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USA Today

Edna Gundersen

Jazz Fest: Wet and wild captures the spirit in New Orleans

Even with its staggering diversity of artists, Jazz Fest seldom serves up anyone as eccentric as Bobby Lounge, the singer/pianist who made his third consecutive Jazz Fest appearance before a large, enthusiastic throng.

Introducing the reclusive McComb, Miss., resident, toastmaster Calvin Tubbs, said, "I've been paid an amazing amount of money to lend some gravitas to these proceedings." Fat chance.

Lounge, wearing feathery wings on his shirt, was wheeled on stage in an iron lung (that's actually an old gym steam chamber with added knobs). He introduces his "closest companion," a primly dressed woman whom he also describes as a lawn jockey, auto mechanic, parole officer, nurse and contortionist who collects Hummel figurines.

She sits and reads a book as he launches into a new song about a Barry Manilow statue made of cheese. He hauls out other Southern Gothic boogie-woogie marvels, including I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down and the epic Take Me Back to Abita Springs. The humor is swift, smart, surreal and often salacious, and his piano playing recalls the prime of Jerry Lee Lewis. No words can describe the freak performance piece that entails Lounge galloping on the keys and spinning a yarn about a Sasquatch-like squirrel while a man in a huge squirrel costume chases a woman, clad only in bra and panties, through the audience until his tail falls off. Now that's Southern-fried entertainment.


03/18/2007 on line

Wayne Z.....d, offical SXSW stage manager

Bobby Lounge

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

I have to tell this like it happened, there is no other way. Bobby Lounge has a whole "act", as it were. When I was advancing this showcase, this is what I was told : "If you like piano players like Jerry Lee Lewis, showmanship like Little Richard, and lyrics like Randy Newman on crack, this is your type of show."

If only I'd paid attention.

Here's the set-up, and what I had to deal with. There's a toastmaster, Bobby Lounge's beautiful Nurse Gina and then Bobby Lounge in this act. Toastmaster gets on stage, does a four/five minute spiel about Bobby Lounge, then on a pre-arranged signal, the doors to the club open and Bobby Lounge is pushed into the club in an "iron lung" as a spotlight hits him and he is pushed through the house to the stage, with his Nurse in tow. When he reaches the stage, he jumps out of the iron lung and, beer in hand, takes the stage to pound the 88s, whilst his Nurse takes her place on a corner of the stage on a chair and reads a book.

Got that? This is what happened when we tried to pull it off. (Keep in mind I'd done this already, earlier in the day at the Continental.)

I explained all of the above to my music production crew and the house staff prior to our last slot of the festival at The Continental Club. Everyone got into place and I walked through the club to the street to check on the progress of Mr Lounge's entrance. When I reached the street in front of the club, I learned that Mr Lounge had just taken an open bottle of beer out of the club (in preparation for his entrance). This a major no-no in Texas. NO OPEN CONTAINERS OF BEER/LIQUOR/COFFEE/TEA/WATER IN OR OUT. Period. No argument, it's the law. Plus, he'd disrespected the club employee who caught him and he's now being denied permission to enter the club and he's my bloody headliner. The guy who caught him called the owner of the club (who'd just left the club AT LAST to have some down-time with his friends downtown), and, after a bit of back and forth, was persuaded to drop it and just let the show go on. Fine. Fire is out.

I turned on my heel and went back in the club, to give the Toastmaster his cue to start the show, got to the back of the club only to find the Toastmaster has just been busted for doing the SAME D*MN THING: trying to sneak a bottle of liquor in the club!!! He was told NO, you CANNOT bring in an open bottle and he said "fine, no problem, I'll empty it. I'll pour it out" - instead he just pocketed the bottle. So now I had ANOTHER fire to put out at the BACK door.

I extinguished this fire somehow and we finally got the showcase started.

Bobby Lounge made it easier for all us at that point: he was so bad he cleared the club and we all got to pick up the place and pack up while he prattled on and on and on on the johanna and his Nurse sat in a chair onstage reading a paperback book.

I just let him finish and leave with his odd troop. It seemed to me at the time any attempt to impress upon them that a little professionalism would have gone a long way would have fallen on deaf ears. This group was a bunch of dumbass alcoholic cretins living in a dream world of Bobby Lounge Fabulous Entertainer. Let them go crawl back into their swamphole in Missisisippi.

