Bobby Conn

The Golden Age

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It takes a few listens, but with a little time the inspired artistic agility of Bobby Conn makes itself known. A shameless borrower, he derives his licks and grooves with the breadth of a P-Funk, T Rex, Prince, Sweet, Motörhead, and Serge Gainsbourg affecionado. On the opener "A Taste of Luxury," the first trace of vocals comes in two minutes into the song, after flourishes of trumpet are haphazardly laced with arena rock guitar. Electric violin enters at two minutes and 30 seconds and female vocals of the Beth Gibson variety at three minutes. That segues into the glammy coming-out confessional "Angels": "We were into swimwear and danced to cheap cassettes." Song three, "You've Come a Long Way Baby," begins with an extended cabaretesque piano melody until listeners are sure Joel Grey will peek his head from behind the curtain at any moment, but then segues into simple acoustic guitar lines as the schizophrenic Conn channels Lou Reed for a few bars before leaping into nearly five minutes of hard rock finale. "The Best Years of Our Lives" is cheesy lounge pop, with Conn dueting with frequent collaborater Monica Bou Bou. And "Winners" is all Prince all the time. In the title track he sums himself up with the lines "I'm no victim and I'm not young/But I'm still driftin'," while repeatedly screaming "kick me" throughout "Pumper." Conn is a camp-enamored pilferer who takes great pleasure in what he does. He closes the set with a little number called "Whores" in which he proclaims, "I'll be workin' on your street/Missin' half my teeth," in his best falsetto to the accompaniment of BouBou's Celtic-inspired fiddling.

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