CD Review: Bobby Long’s “Wishbone”

Bobby Long

 Wishbone  (ATO Records)

 By Brian Arsenault

So I’ve been working my way through a batch of CDs and think I have just about found enough good stuff for a 2 or 3 album review column.  And then I put on Bobby Long’s Wishbone and I go, “Praise the gods of music, Rock Lives!”

Unbridled, unappologized for, unrelenting. I want to yell “Go, Go, Yes, Go” like Dean Moriarty/Neal Cassidy in On the Road confronted with great bop live.

Bobby Long
Bobby Long

I missed Long’s earlier work which they tell me was kind of folky. I got on to him first through his book of poetry, Losing My Brotherhood.  Which I thought was terrific but tended to increase my expectation of an urban singer-songwriter, Paul Simon kind of thing.

Instead I got his driving guitar and a voice that has a little Vetter in it, a little Neil Young in phrasing and melancholy, but is truly his own and in the end sounds a lot like his guitar.  I like it.

“She won’t leave and I won’t go.

She won’t ask and I won’t say.”

Intelligent lyrics. Of course, he‘s a poet.

But let’s be true about rock ‘n roll.  You don’t have to catch every word, but you do have to be made to move, bounce, tap, shake by that blending of voice, guitar, bass and drums that is essential to the form.  The seasoned rhythm section of drummer Pete Stepro and bassist Rich Hinman (who unusually fronts both a rock group and a jazz band) provide sound backing.

“Blood in the Orchard” has big rock anthem power. Not the poorly contrived type — think of bands with “Black” (but not Sabbath) in their name. Rather the Cream/Clapton/Hendrix  kind.

Bobby Long touches those heights at times on Wishbone.  To try to do it all the time is to risk melting wings in the sun, of course. Go there at your peril.

“Blood in the Orchard” and “In Our Way” should get play on good radio and there is some.  Good radio, I mean. Most fair sized cities and up have at least one non-formulaic station playing a variety of stuff. Support them.  Support Them!I want to yell.  Like the Dad in “Red Dawn” (the first) screaming “Avenge me, avenge me” into the night.  Good movie making.

“Making You Talk” may bring Derek and the Dominoes to mind and “Waiting for Dawn” sports a guitar intro reminiscent of Quicksilver’s “Happy Trails” album. Lyrically too.  Outlaw life and that sort of thing.

‘Up through the nighttime running wild…”

That’s from “All My Brothers.” The lyric expresses it, the whole song. The lyrics of  “To The Light” could have been written by Dylan, at least when he was younger.

“My Parade” is a song poem.  You remember Eddie of Eddie and the Cruisers said “words and music” with two fingers entwined. Yeah.

“Stay young in my mind…”

 Even if you are

“Wearing the same sad look as me.”

Rock, good rock, still living, helps you do the first even in times of the latter.

* * * * * * * *

– Bobby Long press photo by James Minchin.

– To read more reviews, posts and columns from Brian Arsenault click HERE

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