Fifty years after his recording debut (on the 1961 album “The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem”) the great Bruce Langhorne has released his debut solo album, the appropriately named “Tambourine Man.” Bob Dylan, in the liner notes for his “Biograph” box set said ““Mr. Tambourine Man,” I think, was inspired by Bruce Langhorne. Bruce was playing guitar with me on a bunch of the early records. On one session, (producer) Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine. And he had this gigantic tambourine. It was like, really big. It was as big as a wagon-wheel. He was playing, and this vision of him playing this tambourine just stuck in my mind. He was one of those characters…he was like that. I don’t know if I’ve ever told him that.”
Bruce played guitar on Dylan’s “Freewheelin'” and “Bringing It All Back Home” albums, later reuniting with Dylan in 1973 to play on the soundtrack to “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.” In the past 50 years, Bruce has backed up some of the most important folk artists ever, including Odetta, Richard and Mimi Farina, Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte Marie, Richie Havens, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Fred Neil, John Sebastian, Eric Andersen, David Ackles, Mike Bloomfield, Babatunde Olatunji, Mickey Hart, and Carlos Santana (ok, not a folk artist), as well as composing film scores for Jonathan Demme and Peter Fonda (the legendary soundtrack to “The Hired Hand.”) And in his spare time ? Bruce became a hot-sauce maven, with his highly regarded “Brother Bru-Bru’s African Hot Sauce.”
In the past few years, Bruce has endured some serious health problems, and so his friends Debbie Green and George Madaraz decided it was high time for Bruce to take the spotlight. And so with Bruce, they have released “Tambourine Man,” “to preserve and present this unique and joyous music composed by a guy with definite legendary status. The compositions represent the third stage of his creative career and have been only heard by a small circle of friends.”
The CD pictures Bruce’s legendary Turkish tambourine, and album artwork (under the CD tray) reproduces Bob Dylan’s message to Bruce, written inside his copy of Dylan’s “Chronicles”: “To Bruce, “Mr Tambourine Man” Back there was something else ! Like they say, it was better to be in chains with friends than in a garden with strangers. So true, huh ? Stay well and all the best, Bob Dylan.”
All proceeds from the album’s sales go directly to Bruce, and it’s available through Amazon.
Bruce is a wonderful man and a great talent, who I’m proud to call a friend. Check it out and support one of the greats.