Tag Archives: Harlan T. Bobo

Flashlite #518

2018 pt2We continue our countdown to the best albums in 2018 and in this episode we announce two albums which share the title of the best one at The Little Lighthouse in the past year. I Am The Polish Army debut album My Old Man struck us with its great enthusiasm, musicianship, songwriting and playful performance. Harlan T. Bobo finally put out his record The History of Violence out on Goner, which just might be his greatest yet. Chip Kinman, along with the help of his son on guitar and his brother behind the knobs created a post-modern patchwork of an album with an astonishing amount of historical and rock references under the Ford Madox Ford moniker. Two ladies, Bat Fangs brought us a quick and powerful rock’n’roll album with hits going steady. Tony Molina on his Kill The Light is even more brief, but the brevity just makes you play the album over and over again. Bad Sports brought an excellent barrage of love punk rock tunes worthy of the greatest examples in the past. Patsy Gelb and her Rats compiled all those perfect singles from their inception on a single record, seriously contending Singles Going Steady as one of the strongest compilation records in the history of rock music. Schizophonics with their amps turned to the max gave us an album that floats like a perfect MC5 tribute. Mama Rosin teamed up with Mick Collins on a collection of cajun and zydeco chants. Ty Segall is as active as ever, but his main release this year entitled Freedom’s Goblin is one of the deepest he recorded yet. Krist Novoselic is back with Giants In The Trees. And that’s our top 10 this year! Looking back at that top 10, this was a really good year and we can only wish 2019 can be at least as good as this one.


Best Albums in 2018
01 I Am The Polish Army - My Old Man
01 Harlan T. Bobo - The History of Violence
02 Ford Madox Ford - This American Blues
03 Bat Fangs
04 Tony Molina - Kill The Light
05 Bad Sports - Constant Stimulation
06 Patsy’s Rats - Singles
07 The Schizophonics - Land Of The Living
08 Broadway Lafayette - Subway Zydeco
09 Ty Segall and The Freedom Band - Freedom's Goblin
10 Giants In The Trees
11 Cross Brothers ‎– Living On Sheepheads
12 Dream Machine - Breaking the Circle
13 Mia Dyson - If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back
14 Earthless - Black Heaven
15 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs
16 Dommengang - Love Jail
17 Giant Sand - Return To The Valley of Rain
18 Anna Von Hausswolff - Dead Magic
19 David Nance Band - Peaced and Slightly Pulverized
20 Ruby Boots - Don't Talk About It
21 Tav Falco - Cabaret of Daggers
22 Ty Segall - Fudge Sandwich
23 Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys - Rot
24 Painted Doll
25 Kevin Gordon - Tilt And Shine

Cross Brothers – No White Mystery;
Giants In The Trees – Seed Song;
Ty Segall – Alta;
Broadway Lafayette – Angola Dreams;
Schizophonics – Put Your Weight On It;
Patsy’s Rats – More Than This;
Bad Sports – Constant Stimulation;
Tony Molina – Look Inside Your Mind_Losin’ Touch;
Bat Fangs – Fangs Out;
Ford Maddox Ford – Immediate Nico;
Harlan T. Bobo – Storied;
Harlan T. Bobo – Town;
Harlan T. Bobo – Paula;
I Am The Polish Army – You Don’t Know;
I Am The Polish Army – Setup;
I Am The Polish Army – My Old Man.

Flashlite #466 – The Best Albums in 2017 (Part Two)

Best of 2017We continue our list of best albums in 2017, this time with top 14 albums. This year was full of albums that will surely stay and I will definitely keep coming back to these many times in my life. Chris Church has came up with with a power pop album that can stand next to all the classics from that disarming genre that only seems effortless on the surface. Big Hogg offered us their extremely playful version of modern day prog rock. If you think Alien Lanes are a classic record, you should definitely look into Stevens and their album Good. Similar albums with great melodies, low fi and clever segues were always in the top of my albums in the past years. Matthew Melton and his wife Doris started a new project Dream Machine and The Illusion definitely made a mark, even politically (although unwittingly). Hayley Thompson-King and her concept record about the biblical woman is truly a deep album that goes from country over garage rock and ends up in opera. Tin Foil are newcomers from Detroit with an addictive set of songs on their album without a title. Pink Tiles return with a record that definitely puts them on a map of serious bands with fun content. David Nance comes from Omaha and has created an album sounds so well crafted, as if he was putting albums for a really long time. Americans on I’ll Be Yours reach depths and territories that were only visited by House of Freaks in the past. Emmett Kelly and his Cairo Gang continue with a series of truly timeless albums with Untouchable. Harlan T. Bobo’s new album came out only a month ago, and there was not enough time to come back to it many times, but it definitely made me rearrange my playlist and put him up on the high third place. It might be his strongest yet. On the top we have Sweet Apple and Bash & Pop. There’s a lot in common to these albums. Both are genre defying and disarmingly playful works of rock’s veteran warriors who know exactly where the sources of this music is. It was a good year for rock.

