Big Muddy Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/27/2012
Bob Reuter has lived the life. A well regarded photographer, radio personality, lyrical author and musician, Reuter has always been ahead of his time, putting out proto-punk 45s in the 7’0s with his band the Dinosaurs and helping Uncle Tupelo become one of the pioneers in the alt-country world in the early ‘90s. The only thing Reuter has yet to do after fifty plus years of playing music? Put out a 12” slab of wax. Until now that is.
The impetus for Reuter’s venture in a vinyl LP wasn’t a pretty one. While Reuter was laid up in the hospital after a near death experience, some younger musicians who were admirers of his radio show paid a visit, setting the wheels in motion for the Alley Ghost collaboration to Reuter’s timeless rock songs.
A disc that sounds like a collection of all of Reuter’s sounds over the decades, Born There spans gritty, blues-infused rockers, playful folk sensibilities, and even touches on the proto-punk meets garage rock Reuter is most known for. As always, his wordplay is honest, sometimes hilarious, and entirely straightforward, and the disc as a whole has a very spontaneous feel, probably due in part to the fact that it was recorded live, with piano, organ, and extra guitars gently layered afterwards.
The disc begins with a roar, the first few tracks yielding a quick pace of rustic bar rockin’ rowdiness, though by “I Couldn’t Break Your Heart,” Reuter shows a more sparse side, a ballad with some heart heavy wordplay. “Baby, No” has an oldies vibe to it, and wouldn’t have been out of place during a chase scene in Stand By Me, and “Saint Louis,” well, it illustrates just how ingrained that city is into Reuter’s being.
Though he is already a legend in his hometown of St. Louis, it sure did take Reuter awhile to receive the accolades he deserved (he was named “Best Songwriter Of 2010” locally), it was worth than worth the wait for this LP to come to life. The musical autobiography to a man whose existence has been characterized by endless creative endeavors, it’s pretty clear Reuter isn’t done yet, which we should all be happy for.