Jonathan Edwards - vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica; Michael Walsh - bass; Ken White - keyboards; Jeff Golub - electric guitar; Gerald Cordasco - drums; Cheryl Wheeler - backing vocals
A few years prior to making this very strong live recording, the first of two nights taped at the Bottom Line in New York City, Jonathan Edwards had all but disappeared from the music scene. After recording and touring for several years in the 1960s in a blues band, he had released his first album for Atlantic in 1972. By this time, Edwards had jumped on the acoustic singer/songwriter bandwagon that was being popularized by the likes of James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Don McLean and CSN.
Edwards was an amiable performer and a gifted story teller who made friends with audiences very quickly. His pro-pot smoking anthem, "Shanty" (in which he sings "We're gonna lay around the shanty and get a good buzz on...") became a Friday afternoon here-comes-the-weekend theme for radio stations around the country. He had a hit single out of the gate with his second album called "Sunshine." It remains one of the most played '70s pop songs on oldies and adult contemporary stations, but Edwards went in a decidedly country-flavored direction after scoring this hit, and Atlantic began to lose focus.
By 1974, Edwards' popularity started to wane. While he still had some earnings from his good years, he bought a farm in Nova Scotia and retired from music. A year later however, he got a call from his good friend Emmylou Harris, who had just been signed to Warner Brothers. She asked Edwards to contribute and sing on her album, which he did. That led to a new record deal and a renewed interest in touring. This show features a stellar band, some of which were also members of the Harris touring group. Edwards sings all his familiar songs, as well as several new ones, including a comical ode to IRS agents entitled simply, "Tax Collector." The song, which his band called "The IRS Boogie," has Edwards singing: "If I give you all my money, can I keep the rest?"
These recordings came from the same tour that comprised his 1980 live album, released on the now-defunct Chronic Records. Edwards does not tour as regularly as he used to, but he is still a great live act. Highlights of this show include "Rockin' Chair (Gonna Get You)," "Surrounded," and the aforementioned "Sunshine."