First of all, ya gotta love the CD's title playing off this re-emergent musician's surname. Roger Salloom is another in a very welcome line of past greats who ran into the short end of the stick in major label business troubles (JP Jones and Mason Daring are just two examples chronicled here in FAME) or just plain decided to pursue other things in life and then found their way back home to the sonic muse. During the 60s, Salloom was a regular at the San Francisco Fillmore, appearing with Santana, Procol Harum, B.B. King, and many of the greats. As well, there and in other hallowed venues, he shared stages with Doc Watson, Van Morrison, John Prine, and a host of A-Listers, then, as the 70s wore on, moved to Nashville to concentrate on songwriting.
He later dropped out to raise a family as a single parent and became a syndicated cartoonist. Now Last Call demonstrates he hasn't lost one iota of past formidable talents in the interim. They have, if anything, increased. Salloom's past press rightly lumped him in with a number of estimables—Jimmy Reed. Geoff Muldaur, Jack Kerouac, etc.—but I'd add Paul Simon, Danny O'Keefe, Elvin Bishop, Harry Chapin, Mickey Newberry, even some Del Shannon and others because the man's range is quite broad within his genre. Too, there's a simple honesty and wryness to the lyrics that are touching, deeply affective, often a matter of a level confessional of shortcomings that no one listening can help but share a rueful and grinning remembrance with. The title cut was well chosen as the showcase's sobriquet, as it's a perfect blend of the player-singer-composer at the top of his game...even more so than the rest of the gems here, every inch of this release a pleasure.
The real category for what Saloom is doing isn't easy to fully place. It's rooted in folk, Americana, mellow rock, and the outfall of the troubadouric traditions but gains much in the process of gently bringing them together. A good deal of Last Call is upbeat even during the laments, the kind of sorrowful happiness memories can bring, human beings being so capable of holding emotional contradictions simultaneously—but, man o man, is the Golden Era ever alive and well in his work! And, of course, the raw edge in his voice is classic. Be prepared to be captivated.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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