Album – FUNKY IN THE COUNTRY
FUNKY IN THE COUNTRY
Recorded live at Amazingrace Coffee House in 1974, this solid collection of songs had been several years in the making. Accompanying himself on 12-string guitar, with John Guth playing lead, Bob returns to the pure acoustic folk sound with which he had long been identified. Recognizing that formulas used by the major labels allow for little remuneration for the artist until all expenses are recouped, Bob did something very few performers were doing at that time – he released Funky in the Country on his own label.
Legend Enterprises 1974
Bob Gibson Legacy (Re-issue) 2008
NEWS, REVIEWS & NOTES
Gibson was both deadly serious and breezily cool, qualities in abundant evidence throughout the performance. His adroitness in the style permeates the roster of songs… Funky carries a vibe impossible to evoke now…
Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Review by Mark S. Tucker
This re-issue CD is the first in a five-some constituting a long-overdue revisitation of an industry legend who never really attained to his proper niche in the public eye. Though word of him only rarely leaks out now, Gibson was once one of the key figures in modern folk music and fairly esteemed for it.
A live gig from the Amazingrace dive (Evanston, IL), Funky carries a vibe impossible to evoke now in the 00’s. Then, on the consumer side, the LP itself is very hard to locate and expensive as hell if you do, so there’s a blessing present in many more ways than one.The release is, as I infer, actually a crucial recording, representing a splinter of folk in danger of being entirely swamped by the many permutations that came after. As attractive as those are, this is a piece of history, as is Gibson, and needs to be preserved in the annals no less than the rudimentary and evolving forms of roots blues, jazz, and other American modes.
Though the folk “brand” itself goes back endlessly into the recesses of time, Gibson was not only there while it was being made anew on these shores but was a key figure. His music was not the type Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, or any of the other Brit marvels were making but rather found itself pushed further as a blend of the prairie with the streets of New York.
Like his inspiration Seeger, Gibson was both deadly serious and breezily cool, qualities in abundant evidence throughout the performance. His adroitness in the style permeates the roster of songs chockablock with broad slices of humor partially attributable to a partnership with Shel Silverstein, a pairing that would come to yield ever more bountiful returns as the years proceeded. The tracks also demonstrate why Bob would attract Tom Paxton as a sometime-confederate and musical soulmate: lots in common ‘twixt the twain. In fact, it might even be said that Funky in the Country represents the perfect dividing point at which Dylan, ultimately and controversially a provocateur, deviated from both traditionalism and Gibson-styled novo-folk to create what would dominate the style and still does. Thus, the CD provides a very interesting retrospective scrutiny upon a little-known nexus understood only now, in contrast to the record.
Gibson at his set building best, always varied in tempo and tone… Guth and Gibson play off of each other beautifully. It’s an amazing piece of work, one that I’ve been listening to consistently since 1974 without ever becoming bored …
Review – Rambles.net
In 1974, when he first decided to try to re-establish himself, Gibson recognized that, given his experience with record companies, he would be better off starting his own label, a move that is now standard among folk performers but was then a radical departure from the way things were done. Funky in the Country, the 1974 album he released on his own Legend Enterprises label, is a live set recorded at Chicago’s Amazing Grace. It features Gibson on 12-string guitar and John Guth on lead 6-string, although designating Guth as the lead guitar isn’t always accurate since both men step out front. With one exception, all of the songs are Gibson compositions.
The set gets off to a flying start with “Cindy Dreams of California,” a song that features some of the best acoustic guitar playing you will ever hear, as Gibson’s 12-string booms out chords and bass runs while Guth plays intricate solo patterns above Gibson’s rhythm. It’s an amazing song.
He then slows it down with the only song he didn’t write, Shel Silverstein’s “I Never Got to Know Her Very Well,” before picking it up again with a blues number. As the album progresses, you hear Gibson at his set building best, always varied in tempo and tone, but always with plenty of room for the musicians to cook, taking lengthy solos. Guth and Gibson play off of each other beautifully. It’s an amazing piece of work, one that I’ve been listening to consistently since 1974 without ever becoming bored by it.
The album drew rave reviews, with Billboard calling Gibson one of the finest singers in American folk history. Gibson set up a full schedule of shows and signings to kick off the album but, unfortunately, his first stop was in rehab. By the time he got out four months later, the momentum was gone.