The Bobs

The Bobs

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To get a sense of just how shocking the Bobs' first album was, one has to consider when it was released. In 1983 the sound on the radio was slick new wave music with a high technical sheen and not a whole lot of soul. Vocal music was stuff one heard out the doors of churches, as relevant to everyday life as madrigals and barbershop quartets. And then out of San Francisco came four powerful voices making wild music, a mix of wacky stuff and stories from everyday life about a roommate who never takes out the trash, about hearing the neighbors through the wall, about whatever the heck "Cowboy Lips" was about, and one had to listen. The opening cut, "Art for Art's Sake," grabbed listeners and wouldn't let go, and it grabbed so many radio programmers that it actually got some airplay despite being an a cappella piece. Likewise was their frantic version of "Helter Skelter," which managed the feat of winning a Grammy for an unknown act on a minor label. The Bobs had arrived in style. Fast-forward and the album held up remarkably well. The songwriting team of Richard Greene and Gunnar Madsen was in strong form right from the beginning, and tunes like "Trash" and "Art for Art's Sake" remained fresh and exhilarating. Those who prefer the Bobs' original material to their cover pieces may just decide that this is their best album, and by any standard it ranks high in their catalog.

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