Prestige - 7384 - 1964

Eric sings von Schmidt

Eric von Schmidt, guitar-vocals-composer
Geoff Muldaur, 2nd guitar-harmony
Mel Lyman, harmonica.
Liner notes by Richard Fariña

Review from The Broadside by Cori Randle

(Cambridge, Massachusetts), May 12, 1965


The cast is small -- just three: Eric von Schmidt, Geoff Muldaur, and Mel Lyman -- the production, kiddies, is a "spectacular." From the title of the album one would get the impression that EVS is the star of the album. Not so. There is a perfect harmony between Mr. Eric and his "sidemen." This is a type of harmony that can only exist between fast friends -- friends aware of the others' musical tastes, strong points and weaknesses -- friends who are comfortable in their friendship. Each compliments the other. I would have thought this harmony was almost impossible to achieve in the cold impartiality of a recording studio. It sounds almost as if this album were recorded instead in Eric's living room with a tape recorder.

All of the numbers are von Schmidt originals. He shows himself to be a sensitive, literate folk poet when he writes things like: "Kay Is The Month of May" and "Cold Gray Dawn. He shows his whimsical, almost Joycean sense of humor in "The Ballad of Edward Teller" and the (yes, Beatle people) rock and roll-influenced "Acne." ("Gonna call up God/ Call 'im on my Princess Telephone/ God tryin' to bug me/ Lay this ole acne on me ").

I'd like to say a few words about Mel Lyman's harp, too. Tony (Little Son) Glover, a pretty mean ole harp man 'is own self, has called Mel "the best around." One listen to this record shows the reason why. Mel Lyman is subtle and tasteful. He complements Von Schmidt rather than overpowers him.

If there is any criticism to be levelled it would have to be at the recording quality. It does sound as if it were recorded with a tape recorder in somebody's living room. I would think that better results could have been, and should have been, achieved by more competent pressing.

EXTRA BONUS: A von Schmidt drawing makes up the cover of the album. (This alone is worth the admission price.)

Like the man say: "Wrap it up. Put her in the can." Yeh.

Cori Randle

  1. Kennedy blues
  2. Light rain
  3. Joshua gone Barbados
  4. Edward Teller
  5. My love come rolling down
  6. Florida woman blues
  7. Kay is the month of May
  8. Cold gray dawn
  9. Just to see you stand that way
  10. Acne
  11. Rattlesnake preacher

an album inscribed to Judy by Mel...
(Thanks, David!)