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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bob - Leave the Straight Life Behind

The year was 1988 when I first heard BOB. It was their first session for John Peel and what a cracker it was, including the classic 'Trousercide'. I set about quickly buying as many Bob records as I could: 'Swag Sack', 'Kirsty' and 'Convenience'. 

Not long after I saw them live in Hull at The Adelphi and it was a smashing do. After that I was completely hooked and I waited for every new release with a sweaty anticipation, buying records from a mail order booklet called Rhythm. The news of a new album, 'Leave the Straight Life Behind', nearly gave me a fatal attack of giddiness. Sadly, it wasn't quite as good as their previous stuff, too well produced. Nevertheless, I saw them again a couple of times live and they were without doubt some of the best popular music concerts that I had the pleasure of going to. Then that was it. No more BOB. Just a little bit, life dimmed.

Until recently, when I was lurking around HMV window shopping and there, there on the CD rack was a brand new pristine copy of 'Leave the Straight Life Behind' on CD. Those old feelings came rushing back. Wait a minute, £15! HMV, you're having a laugh. But then Mrs. evlkeith noticed a number of bonus tracks: all of the five BOB sessions plus four additional songs. New BOB material! 

So why have I got this obsession with BOB? What's so great about them? They are perfect pop. And that's it. Twinkly indie guitars, lead lines played as intervals on the top two strings, a bit of organ and two blokes singing in harmony, one guy with a slight (very slight) hint of gravelly lowness and the other bloke with a lighter tone. Their voices mesh like Heinz tomato soup and cheese. Some ditties are designed purely for dancing and some are more laid back numbers that I always imagine would be great for listening to when lying on warm grass at the end of a summer's day.

Of the new stuff there's nothing that tops their previous classics but still, it's great to hear them. The biggest surprise was a different version of 'Bloodline' that is fast becoming one of my favourites. There's also a BBC Radio Humberside Live Session version of 'Convenience' but it's not as good as the single version. Here's hoping that someone releases all of the other older BOB stuff soon on CD.

If you've never heard any BOB, then dip your toe into their soda streamed poppy waters. You would have to be very harsh of heart to dislike their jingly jangliness.


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