While Barry Goldberg's recording career is largely hogged by tapes of jam sessions dominated by blues cover versions, he was an excellent songwriter and more than deserved the respectful treatment he got here from a production team that consisted of none other than Bob Dylan and Jerry Wexler. This is a collection of ten of Goldberg's original songs, including the title "Imagination" that was a hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips. Goldberg may not have the voice or the personality to have been a leading singer/songwriter type, but his delivery certainly suits most of the numbers, such as the fun "Big City Woman" and the intriguing "Shady Hotel." On other numbers, at least Goldberg has the benefit of being able to say he wrote the songs, since there is just no way he can compete with Gladys Knight vocally. His "It's Not the Spotlight," on the other hand, is such a classic performance that the entire issue of his vocal presence is unimportant. A large cast takes part in the proceedings, including none of this artist's usual cohorts. A nice pastiche of different roots genres takes place, no surprise considering the involvement of Dylan, who can be heard contributing background vocals here and there as well as a touch of percussion. A soulful rhythm section featuring keyboardist Barry Beckett, bassist David Hood, and drummer Roger Hawkins is on board, and is just what the material needs, but there are also shades of country and old-timey courtesy of pickers such as banjoist Rule Yarborough and fiddler Al Lester. On the whole, this is an unjustly neglected album and a feather in Dylan's producer's hat, which he hardly ever wears.
Release Date: 28 February 2010