life stunted by alcoholism, heroin addiction, well-earned jail time, and homelessness. His gravelly voice grabs you and holds you.  

Recommended: Track 1 "Mr. Packer" mixed spoken word and song. A great intro to him and absolutely worth listening to.   Tracks 2&3 "My Family" spoken intro into song "Uncle Al" about his great uncle Alfred Packer who ate people. Tracks 8&9, "Free Beer" spoken intro into "I'm in Love" by Free Beer. Track 16 Doing Time At Riker's Island. Track 17 This Train (the old Woody Guthrie standard).

FCC FLAG! Track 10 "Bob Dylan and Me" has profanity.

--Gerald Etkind

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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