(editor's note - the same show is also reviewed below)


Photo from Bobby Lounge website

03/17/2007 Philadelphia Inquirer

by Dan DeLuca


There's a 10 piece all-girl Japanese ska band called Pistol Valve in Austin this weekend, but I'm not sure that there's anyhthing as strangely enchanting as Bobby Lounge, the Mississippi piano man who closed Mojo Nixon's Jalapeno Pancake Breakfast on Saturday. Wheeled onstage in an Iron Lung, and introduced by a white suited Southern gentleman modeled after Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the 57 year old Lounge rose up and took to his piano stool, where he proceeded to reel off a series of biting, absurdists narrative that would make Randy Newman envious. As he displayed a powerhouse arsenal of barrelhouse, boogie woogie and gospel piano moves, and ripped off ribald numbers such as "10 Foot Woman," he was joined onstage by a bifocaled woman who spent his entire set ignoring him and reading a book. Lounge is a regional treasure and a singular lyricist who rarely performs outside Mississppi or Louisiana, so here's hoping playing SXSW gives him a measure of the recognition he deserves. "Keep Bobby Lounge in your prayers," Big Daddy requested of the faithful at the Continental. Amen. - Dan DeLuca


Photo from Bobby Lounge website

05/07/2006 USA Today

Listen Up column by By Ken Barnes
review by Edna Gundersen.

This week's playlist: Edna gets eclectic
This week, the metaphorical roulette wheel of USA TODAY playlist rotation comes up Edna Gundersen. Do check out her pick of the week in particular; the guy is very much a unique artist, and I mean that in the good sense. Here's Edna's pick and playlist: >

Pick of the week: /Take Me Back to Abita Springs

Bobby Lounge: Mississippi swamp sage Bobby Lounge, an earthy blend of Tom Waits and Jerry Lee Lewis, turns in a Delta-style /Desolation Row/ in his rambling piano-pummeled diary of Tipi, who in his quest to become a movie star sings backup for Siamese twins, hosts a VD telethon, picks pockets as a voodoo priest, meets a sitar-playing Latin spitfire, raises tap-dancing baby Al Fresco and bays at the moon in the queen’s underwear. “I expected nicer lingerie from a queen,” he laments on this pounding fever dream from /I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down/, recorded in one take in 2005. A rare original voice.


of the 2006 New Orleans Jazz Festival 

05/2006 offBeat Magazine 

Back to the Fest By offBeat Staff

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

.....Imagine the early Tom Waits playing maddened boogie-woogie piano like Jerry Lee Lewis rather than beatnik-jazz piano like Bill Evans. Imagine Waits singing three vivid verses about going to his sexual preference for a “Ten Foot Woman” and then even more vivid verses as the song stretched past seven minutes and the bounds of good taste. Imagine Waits arriving on stage in an iron-lung machine and popping out in a feathered and beaded Mardi Gras shirt only after a blue-uniformed nurse opened the door. Imagine Waits playing a romantic Dixieland piano melody as he sang a convoluted story about an unwise entanglement with a 17-year-old girl “eight weeks pregnant by a hometown married man.” That's Bobby Lounge.—GH

The details make Bobby Lounge’s raunchy songs more than just jokes, and they’re the common thread in his songwriting. They make “Muddy River,” his murder ballad compelling and they give his songs texture and a sense of place. If it seems obscure, it’s probably because no one else thought to write about life on the Northshore before.—AR

USA Today

excerpted from a column titled:
JAZZ FEST IS JUMPIN' By Edna Gundersen

......A surprising mob turned out for Lounge, from McComb, Miss. Lounge, 56, steps out of an iron lung before sitting at the piano. He sings wry and ribald Southern Gothic yarns and plays boogie-rock piano with the rigor and flamboyance of a young Jerry Lee Lewis.....


05/06/2006 Washington Post - UPI 

Eccentric Pianist Maintains Alter Ego

     Jazz pianist Bobby Lounge's star burst onto the music scene last year at the rarefied and highly charged New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. His music -- a twisted and highly entertaining blend of Southern Gothic blues, barrelhouse piano licks and parental-guidance-advisory lyrics -- caught the critics' attention, the Times-picayune of New Orleans said. Within days, The New York Times and Rolling Stone were singing his praises and the region's musical cognoscenti were astir. A star was born.
     In fact, despite his newness to the limelight, Bobby Lounge has been an underground sensation for years. For the past several decades, Lounge has cultivated himself as the pre-eminent backwoods house-party entertainer, playing obscure venues on the north shore and in Mississippi.
     And he prefers to keep it that way.
     Lounge really is Dub Brock, a squat, balding, bearded 56-year-old visual artist, the Times-Picayune said.
     Afraid of being known, he created the Bobby Lounge alter ego to be his public persona.

