Thursday

Bobby Charles

Bobby Charles - 1972

Famously aided by Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, Bobby Charles' 1972 self-titled LP has often been referred to as "the Band album that never was". Truthfully, it's much much more than that. Charles, a Louisiana native, creates an album here that bridges the geographical gap to a near physical extent, marrying his bayou swamp rock with the Band's northeastern backwoods mystique to land somewhere near the loose southern funk of a Muscle shoals production. Maybe its the addition of Dr. John's piano, organ and unique rhythm guitar that peppers the album with its charming eccentricities, or the pedal steel and Dobro work of Neil Young cohort Ben Keith, but seasoning and guest stars aside, it's really the strength and well-worn familiarity of Charles' originals that drive the proceedings. Despite the company he keeps, it's his show all the way. Among the ten originals is a handful of brilliance, and although the album itself fades in and out of print, it's standout "Small Town Talk" has lived on in various incarnations, most famously on the 1977 self-titled LP of the song's co-author, Rick Danko.

22 comments:

brown beard said...

Hey JR,

the link won't work for me, but maybe it's an isolated case?

Thanks, this looks good. And Nice Doug Sahm post above!

-Barry

JR Heat Warp said...

Thanks for the heads up, Brown Beard. The link seems to be working fine now. Give it another shot! Thanks for dropping by.

Rod... said...

wow - I bought this album when I was living in Dublin in the seventies - found it in a cutout bin for some silly price - and it became one of my favourites - sadly lost down the years... until now! Thanks for this... great stuff!

Miles said...

jr...

thank you for posting this bobby charles lp! it has always been a favorite of mine, but i lost it in a house fire and have never been able to replace it. our man, the late doug sahm, did a great cover of 'tennessee blues,' as did tracy nelson.

don't be a stranger over at 'birds with broken wings.' you got me started in this music blog thing, and i hope i've done you justice.

thanks again!

lakecog said...

what a magnificent gem. a perfect mesh of styles. 'the band' are in stellar form for this one.

Slidewell said...

Hey JR'

It's been a while! Great to finally see this Bobby Charles record. I've been looking for it forever! however, I can't get the link to work! The mass mirror link shows up in the browser, but the page comes up blank.

???

Anyway, hope you're doing well. regards from NJ!

JR Heat Warp said...

Great to see this one is finding its way back into so many collections!

MassMirror was giving some visitors the same trouble yesterday, so I assume their servers are just experiencing some "technical difficulties". Hopefully they'll get the kinks worked out this afternoon.

Pat Carty said...

Nice work JR, I've been looking for this one. You don't have that self titled Rick Danko album by any chance?

JR Heat Warp said...

Happy to oblige, Pat. The fine folks over at TacoSongs posted Danko's self-titled debut last month. Pay them a visit and rummage through the archives: tocosongs.blogspot.com

Pat Carty said...

That's some nice work Sir

Anonymous said...

Hi JR
Thanks as always for such offerings of outstanding merit... I love the Danko version of 'small town talk' and am looking forward to this...
...when I can get that massmirror link to work (ditto the Sir Douglas Quintet).
I'll keep trying.
Taro

Joseph "Jon" Lanthier said...

I don't know if this helps anybody, but for me massmirror refuses to work in specific browsers periodically (I'm on a Mac, I should mention). 99% of the time Safari hates it, about 70% of the time Netscape hates it, and about 40% of the time Firefox hates it (the rate champ by default...). But, if I try all of them, I usually get the links to work, just takes a little extra effort...well deserved for excellent posts such as these.

To my ears Bobby does "Small Town Talk" just a trifle better...the groove is less forced, not to disparage Danko or his terrific eponymous solo ("Shake It" is still on the iPod....).

JR Heat Warp said...

Thanks for the lowdown Jon. I think the final ruling is that the great MassMirror experiment was a failure. It looks like I'll be switching back to Sharebee for the time being.

I agree that Bobby's Small Town Talk is the best version out there. What a great lazy, loping groove.

TLT said...

What a great little record! Very nice easy-going grooves, even if the middle songs could use a little editing. Great hearing a touch of Dr. John in there, too.

whiteray said...

Nice stuff . . . as usual! Thanks . . . and keep feeding our habits!

Orpheus said...

JR: For what it's worth Mass Mirror has never been a problem for me on my Mac. With Safari or any other browser (fire fox). Just downloading this one now never having heard it but looking forward to finding a gem I missed back when it was released. Thanks again for your efforts in making the music available.

esping said...

Thanks for reminding me how great this album is. I picked up a dozen or so copies from the bargain bins and gave them away. Everone who's heard it seems to love it. Fantastic album.

jtrt said...

Hey there,
I've just found a copy of the record this afternoon (Japanese import): I'm thrilled! Obviously, a new reissue is under way (due in August) for those of you who were desperate to find this record again (and not willing to pay 70 bucks on AZ) or having trouble with downloads!
Thanks for the blog by the way.

J. (Paris, France)

Anonymous said...

Hi great site, quality lps, Mass mirror not working for me either so any chance of a re-up when you get a mo would be great!
thanks
john h

JR Heat Warp said...

Re-upped! Thanks for the heads up.

Chinaski said...

Cooool!

I've been looking for this for years! Thou hast saved me of further rummaging thru bargain bins, kind Sir, and I thank thee. (not that I will stop with the bargain bins, of course...)

Cheers,

Chinaski

unitstructure said...

I'm looking forward to listening to this because whenever I see geoff muldauer play he speaks so highly of mr. charles.