01 Bash & Pop - Anything Could Happen
02 Sweet Apple - Sing The Night In Sorrow
03 Harlan T. Bobo - Hector, A History of Violence
04 The Cairo Gang - Untouchable
05 The Americans - I'll Be Yours
06 David Nance - Negative Boogie
07 The Pink Tiles - #1 Fan
08 The Stevens - Good
09 Dream Machine - The Illusion
10 Hayley Thompson-King - Psychotic Melancholia
11 Tin Foil
12 Tall Juan - Olden Goldies
13 Big Hogg - Gargoyles
14 Chris Church - Limitations of Source Tape

Chris Church – Fall Into Me;
Big Hogg – Gold and Silver;
Tall Juan – Cuida Coaches
Tin Foil – Shapes of Savannah;
Hayley Thompson-King – Teratoma;
Dream Machine – Diamond In The Rough;
The Stevens – Grandstands;
The Pink Tiles – Writer’s Block;
David Nance – Ambulance;
The Americans – Stowaway;
The Cairo Gang – Real Enough To Believe;
Harlan T. Bobo – Storied;
Sweet Apple – You Don’t Belong To Me;
Bash & Pop – Breathing Room;
Bash & Pop – Anybody Else;
Bash & Pop – Never Wanted To Know;
Sweet Apple – Everybody’s Leaving.

Flashlite #462

Dream MachineWhat a year for Matthew Melton. He put out four albums, one with Warm Soda, two with Dream Machine and one new solo. His lovely Yugoslavian wife Doris got unjustly accused for fascism, Castle Face them both out of their label and then they relocated from Austin to Netherlands. And one of those Dream Machine albums is also new. We check that out in today’s show and wish them better luck with the new label. We also have new music from The Golden Boys (also from Austin) and Steelism. We also introduce The Hooten Hallers. But the biggest new album this week is the brand new one from Harlan T. Bobo. It’s called Hector, The History of Violence, and it’s perfect. At the end of this episode, we say goodbye to Johnny Hallyday who passed away last week after a long battle with colon cancer.

Bash & Pop – Saturday;
The Hooten Hallers – Garlic Dream;
The Golden Boys – Dear Work;
The Golden Boys – We Are Young;
Tall Juan – Another Juan;
Harlan T. Bobo – Drank;
Harlan T. Bobo – Nadien;
Steelism – Eno Nothing;
David Nance – A Cruel Kind of Love;
Chris Bell – I Don’t Know;
Matthew Melton – Afraid Of Myself (Without You);
Dream Machine – Lost in the Thrill;
Warm Soda – To Be with Ramona;
Shocking Blue – Hot Sand;
Tin Foil – Can’t Stay Here;
Bully – Hate And Control;
Johnny Hallyday – Mal (Hush);
Johnny Hallyday – A Tout Casser.

Flashlite #271

Jesse WinchesterToday we say goodbye to Jesse Winchester, a wonderful singer songwriter from the South, who moved to Canada in the late sixties to avoid being drafter to Vietnam war. After that he recorded some of the greatest records in the seventies, with songs which were full of sorrow, nostalgia and longing for his homeland. He passed away on April 11 this year. Besides a tribute to Jesse, we also play some new music. Jim Lauderdale has a new record with songs co-written with Robert Hunter. Paul Starling is another new singer songwriter from LA area. The Singles from Detroit are back as a duet. Baseball Project super-group is also back with another record based around baseball themes. Left Lane Cruiser had a great albu last year called Rock The Back To Hell and now a record that compiles their earliest recordings is also out. Also, check out a really cool, rare live appearance of Harlan T. Bobo’s The Fuzz recorded last week in Cleveland.

