I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down – Bobby Lounge
Abitian Records 100
If Jerry Lee Lewis had mated with Frank Zappa, their bastard child would have been Bobby Lounge. The middle-aged Louisiana solo pianist inexplicably marries old-fashioned barrelhouse boogie-woogie with perverted and humorous lyrics about colorful and unsavory characters in a style that is all his own. Lounge was a local phenom in the 1970s before an unexpected and inexplicable early retirement. Seeming to be a tad mentally unstable, he refuses to grant interviews or allow his true identity to be revealed. Lounge's story remains shrouded in mystery, and his return at this year's Jazz Fest was not without theatrics, as he was wheeled onstage in a fake iron lung by a contortionist nurse whom he claimed to be his muse. This guy is a real character, but beyond that, he's a real talent who has suddenly turned the New Orleans music scene on its head.
Out of the spotlight for a very long time, Lounge suddenly decided to resume performing. Sitting down in a private residence after having been away from the piano for most of the previous fifteen years, he recorded this studio debut in order in one take, resulting in a wild and bluesy collection that has stunned many. His piano skills never rusted away, as evidenced by the old Western saloon feel of "Slime Weasel." With an amazing touch for dynamics, Lounge alternates between pounding and subtly glancing upon the keys. As the low-down dirty blues of "I Will" shows, Lounge never lost his soul. Of course, this combines with some very nasty but fun lyrics:
Well, you’re the finest thing baby that I ever sawEverything I want to do to you, honey, is strictly against the law.
Well, he tried to be your dildo-vibrator, Mama,
Just gimme a chanceI want to be your sweet chainsaw.
Perhaps the most impressive track on this formidable collection is "Take Me Back to Abita Springs." It's a sprawling tale of a man who left home in search of fame and fortune but only found bizarre situations and quirky characters as his journey led him back home. Lounge relishes his rapid-fire lyrics while romping in a steamy two-handed boogie. With so much mystery surrounding his life, this could very well be an autobiographical song, although it's doubtful he "vandalized a statue by Michelangelo (and was) shot down in Great Britain on the palace grounds, baying at the moon in the Queen's nightgown."
Bobby Lounge's music is simply a lot of fun to hear. His characters are eccentric, his wit is sharp, and his immense piano skills both shock and awe, creating a very impressive comeback for the mysterious man behind the 88 keys. We can only guess what might have happened had Bobby Lounge not abandoned his career years ago. Of course, he seems to have an idea, as he sings on "If Had Been Elvis":
Well, if I had been Elvis, I would not have gone on dope.
If I had been Elvis, I'd be much bigger than the Pope.
And if I had been Elvis, I would not have made all those tacky Hawaiian films.
No, I could have been Elvis, so much better than him.