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

05/05/2006 Driftwood, University of New Orleans

Bobby Lounge Strikes Again by Adam Koob

     One of the best things about the weekends during Jazz Fest are all the amazing live shows that can be seen around town, here is the tale of one….
     Last Saturday at Tipitina's was a rare and beautiful moment in history. It could be placed on the same level with the Beatles’ first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, or Jimmy Hendrix playing the National Anthem at Woodstock, or hell, maybe even the birth of Christ………………..
     Just before midnight with the stage darkened, Prof. Calvin Tubbs announced several wild proclamations about the evening’s performer about to take the stage. Tubbs, is a big man, and boisterous, imagine a figure comprised of Edwin Edwards and John Goodman. After several moments of crazed spouting he quietly left the stage and the spotlight went dim.
     When it came back on, it made a luminous path for the very comely Nurse Potevecchio wheeling the great Bobby Lounge in an Iron Lung. The lung was centered behind a slick black Baldwin grand piano draped in what looked to be the cape of a Mardi Gras King long passed. Bobby Lounge stepped out. He was a humble looking man, forty-ish, bald on top and unshaven. He sat at the piano wearing a plume of green, gold and purple feathers in a shape reminiscent of a football player’s shoulder pads and an early Elton John get-up. Then he introduced himself in a tirade so long, that while the actual words escape memory, the impact lingers with fantastical impact. Telling the crowd he is confined by choice to the Iron Lung, he introduced Nurse Pontevecchio as his: “muse, personal assistant, comfort and bona fide contortionist.” He then launched directly into song.
     He played alone at that piano with no backup singers or musical accompaniments of any sort. And he is a stunning piano player. To hear his music, an educated listener would be reminded of piano masters like Prof. Longhair, or Jerry Lee Louis. To hear his words is to witness a transformation of mere man into a spiritual hybrid, the likes Bob Dylan and Shell Silverstein. To witness Bobby Lounge is to witness magic.
His songs range from sexual, to sensual, to perverse, to felonious, to scary. One such song, “Don’t Pity Me,” tells the tale of a person who has several less than admirable traits and fetishes. He sings of torture with melted cheese, and says “ If I should choose to entertain the local Cub Scout Pac at my apartment after the merit badge ceremony late at night, with a keg of beer. That’s nobody’s business but mine. Don’t pity me.” If Truman Capote could play the piano, he would sound like Bobby Lounge.
     It is a shame more can’t be said about Mr. Lounge, that is because so very little, is know of him. He was an up and comer on the New Orleans music scene about twenty years ago, when his affliction with Chronic Fatigue Disorder made it nearly impossible for him to play. Aside from that he remains very much out of the limelight. Very few photos of him are in circulation. Almost no one knows where he is from; some say Mississippi, some say the Covington area north of New Orleans. No matter, while he was on the mend, for nearly twenty years he has been honing his craft as a singer and songwriter. Not so long ago he recorded his first album “I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down,” in his own home. All of the songs were recorded in one take in the order they appear on the jacket cover. Each song is a hit, especially, “ Take Me Back to Abita Springs,” at just over eight hard pounding minutes long, it would seem Lounge has conquered his affliction.
     Thought many of songs are fast tempo, and somewhat comical one of his new songs on his yet to be released album “Ten Foot Woman,” is anything but. “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior,” is a tribute of sorts to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. As far as spiritual moments in music, this song may rival “Closer Walk with Thee.”
     Each person with the means should bare witness to Bobby Lounge. Don’t be hasty though he only performs one or two times a year. His next performance will be at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Saturday May 6th.


08/09 2005 Living Blues Magazine #180

Bobby Lounge

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

     Bobby Lounge is an eccentric, white middle-aged, solo boogie/blues piano player from the northeastern corner of Louisiana, with a knack for composing bizarre lyrics and embellishing them with a quite impressive two-fisted piano accompaniment. The CD title alone is a magnet, not to mention other song titles like I'll Always Be Better Than You, If I Had Been Elvis, and Bank of Love, The most amazing track is Take Me Back To Abita Springs, a brilliant Pete Johnson influenced item that refers to Siamese twins, preachers from Texas, bad food in Rio De Janeiro, artisan water, a man tattooed with motorcycle women and the queen's lingerie! This won't be easy to find outside Louisiana, but contact to order. You won't be disappointed. - JH

