Monday, August 22, 2011

“Bob Lind: Perspective” (self-released DVD)

Singer-songwriter Bob Lind is remembered today primarily for his 1966 Top 5 hit, “Elusive Butterfly”. Over a five-year period ending in 1971, he released a small, but significant body of work that was the equal of virtually any other singer-songwriter during that busy period, yet it went under-recognized at the time, and is sadly largely forgotten today. And then he disappeared.

Four decades later, we find out that not only is Bob Lind alive and musically active, he still sounds as good as he ever did, and is still writing first-rate songs that deserve to be heard by a much, much wider audience. But not only does this recently issued DVD include a number of fine live performances of songs from his recent output in the company of a small, but sensitive combo (as opposed to the lush orchestration that framed his songs back in the 60’s), there are documentary segments that go a long way towards explaining “whatever-happened-to-Bob-Lind”, and why he seemed to fall off the face of the earth for so long.

It turns out that Bob Lind had what we now call “issues”- drinking issues, drug issues, anger-management issues, self-esteem issues. His travails reached the point where nobody in the music business wanted to work with him anymore. Subsequently, he lost his enthusiasm for the music business (though not the music), so he dropped from sight and lived off his songwriting royalties. Eventually, he took a job making up wacky stories about Martians and Bigfoot for the supermarket tabloid “Weekly World News”, and began to enjoy life a bit more. He talks openly and honestly about his problems during the interview/conversation segments on this disc. And while he feels he’s in a “much different place” now, and has become virtually a different person, he confesses to still having a few demons to conquer (anger mixed with sadness), but at least he’s made it back in one piece.

The fact of the matter is, in his late 60’s, he doesn’t sound a whole lot different from the way he did in his mid-20’s, which is an achievement in itself. His voice is instantly recognizable, his new lyrics still thoughtful, richly creative, and personal, the music still polished, but now showing a wider range of influences ranging from country-rock to jazz, as well as folk. Interestingly, on the jazz-tinged pieces, he doesn’t sing in an overtly jazz-vocal style, but the melodies have a bit of a swagger and the band swings in turn. He’s a new Bob Lind, but in ways that should have no difficulty appealing to fans of the old Bob Lind; hopefully this disc should bring in some new supporters along the way as well.

The good news is that he presents current versions of a few old favorites, including “Cheryl’s Going Home” (adding a little scat to the arrangement) and “Elusive Butterfly”, which now sports a surprisingly effective Latin-inflected beat. Unlike some artists who try very hard to avoid performing their old classics, Lind is willing to accept that there are people who will come to see his cocnerts because of their love for “Butterfly”. But the better news is that the new songs are certainly well worth hearing, whether he accompanies them on guitar or piano, an instrument which adds which adds an entirely new dimension to the Bob Lind sound. Yes, his music has undergone some changes, but it is still accessible, fulfilling, and of a high quality.

Bob Lind is not an “oldies act”, nor a simple purveyor of nostaligia. He has not stood still, and there is no reason he should have stood still. He is not a relic of the past, but a viable current artist with something to say that’s well worth listening to. Welcome back, Bob Lind!

“Bob Lind - Perspective” is 93 minutes long. For more information and a sample, visit

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