Too Many Years
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 1999, Volume 6, #9
Written by John Metzger
Too Many Years is one of the best albums that Jorma Kaukonen ever has put together. In effect, he successfully captured the sound that fans have come to expect from his live performances. The disc was recorded in the studio at his Fur Peace Ranch. Consequently, it has a loose, easy-going mood, and for once, Kaukonen seems comfortable and relaxed in his surroundings.
Included on Too Many Years are songs that forever have been concert mainstays for Hot Tuna, and appropriately, Kaukonen shares the limelight with two of his cohorts from the band — Michael Falzarano and Pete Sears. There's no question that Kaukonen's guitar is the focal point for the album, and his acoustic technique shines brightly with a crisp clarity that graces such choice nuggets as Fool's Blues and Home of the Blues. In addition, his vocals have never sounded stronger, particularly on an exquisite rendition of Too Many Years that was re-written to carry a more reflective tone.
However, Kaukonen couldn't have made this album without the help of Falzarano and Sears. There is a familiarity among the musicians that allows them to work together to capture the magic of their live performances. Sears alternates between majestic piano and angelic organ, while Falzarano keeps things moving with his typically solid rhythmic strum. In addition, Falzarano handles the vocals on several of the selections, including a passionate reading of Gypsy Fire that spurs the group to bring the tune to a rousing conclusion.
It's baffling that after all these years, Kaukonen is still struggling to find his audience. Nevertheless, he's managed to persevere, building his fan base one member at a time. If enough people give Too Many Years a listen, his days of small club dates are sure to be over. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box