Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Fluff: The Bobs

Here's a little musical fluff to brighten up your summer day.  Anybody else here a fan of The Bobs?

I've seen The Bobs perform a few times over the years, and I love their off-beat virtuosity. They are an a capella group with a twist.  And they are awesome.

I'm a big fan of a capella music (just vocals, no instruments) and doo wop music in general.  However, this is not your grandma's a capella music.  They've been called "New Wave A Capella" and they specialize in very off-beat, often humorous songs, either covers of other material or original songs written by members of the group. They merge pop, blues, and jazz, often utilize non-traditional harmonies, and generally push the envelope of a capella music in a major way. They describe themselves on their website in the following way:
The Bobs (prat)fall outside a cappella traditions, landing in a hot tub of humor and vocal prowess. What other band can headline The American Songbook series, open for Frank Zappa and The Dead, and perform for 700 million people on the Emmy Awards?
The Bobs were founded in 1981 but hit the big time in 1984:
Matthew Stull and Gunnar Madsen founded The Bobs in 1981 in Berkeley, California, and were quickly joined by bass singer Richard Greene and ├╝ber-alto Janie Scott. They performed in the San Francisco area until a 1984 Grammy nomination for their unique vocal cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” catapulted them into a national and international tour schedule.
As is common in many groups, they have rotated through several different singer line-ups over the years. MatthewBob and RichardBob are the longest-serving members of the group, and are currently joined by DanBob and AngieBob. (Yes, all the members have "Bob" in their psuedo-names.) More information (including upcoming concerts and how to buy their albums) is available at their website, The Bobs.

If you ever get the chance to see them in person, take it!  They're famous for their show patter, so it's usually a very entertaining show.  If you are very traditionally-minded in your music preferences, you might not enjoy some of their songs (which can be pretty offbeat harmonically), but generally speaking, the humor and the sheer virtuosity with which they perform is enough to win over most people.

Here are a few videos of some of their more wide-appeal songs to get you started.

The first is "There Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens."  It's a cover of an old Louis Jordan song, and it's straightforward and fun.  Check out the cool scatting by DanBob Schumacher.

Here is "The Tight Pants Tango", a tribute to the dancing that happens when your cell phone rings when ensconced in the pocket of pants that are far too tight.

Here is a link to another video of "The Tight Pants Tango". You can't see everyone, so it's not as good a video, but it's got all the lyrics listed, so some might enjoy looking at that one instead.

Finally, for cat fans everywhere, a very bizarre but funny song called "Fluffy's Master Plan for World Domination" about how cats are plotting to take over the world. It's a fan's amateurish video of The Bobs soundtrack, mind, but it's still fun.  Enjoy!


Moose said...

One word: HELMET.

Twistie said...

Not only do I know The Bobs, I knew them before the world did. They started in my neck of the woods.

One of my favorite musical moments ever: watching Gunnar Bob and Matthew Bob do a spot on rendition of Whole Lotta Love without a single instrument on stage.

I have all the albums from the Janie period, and many, many fond memories of incredible concerts.