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Berchtold & Stear "Ghosts Of Music Past"
Berchtold & Stear are David Berchtold and Brian Stear whom together prove with their newest collaboration and CD "Ghosts Of Music Past", that music, great music, of a number of genres, can quite effectively be presented into one magically cohesive album. I have found no better proof of that, in a long time, then this amazing album, which has no problem showing us how songs such as Page & Plant's "Going to California", Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter", and Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm", to name a few, can be played in such a way as to have it feel totally natural to have such a collection of songs on one album.
"Ghosts Of Music Past" is David Berchtold's and Brian Stear's first collaboration together, something you may find hard to believe once you hear how seamlessly their music melds together, throughout this album. With 25 years of honing his craft, David Berchtold's forte' is his amazing expertise at finger picking. The genres David Berchtold explores throughout his shows at "restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, private parties and concert venues", run the gamut of "folk, blues, ragtime, roots rock, gospel, and acoustic rock classics". Some of his shows have been known to run up to 4 hours, some with vocals and some completely instrumental.
For over 30 years, Brian Stear has built a reputation of being a consumate sideman, a reputation he is very proud of. Over the years Brian has played with hundreds of great artists, from David Berchtold to Koko Taylor. An expert multi-instrumentalists, who first started out playing Drums, Brian then progressed to Harmonica, Guitar, Mandolin, even Grandma's Washboard, "which he plays with bare fingers to really feel what hes doing." Brian Stear's commitment to music goes far beyond Studio Work and Live performances, as he "also works with schools, youth groups, educators, and other organizations to present musical workshops to inform and motivate the next generation."
"Ghosts Of Music Past" consists of 15 wonderfully done and interpreted Covers that show off David's and Brian's extraordinary talents, as artists, to perfection. "Ghosts Of Music Past" does have a fine collection of Blues songs, such as Gregg Allman's "Come and Go Blues", Leroy Carr's "How Long Blues", and Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm", to name a few, but there is much more great music to this album then just the Blues. You will find Led Zepellin covered here with "Going to California", which is done strictly as an instrumental, as is Paul Desmond's "Take Five", which they like to play Live as an end of a set song, and one that they humorously call "Take Fifteen". A few of the other great non-blues Tracks on "Ghosts Of Music Past" included "Bottle of Wine", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "Summertime", the Doobie Brothers "South City Midnight Lady", and the one that perpetually tugs at my heart strings, Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter". All great songs in their own right, offered in a bit of a different light, where they are once again allowed to brightly shine on.
All in all, I found "Ghosts Of Music Past" to be an extraordinarily good album, one that really surprised me, layered with rich textures of music that make you feel you are watching and listening to a couple of seasoned veterans, playing off the back of an old country porch.
It was not long into "Ghosts Of Music Past" that I really felt like I was listening to something really special and at times I the music even gave me goose bumps. Also I pondered about giving this album my highest rating of 5*****, not because I was thinking of not giving it my highest rating, that's a gimme, but as to whether that rating of 5***** was high enough, something that I can only remembering wondering about on one other album, I reviewed. "Ghosts Of Music Past" is simply one album I cannot recommend highly enough. It is an exceptional and rare offering, via 2 exceptional and rare artists.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)

Additional Info
1. Mole's Moan 2:37
2. Bottle of Wine 2:43
3. Northern Sky 4:15
4. Going to California 3:28
5. Fishin' Clothes 3:29
6. How Long Blues 3:11
7. Water Song 3:37
8. Buckets of Rain 3:08
9. If I Were a Carpenter 4:31
10. Come and Go Blues 3:12
11. Parchman Farm 5:37
12. Somewhere Over the Rainbow 4:14
13. Summertime 4:29
14. Take Five 2:09
15. South City Midnight Lady 4:53
Listen To Samples Here...