Midwest Record Recap
By Phil Kurnit
November 7, 2000
MICHAEL JOHNSON/Live at the Bluebird Cafe
After spending a little time being his own worst enemy, it's nice to see one of our fave old folkies moving back to the Minneapolis form that brought him to the fore in the first place. Calling back to his roots, just doing it form Nashville, this set goes back to his days of diversity and ear opening. The Bluebird replaces the Earl and long time fans will be glad to have an old friend back.
Len Jaffe from Springfield, VA
***** out of 5 stars
September 14, 2000
Michael's first live album of his career
Michael Johnson is the singer's singer and the guitarist's guitarist...no question. He is arguably the finest interpreter of songs written by Nashville-based and Americana writers working today, and this collection of material, recorded over several months at the famous Nashville showcase club, bears that out. It is a "bare bones" recording, basically just Michael with his classical guitar, sparingly accompanied by harmonica player extraordinaire "Jelly Roll" Johnson and the lovely harmonizing of Suzanne Sherwin. A couple of Michael's signature tunes, "Bluer Than Blue" and "Roller Coaster Run" (my favorite song of his from the hit collection released last year) are represented, but this album was an effort to present material Johnson has performed in concert for years, such as Mac McAnally's winsome "It's My Job" and Pat Alger's clever "(You Will Always Be) Heart And Soul To Me". The killer song of the set, guaranteed to become a wedding standard in the near future, is the beautifully crafted "If I Fell From Grace With You".
If you're not a fan of live recordings, this will do little to change your mind. However, this is very representative of what Michael does in his shows, the songs interspersed with humorous barbs (catch the one about Toulouse-Lautrec when you listen) and Michael's wonderful baritone and showmanship. I will be listening to this disc for quite some time, and will likely come back to it frequently. I think you will too.
Bryan from Eagan, MN
***** out of 5 stars
February 12, 2001
Just as I remember him...
In the early and mid-70's those of us fortunate enough to hear Michael live in Twin Cities venues knew he was a special talent. This takes me back to those wonderful times when I could have listened to him play all night. This IS Michael Johnson LIVE, just as I remember him.