Bob Neuwirth

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Bob Neuwirth , 6/10
Back to the Front , 7/10
99 Monkeys , 6/10
Look Up , 6.5/10
Last Day on Earth , 7/10 with Cale
Havana Midnight , 6/10

Bob Neuwirth, a staple of the Greenwich Movement of the Sixties, wrote songs for Janis Joplin (Mercedes Benz) and many others, produced albums for T-Bone Burnett, toured with Bob Dylan, but didn't release a single album during the best years of his life.

Bob Neuwirth (Asylum, 1974 - Asylum, 1999) was largely neglected.
Tracks: Rock and Roll, Kiss Money, Just Because I'm Here, Honky Red, Hero, Legend in My Time, Rock and Roll Rider, We Had It All, Country Livin', Mercedes Benz.

Back to the Front (Gold Castle, 1988 - Koch, 1998) was the album that restarted his career, although it took a few years to appreciate. The solemn, philosophical Eye On The Road is one of his masterpieces. The mournful Annabelle Lee could have been on Dylan's Desire. Johnny Cash could have written the sprightly, banjo-driven ditty Private Eye. Heartaches sounds like classic Nashville music. The tuneful Turn It Around, enhanced with a touch of flamenco, is worthy of Gordon Lightfoot. Among the pensive tunes, Venice Beach could be Gambler-period Kenny Rogers. and Akron is a depressed blues dirge in the great Woody Guthrie tradition but would shine as well on a Bruce Springsteen album. Few albums of that year were so impeccably played, sung and composed.

99 Monkeys (Gold Castle, 1990 - Koch, 1999) collects homemade songs, that are as brilliant as understated.
Tracks: Great Spirit, Biggest Bordertown, First Time, Good Intentions, Biding Her Time, Life Is for the Living, Dazzled by Diamonds, Ancient Questions (War & Peace), Winter in Berlin.

Look Up (Watermelon, 1996), that includes Just Like You (co-written by Patti Smith), was his first major statement.
Tracks: Blue Detour, I Don't Think Of Her, What's Our Love Comin' To, Lucky Too, Beyond the Blues, Nashville, Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar, Everybody's Got A Job To Do, Heroes, Traveling Light, Sweet And Shiny, Cloudy Day, Just Like You, Beautiful Day, Save Me Jesus, Gilbert Says Hello.

Last Day on Earth (Watermelon, 1994) is a collaboration with John Cale.

Havana Midnight (Diesel Motor, 1999) is a collaboration with Cuban arranger/composer Jose` Maria Vitier, but hardly a mere tribute to Cuban music. Vitier conducts a classical ensemble and Neuwirth display his folk/blues singing technique.
Tracks: Havana Midnight, The First Time, Dead Man's Clothes, Miracles / Milagros, Don Quixote, The Call, Look Up, Havana Farewell, Aracely's Natias.

Neuwirth died in 2022.

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