Bob Snider

Caterwaul & Doggerel

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AllMusic Review by

On the surface, Snider sings in a rustic, sub-Dylan kind of voice and plunks at his beat-up nylon-six-string with little flourish -- both recorded dry and reverb-less. But the whole is deceptively complex. Behind the roughened surface simplicity lies a rare intelligence and elegance of style, delivery, and content that has long championed by other performers on the Toronto music scene. One can view Snider as simply a classic rambling street performer; a witty raconteur one-man-band traveling caravan. Where Snider goes, entertainment value is never far behind. His best material really does combine both perspectives. While there's an air of "novelty" about it, burlesque/doggerel it is not. Snider's social commentary is gentle and humorous, devoid of cynicism, which actually makes it more potent than many of his more strident colleagues. Acoustic blues, vaudeville, and country touches flavor several selections. Some numbers demand only Snider and his guitar, and are so treated. For others, producer Don Kerr adds unobtrusive splashes of cello, violin, piano, bassoon, pennywhistle, electric guitar, and tuba. Caterwaul and Doggerel captures the work of a true Canadian original for whom "sitting in the kitchen is my favorite thing to do/I can sit in that room and ruminate until the chickens come home to roost/I never have to go very far to cook my own goose."

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