Jesse Winchester – Payday;
Baddat For Trubbel – Mandag Morgon Eller Sondag Natt;
Straight Arrows – Bad Temper;
The Fuzz – Teen Rex (Live in CLE);
Left Lane Cruiser – That Ass;
Left Lane Cruiser – Righteous;
J.B. Hutto – Speak My Mind (Blues Alphabet);
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale – I Lost My Job of Loving You;
Jim Lauderdale – Morgan Montague;
Jesse Winchester – Yankee Lady;
Jesse Winchester – Mississippi, You’re On My Mind;
Paul Starling – Natalie Wood Reciting Lines;
The Singles – You’ve Runned Away;
Epicycle – You’re Not Gonna Get It;
The Lupines – She;
First Base – Hard To Read;
The Split Squad – Superman Says;
Baseball Project – Extra Inning of Love.

The Fuzz (Munster)

The Trashed Romeos - Where Dreamers Never GoThings are very complicated this year. There are two excellent bands with the name of (The) Fuzz. Both are special projects from previously well established musicians. There is Fuzz (without “the”) from San Francisco lead by Ty Segall, a band that has captured attention of music fans all over the world. The other Fuzz is The Fuzz, they are from Memphis and they are lead by Harlan T. Bobo. You won’t hear that much about this band in fancy web portals though, except in this one.

Harlan T. Bobo is probably one of the strongest songwriters active today. His three solo albums recorded and published between 2003 to 2010 are masterpieces of rock writing with topics ranging from rejection, to love and settling down. In 2010 Harlan on his record Sucker, Harlan proclaimed Live is sweet and we left him happy in a family setting. But this year he’s back hilariously drunk and boyishly angry and he needed another alter ego and a band to pull it off.

In the press material and in on the record cover, we learn that The Fuzz is a brainchild of Harlan’s brother Hector Bobo, but songwriting credits and vocal delivery is unmistakably Harlan. What we find on this record is a great example of Memphis rock’n’roll in its most uncurbed state. It’s loud and distorted and fun. It’s music of a drunken circus band staggering down a road, which how once someone described Jim Dickinson’s music. With masks and confused identities.

Besides Harlan T. Bobo, the record brings several other well known Memphis musicians, Steve Selvidge on bass and Doug Easley behind the studio knobs.

The record is sandwiched in between Air which irresistibly reminds me on Replacements’ Takin’ A Ride and When I Die which borrows a chant from Norwegian Wood. You will also hear a great tribute to Marc Bolan in Teen Rex. The musical ferocity is what will occupy your senses first, because it’s delivered overwhelmingly loud, but after you hear the record a couple of times, wise words of Harlan T. Bobo will make you rediscover this record again.

Few technical notes on the release. The record came out in Spain for Munster Records, so it is only available as an import in USA. The label on the cover says the the record is Made in Germany, but markings on the vinyl are more similar to the vinyls mastered and pressed in Russia. It’s a quality pressing considering that the record is so loud. I have a feeling that the vinyl is mastered from a digital mix, and it would probably sound better if it was mastered from an analog mix, if there is one around.

Flashlite #251

Leyla McCallaA couple of new things today. Ty Segall is in action again, putting out a demo version of his last year’s album Twins, now renamed into Gemini. So the concept is now closed, it’s a twin record. He also has a band called Fuzz, but now, to complete the confusion, there’s a different band called The Fuzz, from Memphis, fronted by Hector, supposedly brother of Harlan T. Bobo, although I’m not so sure if it’s really not the same elusive rock’n’roll songwriter. Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett recorded a jam boogie record in 1986 called No End, in which he recorded all the instruments. This came out only now, after 27 years. The rest of the show is bit more conventional. We have a new band called White Denim from Austin, TX and a New Orleans cellist Leyla McCalla who recorded an LP with Langston Hughes lyrics. By the way, the house in which he lived in Cleveland is on sale these days. Also, we check out Evan Dando’s tribute to Tarka Cordell and Lemonheads’ de-luxe reissues. But we start off with Dream Syndicate who had an amazing reunion gig in Cleveland last week.

