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Bob Neuwirth, Bob Neuwirth (Water)
Bob Neuwirth's reputation in the music business was built on his relationship with Bob Dylan. He was tour manager and ultimately acted as MC for the Rolling Thunder Revue. But he's also a pretty good songwriter and has released a handful of critically acclaimed discs that feature an understated approach, bathing his reed-thin voice in a simple, acoustic sound. The albums –- in particular, 1998's Back to the Front -- show a talented songwriter in command of his abilities. Those albums work precisely because they keep Neuwirth's voice up front. The same cannot be said of his 1974 self-titled debut album, re-released by Water Records. The disc features some interesting compositions but suffers from the production values of the times. The disc is a fairly solid example of the kind of country-rock music prevalent in the mid-1970s. It features some solid uptempo tunes –- "Rock & Roll Time" is exactly what it says, for instance, and "Country Livin'" has some nice slide guitar and horn. But ultimately, the disc suffers from an attempt at crafting too big a sound. Neuwirth is fairly drowned out by all the joyful noise made by the legions of music industry luminaries that help out here. It is an infectious record that features some strong lyrics, with Neuwirth taking an interest in the seedier side of things, but on the whole it is more an artifact of a time passed than it is a necessary musical document.