Luka Bloom

1990: Reprise 9 26092-2

  1. Delirious
  2. Dreams in America
  3. Over the Moon
  4. Gone to Pablo
  5. The Man Is Alive
  6. An Irishman in Chinatown
  7. Rescue Mission
  8. The One
  9. Hudson Lady
  10. This Is for Life
  11. You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time
  12. The Hill of Allen

“Delirious” is such a slick and fast-flying piece of work that it quite astonishes and entrances me every time I hear it. The rest of the album has a few weak spots, nothing really bad, but nothing really to match this opening track. That Bloom moves on from it with a stately, individual epic in the form of “Dreams in America” is a good choice and sets the album’s pacing off really well for how the rest plays out—fast, slow, fast, slow, etc., generally, up to the break between the just-plain-silly “An Irishman in Chinatown” and the somewhat maudlin “Rescue Mission”—that being the end of Side 1 on the original vinyl release. From there, most of the album’s second half does fail to regain the first half’s momentum and rhythm, and the stories in the songs are their chief attractions (if you can get interested in them…which is kinda hard to do after that interruption of pacing). Thankfully he doesn’t end the album with “You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time,” which is almost frantic in its overkill of Irishness and energy to cover the fact that the song itself is too little too late: instead, we get the gorgeous instrumental closing track, which is at once atmospheric and intimate.

I love the intimacy, too, of “Dreams in America,” with its soaringly-sung title in skyscraper contrast to the delicate and subdued verses, with lyrics such as this:

“So we curl into a little ball and roll
to where we lie in ecstasy
Breezes soothe our souls
Listen to the lover’s fantasy”
I admit to some curiosity about what moved Bloom to write “Gone to Pablo”—that it’s about Picasso’s widow Jacqueline Rocque’s suicide in 1986 is clear enough, but what sparked this into becoming a song? His website—www.lukabloom.com—offers no answers, alas, but it does have the lyrics for the album, which the CD’s slipcase did not, so thanks, Luka!