Meat Puppets – Waiting;
Gutterball – When You Make Up Your Mind;
Dream Syndicate – Then She Remembers (Live in CLE ’83);
Dream Syndicate – Burn (Live in CLE ’13);
White Denim – It’s Him!;
White Denim – At Night in Dreams;
Ty Segall – You’re The Doctor;
Fuzz – Earthen Gate;
The Fuzz – When I Die;
Harlan T. Bobo – Old Man;
Madeleine Peyroux – Life is Fine;
Leyla McCalla – Lonely House;
Evan Dando – Lovely New York (Tarka Cordell);
Lemonheads – If Only You Were Dead (Early Mallo Cup) (1988, Live on Wers);
Keith Jarrett – No End III.

Eamon McGrath – Young Canadians

Eamon McGrath - Young CanadiansEamon McGrath comes from Canada. He grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canadian Western province, North of the US state of Montana, with lots of prairies. This is where he started to come up with his first songs, recording them in his house and distributing them around on cd-rs to friends and fans. There is about 15 to 20 of those proto albums that he made in very small amount of copies and it is unclear what exactly is contained in those releases. Perhaps some songs repeated in multiple versions, but what we can tell for sure, they were all recorded relatively cheaply in lo-fi technology.

Some of these first recordings appeared on McGrath first official release for an actual label White Whale Records in 2009 on a compilation record 13 Songs of Whiskey and Light. This is when I first heard of McGrath. Although 13 Songs of Whiskey and Light record is technically a compilation, it really flows as a normal release. All songs are fresh and show a great consistency and a talent of a new songwriter. This is also around the time when McGrath moved to Toronto to pursue his musical career more actively.

With a label, growing audience and extremely positive reviews from the British press, McGrath quickly established his name as the greatest new name coming from Toronto. The quality of the songs also showed that some of the current great songwriters, such as Greg Cartwright and Harlan T. Bobo from Memphis TN, got a new challenger from an unexpected place. The race for the greatest contemporary songwriter is on.

This year brought another release for McGrath. As you can see from the title Young Canadians, the record is a patriotic view on the Canada today and the generation to which McGrath belongs to. He is quite young, in his early twenties, and he can already claim to be the poet of his generation. Images of the Canadian life and landscapes fill the lyrics of the songs. This is not an idealized picture of the world around McGrath. It’s similar to Springsteen’s Nebraska or Born In The USA – it’s patriotism with consciousness.

Talking about Springsteen, this is a name that is often quoted as a strong ingfluence on McGrath. But, it is not the only influence. I can also hear a lot of Warren Zevon, particularly when some cynicism springs through some of the lyrics. On the other hand, McGrath also never hides some of the fresher influences. Paul Westerberg is often mentioned in his interviews and Bob Mould from his “poison years” is another one that I hear. Just listen to the screaming vocals of the closing track Saskatoon on this album, and you will understand what I’m talking about. The synthesis of all these influences in McGrath music is for one perfect. He is picking on some of the most wonderful songwriters in the history of rock’n’roll. Also, the synthesis is seamless. He wears the influences proudly, but also brings a lot of new things into the mix.

It would we wrong to understand McGrath purely as a singer songwriter, although this is pretty logical if you are basing your conclusion only on his records. However, the news comes to us that his live shows are totally rocking, and his live trio sounds more like Black Flag than the E Street Band. If you ask me, that’s kind of a surprise I’d love to experience!

McGrath is raw, unpolished jewel that is rare to find. He breathes greatness from every grove on this new record and we can consider ourselves lucky to be his contemporaries. He takes all from the life and experiences around him and fiercely returns it all to us on a record. May the spirit of Bob Stinson be forever with him.

First published on rockxs.com.

Flashlite #107 – Best Albums in 2010

Sweet AppleEvery year about this time, The Little Lighthouse puts together a list of best albums that we rocked out at the show in the past year. This year is no exception. 2010 was quite exciting as far as the new albums go. I’d say that at least top 10 of the albums are modern classics, with all ingredients that a really big rock’n’roll record should have. I think it’s not so surprising that Sweet Apple with Love And Desperation took the number one. I was fortunate enough to see this album coming out of John’s sketches and forming into a full blown LP. But, even without that part, this record reminds us what a true rock record should be, without twists and frills. The real thing. The we also have Eamon McGrath as a surprising new songwriting talent and also Harlan T Bobo establishing himself as probably the greatest on in past 10 years. The rest of the list follows here:

