Bob Norman | To The Core

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Folk: Modern Folk Pop: Folky Pop Moods: Type: Acoustic
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To The Core

by Bob Norman

Second CD from a folk veteran: "His songs conjure images of men huddled in bars, lighthouses shining through mist, snow covering a train yard, and wolves prowling a frozen forest." Norwich Bulletin
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Night Has Just Begun
5:09 album only
2. Like a Sailor Sighin'
5:12 album only
3. Big Apple (To The Core)
5:12 album only
4. Mountain Bluebird
4:14 album only
5. Eyes Like a Fox
5:27 album only
6. Saturday Night
4:00 album only
7. Bottles and Cans
3:58 album only
8. The Wolf in the Frozen Woods
4:42 album only
9. Thanksgiving Waltz
3:29 album only
10. Clarita
6:48 album only
11. Sammy's Song
3:54 album only


Album Notes
Bob Norman's unusual songs, gentle wit, intricate guitar and harmonica work, and passionate singing have charmed folk audiences across the country for 23 years now. According to Pete Seeger, Bob writes "warm, wonderful, very singable songs that capture the bittersweet lives of working people in a big city--the people who will not give up hope, love, and laughter." The son of a symphony orchestra conductor and a former editor of "Sing Out!", the nation's leading folk song magazine, Bob manages to fuse such varied influences as blues, country, contemporary folk, and classical guitar into a fascinating evening's entertainment.

The "Los Angeles Times" has called Bob Norman "a mainstay of the folk circuit." His multifaceted career in folk music has spanned more than 30 years. From 1970 to 1977, he was editor-in-chief of "Sing Out!", then served on its board until 1990, primarily as chairman. Since 1979, he has performed in major clubs, coffeehouses, and festivals from Boston to San Diego, sharing stages with folk legends like Seeger, Tom Paxton, Richie Havens, Jack Elliott, and Dave Van Ronk and gifted younger songwriters like John Gorka, Suzanne Vega, David Massengill, Shawn Colvin, and Patty Larkin. In 1990, Norman was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Competition at the Columbia River Folk Festival. In 1985 he performed in and directed the music for the Off-Broadway play "Back County Crimes".

A glance at some of the musicians who have performed or recorded Bob's songs reveals the range of his writing: The list includes folk patriarch Pete Seeger, the brilliant blues and gospel singer Eric Bibb, Argentinian poet and songwriter Bernardo Palombo, and midwest folk-rocker Cooker John, a recent Modern Folk winner in the Minnesota Music Awards competition. Bob's songs have appeared in the "Fast Folk" CD magazine and in "Sing Out!", and one was used as the theme for a 1997 film called "It's About Power". "Like all good songwriters," says the "New Yorker" magazine, "Norman can distinguish the romantic from the sentimental; his bittersweet accounts of urban life are blissfully free of sappiness."

"To The Core" is Bob's second CD of original songs. Like the others, it was produced for Night Owl Records by Bob Rose. In addition to Bob Norman's vocals, guitar, and harmonica, it features Bob Rose on guitars, mandolin, bass, and percussion, Linda LoPresti and Philip Goodbody on backup vocals, Larry Campbell (of Bob Dylan's band) on fiddle and pedal steel, David Massengill on dulcimer, Abby Newton on cello, Mark Wenner (of the Nighthawks) on harmonica, Stanley Schwartz and Bob Steen on keyboards, Lawrence Feldman on flute and saxophone, John Miller on acoustic and fretless bass, and Nydia Mata, Skip LaPlante, and Carole Weber on percussion. Reviews follow.



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– Ken Stroebel, Norwich Bulletin

The 11 tracks on Bob Norman’s "To The Core," are rich with imagery and ideas that reflect the folk singer’s urban roots and love of nature . . . Norman’s a 25-year veteran of the folk scene who’s shared the stage with legends such as Pete Seeger and Richie Havens . . . Although most of the tales on "To The Core" are of city life--New York particularly--nature is a powerful presence in nearly all of them. The sky, the wind, the sea, and the snow seem always to be vying with buildings, sidewalks, cars and despair for influence over men and women. Norman’s songs conjure images of men huddled in bars, lighthouses shining through mist, snow covering a train yard, and wolves prowling a frozen forest.

– Mike Regenstreif, Sing Out!

On "To The Core," singer-songwriter Bob Norman offers up 11 new songs, many of which are observations of life in Manhattan’s urban landscape describing everyday people going about their lives in the big city. In "The Night Has Just Begun," Norman captures the essence of an early evening scene in Greenwich Village as he describes the various comings and goings unfolding in the corner bar with the ballgame on the TV while a John Coltrane tune plays on the--obviously hip--jukebox. Meanwhile, a movie is being shot on the street outside and the winos sit by the river watching the sunset. In "Bottles And Cans," Norman assumes the role of a street person who survives by collecting discarded bottles and cans that can be redeemed for their deposits, and in "Sammy’s Song," he writes about a happy city kid from a father’s loving perspective.
In addition to the city songs, there are several drawn from other inspirations. "The Wolf In the Frozen Woods" mourns a childhood friend apparently lost to suicide, and "Like A Sailor Sighin’ " celebrates both the return of the once nearly extinct osprey to Norman’s home town as well as a summer visit there by the singer himself. In addition to his own guitar and harmonica, Norman surrounds himself with various New York musicians such as David Massengill on dulcimer, cellist Abby Newton, and Larry Campbell on fiddle and pedal steel.