Blues Traveler: John Popper (vocals, harmonica, 12-string acoustic guitar); Chan Kinchla (guitar); Bobby Sheehan (bass); Brendan Hill (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Master Arnie Lawrence D.M.F. (soprano saxophone); Howie Wyeth (piano); Justin Niebank (handclaps); Kevin Traynor, Chris Barron, Joan Osborne (background vocals).
Recorded at RPM, New York, New York from February 19 to March 3, 1990.
Though Blues Traveler wouldn't have their big pop breakthrough hit, "Runaround," for another four years, they were already a popular live draw by the time of their 1990 self-titled debut. As perhaps the prototypical jam band, Blues Traveler's played live sets that were ever-changing affairs, but this loose, organic-sounding album is a more than fair approximation of the group's early sound, both in the fluid song structures and the way that singer and harmonica player John Popper thoroughly dominates the proceedings. The lengthy songs spiral out into platforms for Popper's conversational, laid-back vocal style and his genuinely great chromatic harp solos (Stevie Wonder is the only better player in the pop realm). The nearly 10-minute "Crystal Flame" is the album's centerpiece, but other elongated, shaggy tunes like "Alone" and the sarcastic rave-up closer "Sweet Talking Hippie" are equally entertaining.