I've got that devil robot swamp-monster blues
The throaty roar of Big Boy Bloater signals his returns with a new album – Luxury Hobo. Specifically, you are straight into the driving Hammond organ rhythm of “Devils, Not Angels”, which sounds like Billy Preston covering Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll. “This ain’t the girl that you been looking for” he growls, while the track compels you to tap your foot. The devil goes on to get a shout out on at least 3 tracks, and horror movie themes run through the album. If Roger Corman was planning a movie about a monster stalking a blues club then this album is the soundtrack…
“It Came Out of the Swamp” (with its Lego video) considers the eternal problem of an outsider entering a small town, and not being accepted purely because he’s a swamp monster. Talk about discrimination! Complete with a baseline so thick you can almost feel the swamp reverberating. Meanwhile “I Get The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me” is the tender tale of a paranoid conspiracy theorist.
There’s a slight debt to Superstition in “Robot Girlfriend” – which leads off “I knew this guy he had a robot girlfriend”, which has such advantages as “She did everything around the place”, plus “He’d switch her off when he watched the tv”.
It’s the most touching robot love story committed to song since this. Although as you might have guessed from the rest of the album, it doesn’t work out for the protagonist. It’s a truism that songs about the love between a man and his robot never end well.
The last 2 tracks are a real change of pace – “All Things Considered” is a smooth soulful track, complete with gospel choir. While “Not Cool Man” includes touches of rockabilly and surf guitar – with the shout of “all fur coat and no knickers” reminding you that these blues are firmly rooted in the UK.
Only 9 tracks, but with enough variety for anyone with a passing interest in the blues. To me the it felt relevant and not like a pastiche, or a traditional blues album. It’s a winning combination of driving slabs of rhythm and blues, freshened up with funk and soul. Musicianship that sounds it was bargained for at a crossroads meets b-movie lyrics in a late night club where you don’t want to go home yet. If being a hobo is this luxurious then we should all jump that box car tomorrow.
Check out Big Boy Bloater on tour in May