Bob Livingston -Gypsy Alibi (New Wilderness Records - 2010)
Anyone who heard Michael Murphey before he found a middle name or Jerry Jeff Walker in his early heyday will surely notice a familiar tone in this fine CD from Bob Livingston. That’s not to say that Gypsy Alibi is derivative—on the contrary, it’s because Mr. Livingston was an integral part of the sound and spirit of those artist’s best work. I was there and witness to some of those performances, which makes me both credible and biased, I suppose.
The songs run the gamut from the comforting folk-rock of “Ruby’s Shoes”, to the rollicking boogie chug of “Middle Ages Rockabilly Blues”. “Country Western Swing” adds a refreshing funky twist to the traditional western swing we’re familiar with, while the title track has a more cinematic sound in the same way that some of Randy Newman’s best work does. But none of this genre shifting ever feels forced. Livingston’s warm and easy vocal delivery is largely responsible—like listening to a longtime friend. The songwriting too, is relaxed and accessible, never making a big show of its themes, but letting the listener come around to seeing the point in his own time. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone like Llyod Maines as a co-producer, someone who has also had a long, impressive career and is well versed in many a musical style. Congratulations to Bob Livingston for Gypsy Alibi—a wonderful work from a deserving journeyman artist that should raise his profile.