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities – Louisiana Cultural Vistas, Sound Advice column, Spring 2005

Southern Folkways, Southern Decadence
The Eccentric Brilliance of Bobby Lounge by Ben Sandmel

     The South is often lauded as the last bastion of regional culture within an increasingly regimented America. Yet many who celebrate the South’s uniqueness also perceive it as doomed. This viewpoint was recently espoused, for instance, by the great contemporary Louisiana songwriter Lucinda Williams, who possesses a rare gift for evoking Southern scenes in just a few succinct verses. Williams told an interviewer that she moved from Nashville to Los Angeles because "The ‘New South" is absolutely horrible. They’re systematically killing off everything that’s traditional, because they’re ashamed of being Southern. It’s why I can’t live there anymore."
There are ample instances of such assimilation that support this gloomy assessment. But transcendently idiosyncratic moments still occur, nonetheless, revealing that the steamroller of bland conformity has yet to flatten all in its path. One such affirming epiphany is the April release of I Remember The Night Your Trailer Burned Down (Abitian), the debut album by a pianist, singer and profoundly startling lyricist known as Bobby Lounge. Perhaps it is no coincidence that this deep cultural statement appeared in the same month as the stunning, confirmed sighting of an ivory-billed woodpecker – a magnificent Southern creature that for decades was dismissed as extinct.
The piano style of Bobby Lounge (the stage name for a musician who, to date, refuses to divulge any personal information whatsoever) embraces a keyboard continuum ranging from Jelly Morton to Jerry Lewis and Little Richard, via countless blues and Gospel-music pianists, both black and white. Swinging, sultry, and hard-rocking, Lounge delights in embellishment, filigree, and deliberate quirks of timing; such flourishes can be added at will, with no fear of confusing a band, because Lounge always plays unaccompanied. (This free-form approach, known as "jumping time" or "breaking time," is often heard among rural musicians; it is technically unorthodox but absolutely not incorrect.) Lounge’s vocal style is also steeped in the intertwined Southern roots-music fervor of blues, country, soul, Gospel and rockabilly. He wails, moans, bends notes, and stretches one-syllable words into multi-syllabic riffs. He toys with tempo, singing ahead of, over, or behind the beat. He contrasts wild growls, screams and falsettos with soft tones and sarcastic asides. For quick reference, his soulful delivery suggests equal elements Bessie Smith, Ray Charles, and Jerry Lee Lewis. 
It’s always impressive to hear these traditional traits conveyed with such conviction, but they are not what makes Bobby Lounge’s music so utterly singular. That distinction is achieved by his lyrics:

"He traveled far and wide, searched high and low,
Vandalized a statue by Michelangelo
Shot down in Great Britain on the palace grounds
Baying at the moon in the Queen’s night gown
The Queen said ‘we do not loan out our under things’
He said, ‘Ma’am, just send me back to Abita Springs!"

     These lines are showcased by frenetic, rockabilly ivory-tickling on "Take Me Back To Abita Springs." "I’ll Always Be Better Than You," by contrast, is set to the stately syncopation of a Gospel-music processional:

"If I seem haughty, and I seem distant,
Well it’s just because I’m much better than you
And if you have trouble accepting your status
Then let me explain it to you.
In the realm of human creation,
Some are more naturally endowed
And to us goes the power
And to us goes the glory
And to you goes what we cast aside
So if in my presence
You seem somewhat diminished
Just know that God meant it to be that way
And I will defend you
And I will stand by you
As long as you stay in your place
So now as I bask
In the dim glow of your attention
There is but one thing left for me to do
And that is tell you...
And that is to remind you...
I’ll always be better than you."

     Lounge’s writing reflects no obvious influences. Some songs are linear and logical, while others carom between non-sequiturs and free association. But for quick reference, once again, imagine a blend of the adroit wit and articulate precision of Gilbert and Sullivan, the Southern literary imagery of Carson McCullers, et al, the beat surrealism of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, the sardonic humor of Randy Newman, and the unabashed perversion of Marquis de Sade.
Some listeners will be troubled by this last aspect of some of Lounge’s esoteric music, and two songs on this album are marked "unsuitable for airplay and children." I Remember The Night Your Trailer Burned Down is definitely not family entertainment. What it’s also not – happily – is further proof of Southern regionalism in retreat, of the "New South" turning into Anytown, U.S.A. Against all odds, steeped in loopy tradition and rugged individualism, such rare birds still can be found.
– Ben Sandmel Copyright 2005, all rights reserved

