"Ode To Thinking" Will Have You Thinking You Need to Hear More from Bobby Long

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Bobby Long Ode Thinking Dennis Russo Critical Blast

ODE TO THINKING is the newest album from British singer/songwriter/guitarist Bobby Long comprised of eleven original songs, and produced by Mark Hallman.

Bobby hails from London and moved to New York in 2009. A product of the burgeoning English folk renaissance, it is easy to hear the influences of both the home of his birth and that of his home in New York.

I have been listening to a lot of “old school” rock of late, so listening to Mr. Long’s CD offered me a chance to sit back and listen to music that would stir my thinking. Not being familiar with his earlier works, I wasn’t sure what kind of songs I was going to hear given a title such as ODE TO THINKING. What I found after listening to the CD was that the album was aptly named.

As each song played, I was intrigued by the complexity of the lyrics. I could tell these were really his thoughts he was putting to song, and he writes and sings them in a way that, in wine-speak, I would say denotes flavors of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, with just a hint of a finish of Gordon Lightfoot.

I found most of the songs very enjoyable and easy to listen to, and was really pleased by the way he made words fit together in a song tunefully that you don’t normally find in a song, but you do when someone is sitting down and talking to you; very skillfully done. He sings them very well, too, enunciating his lyrics very well (which, sadly, too few musicians do anymore).

There were a couple of songs that were a bit boring, where I found my mind wandering away from my speakers and looking about my music room, but it was only a couple. The rest, as I said, I found very enjoyable. (Some of my favorites are the title track "Ode To Thinking," "Kill Someone," "The Song That Kids Sing" and "Cold Hearted Lover Of Mine.")

Personally I can't help but feel that New York itself helped forge him to write many of these songs, because I can visualize many of the emotions and events he sings about that are all around him in New York -- and that’s where I hear so much of Dylan and Simon in his song lyrics, and the way that he sings them.

In this world of sameness, ODE TO THINKING breaks the mold in that you really get a feeling by the end of the CD that you know a lot about the singer himself:  what makes him him, and not just about some fictitious person invented for the song, or just some social topic of the day. There are personal feelings, social commentary, sign-of-the-times kind of events that have affected him, all playing out in these songs, sung in a folksy/Americana sort of way that would be right at home in a small bar down on Bleeker Street in the Village. While many songs of similar subject matter have been written and sung, I don’t know that they have quite been done the way Bobby has written them.

Which brings me around to the sound. I really liked the way this album was mastered. When most singer / guitar players are mastered in a recording such as this, often times both are centered in the sound stage. On this album, through my DeVore system, the acoustic guitar filled the wall in front of me while Bobby was centered in the middle. Now, I don’t mean that the soundstage was unfocused by any means; the rest of the musicians were fairly placed out across the sound stage, while the guitar was both centered and wide. While the depth was not too great, making most seem to be on the same plane, it was all done so well that it was pretty to listen to with good truth of timbre and an organic quality to his vocal textures that put him in front of me. I could hear -- feel as it were -- that this was mastered to be listened to on a real stereo system and not through phones or buds on a portable player or some sorts.

This was a really nice album that people who like a little meat on their songs would really enjoy listening to. I don’t believe there are a lot of musicians out there writing songs these days as intricately lyriced and compelling as what you’ll hear on this CD.

Songs:

  1. Ode To Thinking

  2. Cold Hearted Lover Of Mine

  3. I’m Not Going Out Tonight

  4. Treat Me Like A Stranger

  5. Kill Someone

  6. Something Blue, Something Borrowed

  7. Hideaway

  8. The Dark Won’t Get Darker
  9. The Song The Kids Sing

  10. 1985

  11. That Little Place

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0