Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bus 22 to Bethlehem

Bobby Cole put so much time and energy into creating "Mister Bojangles...." he pretty much forgot about the B-side!
He quickly got a few session players to back him on "Bus 22 to Bethlehem," a Dylanesque folk-rock experiment in symbolism.
One of Bobby's massive problems involving any kind of consistent success, was his restless versatility. He enjoyed all types of music, but booking agents and record companies like to categorize their talent. Bobby wasn't jazz, folk or pop. Even though his latter years were spent on the nightclub circuit, Bobby's repertoire ranged from "A-Train" through "The Big Hurt," Leonard Cohen and Procol Harum.
Bobby's lyrics often strayed into the intellectual, while his audience was literally lush. Bobby's pals like Sinatra and Garland (oh, the stories Bobby told) knew enough not to challenge their crowds with anything too complicated. Bobby tended to challenge everyone, and he was complex enough to laugh with the sinners Saturday night, and go to church with the saints Sunday morning. Hence, this song does spring from sincerity.
As you listen to this lost '68 folk-rock number you might find some lounge-jazz qualities in Bobby at odds with the folk strumming, but the song is a meditation on conflict: "the Christians, and the Muslims exchanged frozen looks." Times have changed. Now they exchange mortar fire.

NOW BOARDING: Your download for BUS 22 to BETHLEHEM

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