Marc Silber, “Live at STRINGS 2005”

  1. 99 Year Blues
  2. Hesitation Blues
  3. Bourgeois Blues
  4. The Dyin’ Hobo
  5. Coffee Blues
  6. In the Jailhouse Now
  7. Pearlee Blues
  8. Goin’ to Brownsville
  9. Louisiana Jambalaya
  10. Dancin’ With Tears in My Eyes
  11. Dark Road Blues
  12. Nobody’s Business
  13. The Imbecile Daughter of King John the Simp

Guitar CD Review

Marc Silber & Friends, “Live at Strings 2005”, by Norman L. Beberman, staff writer

Marc Silber is a direct descendant of American music as practiced by the likes of Woody Guthrie & Bob Dylan, as well as one of the very few remaining living links to bluesmen such as Son House, Bukka White & Rev. Gary Davis. Marc first came to the fore in Greenwich Village in the folk movement of the 1960’s, &, in one way or another, has traveled the world as an informal music ambassador.

While a complete history of Marc & his music are beyond the scope of this review, it was with great pleasure that I received a copy of “Live at Strings”, featuring Marc & friends Jody Stecher, Suzy Thompson & Hot Tuna alum Will Scarlett on harmonica.

Marc’s newest CD has 3 of my favorite things: 1) Strings in Emeryville, CA; 2) his musical & personal friends; &, 3) Marc himself. Strings is the brainchild of Bay-area guitarist Joey Lent & is a Private Club of, by & for musicians. For more info, go to

Two-time Grammy nominated string wizard Jody Stecher & fiddle goddess Suzy Thompson’s tasteful playing are the perfect complement to Marc’s singing & guitar-playing. To hear any one of these musicians in such an intimate environment as Strings would be a night to remember. Thankfully, for the rest of us who weren’t there, we can experience & enjoy this once in a lifetime musical collaboration.

Marc really nails blues standards “99 Year Blues” & “Hesitation Blues” before launching into the social commentary that is “Bourgeois Blues”. Picking (pun intended) & choosing their moments, Marc, Jody, Suzy & Will move effortlessly through solo & group playing, showcasing musical skills that have been finely honed over the years. This 13-song CD concludes with Marc’s original instrumental “The Imbecile Daughter of King John the Simp”, which highlights Marc’s pure guitar playing.

Between “99 Year Blues” & “The Imbecile Daughter …”, we are treated to some original compositions like “Coffee Blues” which was written in Morocco if my memory serves me correctly, a few tunes that Marc has interpreted to incorporate his musical experiences such as “Louisiana Jambalaya”. His soulful versions of “The Dying Hobo”, “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes”, “Pearlee Blues” & “In the Jailhouse Now” are played with such emotion that nothing is left on the table.

I am such a huge fan of Marc’s, that it is downright difficult, if not impossible, to pick a favorite track. Having said that “Dark Road Blues” is a highlight of “Live at Strings 2005” because Marc, Jody, Suzy & Will play it so fluidly, giving everyone a chance to stretch out musically while at the same time conjuring up images of Mance Lipscomb playing it; a superb example of how Marc can take an old classic song & breathe new life into it with his highly original musical perspective.

“Live at Strings 2005” is Marc at his musical best; playing with life-long friends in a familiar, intimate environment. Simultaneously thought provoking & fun from beginning to end. Marc & his friends have given us an authentic, meaningful & historic celebration of music that can only come from the hearts & souls of musicians who play for the love of playing & for the love of music. Listen to it & you will see what I mean.

True to his generous nature, Marc has graciously given me permission to upload an mp3 of Dark Road Blues; so here it is! Enjoy!!!

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