Bob Norman | Love Lust & Lilacs

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Folk: Modern Folk Country: Country Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Love Lust & Lilacs

by Bob Norman

Third CD from a folk veteran: "His songs and voice are warm and inviting, autobiographical but universal; they celebrate life's simple pleasures while tackling bigger issues" The Princeton Packet
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Brightest Star
4:06 album only
2. Big Blue Engine
5:07 album only
3. Wind-Blown Blackbirds
3:19 album only
4. Love or Lust
3:47 album only
5. Five Days to Pitchers and Catchers
3:44 album only
6. The Land of the Winds
6:14 album only
7. Lady With the Lilacs
4:04 album only
8. The One That's On My Mind
3:00 album only
9. The Long Road to Lawrenceville
4:24 album only
10. The Camera Doesn't Lie
3:54 album only
11. The Gentle Midnight Rain
4:06 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."

"Love Lust & Lilacs" is Bob's third 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 Eugene Ruffolo on backup vocals, Stanley Schwartz on keyboards, Warren Odze on drums, Kenny Kosek on fiddle, Abby Newton on cello, Saul Broudy on harmonica, and Donald Castellow on Irish low whistle. Reviews follow.



to write a review

– Moshe Benarroch, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

Bob Norman is a very professional singer-songwriter, very much in the vein of the New York school whose unofficial master is Jack Hardy. . . His knowledge of folk music is evident from his recordings. . . His lyrics are very well written . . . In "Love or Lust," an energetic song and one of the best ones on "Love Lust & Lilacs," he sings:
"I don’t know if it’s love or lust/
That spins these wheels till the hubcaps rust/
That twirls this world through the cosmic dust."
In other songs, you’ll find "And the soil, it turned to sand, and the corn could not grow, see how it dies, row after row" and many other unforgettable lines you will want to sing along with. Each one of the songs has at least two or three sentences that will, at the same time, make you sing and think about the meaning of living and the world. I think that this is what great songwriting is about. I definitely urge anyone interested in singer-songwriters to give this man a listen, but even more I recommend any singer or band to dig into the songs of this great songwriter. There may be more than one hit here, and many songs that will bring out the best in a great singer. This is my first encounter with Norman’s music, and I am sure I will be listening to his CDs a lot and for a long time.

– Larry Parnass, Hampshire Gazette

Bob Norman is a journeyman folkie, a man with a direct approach to his trade whose songs entertain and comfort. Norman turns ordinary life into small and unpretentious charms you might hang on a bracelet that’s just right for everyday. . . On "Love Lust & Lilacs," he sings in a voice still chuckling from between-song musings with his listeners. Norman’s folk comes trailing scents of the ’60s. His "The Brightest Star" is a feel-good reminiscence of a loving relationship that has woven a new family. Though Norman and his guitar hold center stage in his music, he’s enlisted help here from a circle of friends, two of whom supply a pretty call-and-response in "The Brightest Star" between a low whistle and a fiddle. These are openly confessional tales that have a time-capsule quality in the way they savor the acts of songwriting and performance. "Wind-Blown Blackbirds," which Norman fills with Technicolor images, is nearly spoken. He sets those blackbirds against "a red-streaked sky." The song "Big Blue Engine" offers this: "Sing your song you red-headed finch, go ahead on, you big blue engine."

– Chuck Thurman, Coast Weekly

Bob Norman makes an annual pilgrimage to California from his digs back on the East Coast, and this year he’s touring in support of his newest CD, "Love Lust & Lilacs." Norman’s a dyed-in-the-wool folkie with a pedigree that includes a seven-year stint in the ’70s as the editor of "Sing Out!", one of the leading magazines covering the folk music scene in this country. We’re talking about a guy whose approach to the music is as intellectually informed as it is emotionally propelled. So it’s not surprising to hear a ghostly host of influences in his music. It almost goes without saying that the music of today’s folksingers owes a debt to Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. What’s more interesting is to hear the other influences . . . In a couple offerings, there’s a taste of high-lonesome Jimmie Rodgers (sans yodeling) harmonica, and even more interesting, there’s also a touch of Phil Ochs on "Land of the Winds." There’s an almost ethereal willingness to rely on the emotionality to carry the poetry of the song. But Norman sounds more comfortable on songs like "Lady with the Lilacs" that evoke something of the sound of early Jimmy Buffett (you remember, before he became a parrots-and-rum parody of himself), or on "The Long Road to Lawrenceville" and "The Camera Doesn’t Lie" (a duet with Linda LoPresti)‚ the easy, almost singalong quality of a Jerry Jeff Walker. "Love Lust & Lilacs" is an interesting combination of sounds and styles.

Sandy Tomcho, Times Herald-Record

Bob Norman’s latest Night Owl Records release, "Love Lust & Lilacs," is a great contribution to folk music. Norman’s songs are graceful and compelling with poetic lyrics and traditional and contemporary folk styles.

Jenny Ivor,

"Love Lust & Lilacs" is the first I’ve have heard of Bob Norman, and I’d happily keep an ear to the ground for his next album. His voice at first put me in mind of Leonard Cohen (but not so depressing!) and his lyrics made me think a bit of Janis Ian and Chris Rea--but his music is completely his own...The songs conjure pictures of startling clarity... "The Land of the Winds" is a stately epic of a song, sorrow and joy flying together; close your eyes and see "where the hawk flies so high, 'till he melts into the sun," the winds whistling over the land, and your "heartstrings may well be torn" by the solemn beauty of this song..."Love Lust & Lilacs" is a combination of two song titles on the album, "Love or Lust" and "Lady With the Lilacs," both laden with imagery and adept rhyme...You quickly find yourself singing the odd snatch of song that has left an indelible imprint in your subconscious mind. In my CD collection, this one's a keeper!