Living Blues Reviews No Money Down

“Nearly 30 years later, Burgin has reemerged with an absolutely brilliant CD titled No Money Down.” – Lee Hildebrand

Living Blues magazine Lee Hildebrand review No Money Down by David Burgin

Living Blues magazine review No Money Down


No Money Down Burgin Music – 12-34567

Harmonica virtuoso and vocalist David Burgin was an active participant on the San Francisco music scene during the 1970s and co-led a duo, with slide guitar ace Roy Rogers, that recorded one album for the Waterhouse label and played on the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest soundtrack. He also recorded numerous radio and TV commercials and as a sideman with the likes of Harry Chapin, Jerry Garcia and Maria Muldaur. He briefly ran his own Blueprint record label in the mid-’80s before mysteriously dropping out of the scene.

Nearly 30 years later, Burgin has reemerged with an absolutely brilliant CD titled No Money Down. Although he’s now based in North Carolina, he returned to northern California to cut the 13-track disc with a bunch of old Bay Area cohorts. They include guitarists Rogers, Volker Strifler, Danny Caron and Allen Sudduth, as well as pianist-organist Jim Pugh and drummer Kevin Hayes, both formerly of the Robert Cray Band.

Burgin’s command of his handheld instrument is breathtaking on Chicago blues classics like Little Walter’s Just Your Fool, Muddy Waters’ I Love the Life I Live (Live the Life I Love) and the Chuck Berry–penned title track, as well as on harmonically sophisticated original instrumental compositions such as the rumba boogie Greaseful and the swinging Chillin’, both showcasing Pugh’s keyboard prowess. Burgin sings in low-tenor tones with unaffected conviction and uses precise enunciation to put across lyrics, including a couple of his own. He’s joined in vocal harmony by bassist Gene Houck on My Babe—not the 1955 Little Walter hit but a too-seldom-heard Righteous Brothers blues shuffle of the same title from eight years later.

Rogers is featured on Just Your Fool and on an acoustic instrumental duet with Burgin titled Country Thing that’s delivered in the Sonny Terry–Brownie McGhee manner. Unfortunately, the credits aren’t clear about who plays guitar on the other tracks.

The variety rich set ends on a poignant note with Burgin singing Norton Buffalo’s Desert Horizon that then segues into a chilling instrumental treatment of Amazing Grace in tribute to his late harmonica-blowing buddy.

—Lee Hildebrand


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