30 October 2006
Bob Frank renewed his musical career in 2001 with A Little Gest of Robin Hood, a modern adaptation of an epic poem about the famous outlaw, released on his own Bowstring Records label. Frank has put out several records since, and with World Without End he returns to historical work and accounts of criminal activity, this time of a less heroic sort. Alternating vocals with John Murry, who also co-wrote all the songs, Frank sings of a series of murders, murderers, and victims. Most or all of them seem to be real people from the 18th to the 20th century, and they range from lynched African-Americans ("Jesse Washington, 1916") to adulterous women bricked up in chimneys ("Madeline, 1796"). Murry has a more slurred and slippery voice, unlike the more distinctly spoken Frank, making his songs all the more mysterious as his singing sometimes melds with the musical arrangements, which often include a droning electric guitar. Keeping to the folk tradition of the murder ballad even on these newly written songs, the singer/songwriters offer few if any excuses for the violent behavior of their characters. "Nobody knows why Bubba Rose killed his boss," Frank sings in "Bubba Rose, 1961." But he did, and Frank goes on to tell us how. One may think of the album as a kind of musical version of a Quentin Tarantino movie, and there may be stories here that he and other filmmakers could adapt. For Frank and Murry, the songs represent the renewal of folk music's darkest genre.
Album descriptions on Last.fm are editable by everyone. Feel free to contribute!
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.