Bob Lind’s 1966 work achieves the all too rare accolade of sounding just as fresh today as it did back then, when his work stood head-and-shoulders above his contemporaries and evoked feelings of wonder and delight. What was it then that marked him out as something very different? Straight away we can point to Jack Nitzsche’s arrangements on those first two albums, “Don’t Be Concerned” and “Photographs Of Feeling”, that wrapped his songs in a warm and protective cloak of acoustic guitars and distant soaring strings, but it was Bob’s songs that really attracted attention.
His lyrical world was one of the outdoors, of wistful contemplation of life and love; his view was that of a poet. Today we might say he wasn’t afraid to let his feminine side show.
Elusive Butterfly was the big hit, but there were so many more that could have given him the breakthrough hit: Mr Zero, Truly Julie’s Blues, Cheryl’s Going Home and Dale Ann were all from the first album (1966) that caught both the ear of the public and the recording industry. He rapidly became top ‘must-cover’ choice and artists as varied as Keith Relf, Val Doonican and Gary Usher’s Hondells recorded his songs.
Lind had grown up in Denver where, after the obligatory rock group time (Bob Lind and The Misfits), he linked into the local folk scene that had produced Judy Collins. Realising that he had to look beyond the Denver horizon, he went to Los Angeles by way of San Fransisco and got a deal with Liberty’s subsidiary World Pacific, where his songs quickly attracted attention from locals such as the Turtles and Cher. Meeting Jack Nitzsche was the icing on the cake, as the pair got on so well that Jack invited Bob to stay at his home until he found better acccomodation. Nitzsche’s bold use of strings on the first album really marked out the arrangements and production, giving the work an almost ethereal quality rather than the usual sweetening, and pre-figuring Jack’s slightly later work with Buffalo Springfield.
Elusive Butterfly began life as the B-side of Cheryl’s Going Home, but was soon flipped by radio DJs. Lind’s career was launched, and his second LP contained the equally strong follow-up single Remember The Rain, which also charted, as did its flip, Truly Julie’s Blues (I’ll Be There).
Ace Records are proud to make these first two complete albums available again - and, unlike any previous reissues of this material, the mastering comes directly from the original World Pacific stereo production tapes. As a bonus there are also two solo, 1965 demo versions of songs that Lind never recorded commercially.
Bob Lind recently issued his first album in over 35 years, and he’s playing his first ever UK show at London’s Luminaire on 15 June. His celebrity fans include Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker, both of whom are seeking to work with Lind, so this look at his essential early work could not have been better timed by Ace.
By Kingsley Abbott