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Bobby Charles - Let Yourself Go

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 02:49pm | Post a Comment

If you're trying to escape the inevitable -- late fall's chill in the air -- then slip into an easy sense of denial by listening to Bobby Charles' self titled 1972 album.

bobby charles


The album is bursting with the organic sound of Bearsville, NY in the early 70s crossed with a dash of Cajun spice and that simple, ephemeral combination will warm you right up again.

Bobby Charles is an idiosyncratic songwriter from Louisiana who wrote "See You Later Alligator," knownbobby charles mainly as covered by Bill Haley and His Comets. Charles wasn't one for fame, and hid behind artists like Muddy Waters who covered his work, allowing him to pay the bills. I'm not sure why exactly, but somehow in the early 70s he ended up in Bearsville, New York, hanging out with the likes of Bob Dylan and The Band. That friendship is reflected in the album's sound as well as its production, which is by Rick Danko and John Simon (who also put out at least one excellent solo album). Members of The Band no doubt also contributed musically to this album, though with the exception of a songwriting credit for Danko, they are uncredited.

The album's songs are instantly pleasing through and through. They alternatively ramble along and bound forward energetically, but all the tracks glow with an animated heat that will take that chill right out of you: quite the accomplishment for such a hermetic kind of guy! There's also some sweet, sunshiney love songs on this album that'll have you feeling the sun on your shoulders again and make the return of spring seem not so far away anymore. It's all very bucolic and idyllic, as you shall see.

Because Bobby Charles hates performing, finding footage of him is difficult, but here's Vetiver recently performing one of the songs from Bobby Charles called "I Must Be In a Good Place Now." It's quite faithful to the original and lovely:

 

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Bobby Charles (3), Bearsville (1), Bob Dylan (47), The Band (11), John Simon (1), Vetiver (16)