The Bob Corbett Band’s release, Roovolution landed on our desk last week. We gave our contributor Dan Beazley the job of reviewing it for you.
It’s taken me over a week to write this review. Usually I listen to an album in my car (having children, it’s one of the few places I can listen without too much distraction) once or twice and then come into the office and start typing. Not so with this album. The main reason for this is that I’m a huge fan of Bob’s music and on first listen I wasn’t sure it was his best work. I was wrong. This album is a creeper and has kicked me in the feels more times than I would like to mention. Roovolution is introspectively insightful, culturally astute and fun.
The first thing to note about this album is the name change. Up until now Bob has recorded under his own name with The Roograss Band. Not so with this album though. This time the name on the front is; The Bob Corbett Band. So it stands to reason that the band really get to shine on every track, and they sound fantastic. Everyone you know and love from The Roograss Band are here; Dave Carter on bass and vocals, Robbie Long on lead guitars and vocals and of course Sue Carson on mandolin, fiddle, vocals and just sheer awesomeness.
Besides my dislike of the snare drum sound on this recording all other instruments have been given the VIP treatment by Robbie and Bob who produced and engineered the album. The guitars sound warm and percussive, the bass lines are thick and danceable and the fiddle sounds like it’s being played live right in front of you. It’s a great recording.
The first single, Your Hands reminds me of the classic Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls sound. Bob’s vocal on this album has really raised the bar especially on this track. From the opening line “Home grown, the sweet taste of home” to the break down ”oh and anyway the wind blows” the vocal tone that has been recorded here is so warm you just want to take a swim in it. In fact I don’t think Bob’s voice has sounded better. His vocal is really strong on the whole album.
The magic of the quirky song Kakadu isn’t obvious on first listen, but it’s the number I most looked forward to hearing each time I gave the album a spin. Robbie Long’s mandolin and Dave Carter’s banjo coupled with the amazing vocal harmonies really make this number for me. It’s a winner, and one that I believe will be an audience favourite at Bob’s live shows for many years to come.
As I mentioned in the intro to this review, Roovolution is one of the most culturally astute releases I’ve heard in a while and songs like Songwriter In A Cover Town are a great example of this. The lyric, “They’ll let you in but you’re not allowed to tamper with their sacred cow” is just one of the gems that can be found in the 3 minute modern classic.
After a few listens to the album I couldn’t help but thinking that there were two separate sounds happening here. One set of songs feature the sounds that we’ve come to love from Bob, they’re very bluegrass / jig like the opening track, Dance With Me. The other set are more modern pop sounding like the heavily melodic Wherever You Run. It’s almost like all the best bits from a double album mashed together. The combination of sounds just work so well together.
My favourite track on the release would have to be The Kid In Us. This is classic Bob here, and reminds me of my favourite Bob Corbett song, No Regrets from 2013’s Every Day Is A Festival. The Kid In Us has sent more than a few tears down my face and reminds me of my late Aunt Bette who still embraced a bit of cheeky fun right into her late 80’s. While it’s the lyrics that draw me in to this song, the melodic and subtle instrumentation is the perfect accompaniment to the story.
I can’t conclude this review without mentioning one of my other favourite tracks from the album, Cover Band. From the introduction harmonies to the lyrical resolution this song is not only fun and danceable it’s reflective and insightful.
So head out and purchase a copy of The Bob Corbett Band’s album, Roovolution. Not only will you be helping support local independent artistry, you’ll have a piece of culture that will make you laugh, dance and cry.
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live