Listening to Rich Mahan’s ten track album, Blame Bobby Bare, is like hitching a ride on a time machine headed back to the ending of an era when country music was still raw and listened to on 8-track tapes. Not only was the album inspired by the music of Country music legend Bobby Bare, it was recorded in Nashville using vintage analog gear. This, along with Mahan’s brilliantly written verses make this a killer retro-country album.
Jimmy Buffet would be right at home performing Tex-Mex friendly, “Tequilla Y Mota”, an ode to the weekend bender. I love the sound of Steve Herman’s mariachi trumpet coupled with Robby Turner’s pedal steel and Arlan Oscar’s accordion. That musical combination ties the song up into one big, tasty tamale. A strong Bruce Springsteen vibe is with Mahan as he moves the party to another state in ‘Overserved in Alabam’.
Mahan has a great sense of humor, and it shines through on his song of karmic backlash, “The Hills of South Dakota”. He finds out the hard way, drinking scotch and philandering with a bartender may just land him with a problem below the belt and trouble with his wife. Another song of good times gone bad, “Mama Found My Bong”, is a coming of age country ditty. The wah-wah provided by JD Simo puts a big ol’ smile on my face. Mahan’s “Rehab’s For Quitters” is bound to be a country classic, with quirky lyrics that seem to have fallen off bumper stickers at a truck stop. If I didn’t know, I would have sworn this song was written by John Prine or David Allen Coe.
Rich Mahan is the real deal, and Blame Bobby Bare is a hell of a good listen. I highly recommend this album to fans of classic and outlaw country.