01 Sweet Apple – Love And Desperation
02 Eamon McGrath – 13 Songs of Whiskey and Light
03 Harlan T Bobo – Sucker
04 Apache – Radical Sabbatical
05 Peter Case – Wig!
06 smRts – Sun Sets On A New Tomorrow
07 Endless Boogie ‎- Full House Head
08 Slummers – Love of the Amateur
09 Tav Falco And Unapproachable Panther Burns – Conjurations
10 Pierced Arrows – Descending Shadows
11 Greenhornes – Four Stars
12 Sid Selvidge – I Should Be Blue
13 Luther Dickinson & The Sons Of Mudboy – Onward & Upward
14 Glossary – Feral Fire
15 Limes – Rhinestone River
16 Kate Maki – Two Song Wedding
17 Mike Watt – Hyphenated-Man
18 The Parting Gifts – Strychnine Dandelion
19 Steve Wynn – Northern Aggression
20 Nobunny – First Blood
21 Demon’s Claws – The Defrosting of…
22 Kropotkins – Paradise Square
23 The Parties – Coast Garde
24 Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Medicine County
25 Nick Curran And The Lowlifes – Reform School Girl

We go from number 25 up to number one counting down using the playlist below.

Nick Curran And The Lowlifes – Rocker;
Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs – Eyes In The Back Of My Head;
The Parties – Let’s Call It Love;
The Kropotkins – Little Drag Racer;
Demon’s Claws – Last Time at the Pool;
Nobunny – Never Been Kissed;
Steve Wynn And The Miracle 3 – On The Mend;
The Parting Gifts – My Baby Tonight;
Mike Watt – Arrow Pierced Egg;
Kate Maki – In Comes the Light;
Limes – Rhinestone River;
Glossary – The Natural State;
Luther Dickinson And The Sons of Mudboy – Angel Band;
Sid Selvidge – Don’t Make Promises (You Can’t Keep);
The Greenhornes – Let the World Behind;
Pierced Arrows – Buried Alive;
Tav Falco and The Panther Burns – Tango Fatale;
The Slummers – Rift Valley Evolutionary Blues;
Endless Boogie – Empty Eye;
smRts – Lenin’s Funeral March;
Peter Case – Colors of Night;
Apache – Bad Kids;
Harlan T Bobo – Hamster in a Cage;
Eamon McGrath – Welcome to the Heart;
Sweet Apple – Can’t See You.

3. Harlan T Bobo – Sucker

Harlan T Bobo - SuckerHarlan T Bobo hails from Memphis and in the past several years, he established himself as the most consistent songwriter on the rock scene, with only his Memphis buddy Greg Cartwright to rival that crowning position. But, while Greg has a strong pop streak, Harlan T Bobo takes things more seriously it seems. I guess, what I’m trying to say here, it’s hard to imagine Harlan writing songs for anyone or anything else besides his albums. The approach is hundred percent personal and we can only be grateful to be in it for the ride. His first album recorded back in 2003 was a painful breakup story. Harlan T Bobo is now a married man and blissful intro Life is Sweet accounts to his new found peace in family life. First half of this short record (only 30 minutes), is mostly folk oriented, interrupted only with the perfectly twisted pop tune Hamster in a Cage, which indeed sounds written in the key of Greg Cartwright. But things get twisted later on with two uncompromising rockers back to back Bad Boyfriends and Energy. And then we have an epic Drunk which is by far the longest on the record and key that creates a perfect contrast with the disarmingly beautiful opening song. And then, at the very end, as if demonstrating once for all that Bobo is equally talented in multiple musical genres, the record officially ends with francophone chancone Mille Chatte. Yes, Bobo is definitely the strongest songwriter today.

15. Limes – Rhinestone River

Limes - Rhinestone RiverLimes are the best hiden secret of Memphis rock’n’roll scene. Brain child of Shawn Cripps, that also contained Harlan T Bobo and Jack Oblivian in the line up at one point, they have been around for 10 years now. But, if we don’t count their Internet and Australian only album Tarantula from 2005, Rhinestone River that came out on Goner this year. Dirty, muddy, lazy sound that rolls out of this record keeps in touch with the best timeless tratidions of this music that we love to call rock’n’roll. This is an album that Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Charlie Watts could have recorded on a hazy, stoned night, while Jagger and Wyman are absents, chasing girls somewhere.