Hobo troubadour Baby Gramps is like one of those Japanese soldiers that came out of the jungles of the Philippines, years after V-J Day, completely unaware that the war was over. That's not to say Baby Gramps is in the dark. The cat cops from a solid knowledge box, a copasetic compendium of tantalizing adventure as told through American music on a well-traveled dobro. It ain't quite blues, and though it's richly storied, I wouldn't call it folk, either. Classifying the enigmatic and illusive character that is Baby Gramps is equally beguiling. If you read Jack Black's (not the actor) "You Can't Win," written in the 1920's, you'd be introduced to characters like Foot-And-A-Half George, The Sanctimonious Kid, and Salt Pork Mary. I have a feeling Baby Gramps was in there too, basking in the subversive glow. The man you see on stage is ageless behind his white beard, but if he played all the way back in the 1920's, that would make him — gulp — a ghost.
Baby Gramps performs Tuesday, September 4, 7 p.m. at Record Archive, 33 1/3 Rockwood St. Free. babygramps.com. — BY FRANK DE BLASE