08 /2005 DownBeat Magazine

Bobby Lounge by Frank-John Hadley
3.5 stars 

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

     Recorded in some anonymous soul's home, this 50ish mystery man from New Orleans plays good blues and barrelhouse piano and vocalizes in a sun-bright, tensile voice aabout happy s&m ("Excuse Me Abuse Me"), Tipi, the freighter-hopping voodoo priest ("Take Me Back To Abita Springs") and, among other oddities, weirdball hopes and dreams ("If I Had Been Elvis"). His peculiar charm takes a sleaze turn at times.

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

08 / 2005 Enterprise-Journal McComb, Mississippi

Meet Bobby Lounge by Karen Freeman

     Despite his best efforts to keep a low profile, bluesy singer-pianist sensation Bobby Lounge has been unmasked. Lounge, whose rousing performance in the blues tent at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this spring caught the ears of writers from Rolling Stone, The New York Times and elsewhere and propelled him to center stage in regional music circles, is actually McComb artist Dub Brock.
     Local Rolling Stone readers who are acquainted with the slightly reclusive but gifted Pike County painter, singer and songwriter recognized him instantly when he was pictured on stage at the festival in David Fricke’s “Out There” column in the June 2 issue.
     After taking the stage at the festival, Fricke wrote that Lounge “turned into Bessie Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, Flannery O’Connor and Bob Dylan ... all at once, playing blazing barrelhouse piano and belting outrageously vivid blues from the far fringes of Southern life. By then, Lounge’s secret was out of the bag — at least to locals. Now with the release of his first CD, “I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down,” Bobby Lounge’s biting wit and burning keyboard skills are out there for all the world to hear. Lounge’s Jazz Fest appearance stunned the audience and the critics. It also stunned Brock, who had to be convinced to even play the festival at all by longtime friend John Preble of Abita Springs, La. John said Quint Davis (who has helmed the New Orleans festival for decades) wanted me to play,” Brock said Tuesday. "“But I thought, ‘I can’t play the Jazz Fest. What if I don’t do well?"So Brock gave Preble what he thought would be a certain stumbling block.
"“I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it if I can come on stage in an iron lung," ” Brock said. But Preble didn’t give up. "John was on the phone a couple of days later saying, ‘I’ve got the iron lung," ” Brock said with a laugh. What Preble had found was an old steam chamber. Close enough, Brock said. So, still uncertain how it would turn out, Bobby Lounge accepted the invitation to play at the festival.
      True to his word, Preble arranged for Lounge to be wheeled onto the blues tent stage in the contraption, assisted by a pretty blonde “nurse-contortionist.” Lounge’s worry was for nothing. His performance was, by all reviews, one of this ye ar’s Jazz Fest highlights. With a bona fide record under his belt and spurred by the success of the festival appearance, Preble arranged for Bobby Lounge to give a June 25 in-store performance at the Louisiana Music Factory on Decatur Street in New Orleans.
Again, he was a hit. Now, he’s taking his “Iron Lung Tour” to a higher level, with two more New Orleans performances — Sept. 3 at the House of Blues and Oct. 1 at Tipitina’s. Brock, 55, has largely declined interviews and publicity, preferring to stay out of the spotlight and remain anonymous. He wasn’t entirely sure how his family and the community would react to his music and performances.
"“We’re very proud of him and very excited about it,"” said Brock’s father, Dr. Jim Brock, who’s made his own performing name with the One More Time Band. “His mother (the late Mary Ellen Brock) was a musician, too. Scheduling conflicts will prevent the elder Brock from attending the House of Blues show "“I can’t go to the first one; I’m performing that night in Columbia," he said. "Hopefully, I can get to the next one. ... We’re just as proud of him as can be."
Others in the Brock family plan to attend: Dub’s brothers Ollie of London and Dr. Jim Brock Jr. of McComb, and sisters Mary Prosser of Washington, D.C., and Dan Ellen of Jackson.  
Nobody is more surprised by the resulting hoopla than Bobby Lounge himself. " You know, this whole thing has just been wild," he said this week. "I wrote these songs 20 years ago ... then I went through a long period when I really was not feeling well."
Indeed, chronic fatigue syndrome had packed a punch, forcing him to level out his activity, so he spent the following years working to regain his strength. Meanwhile, the songs he wrote continued to circulate on cassette tapes among friends. He had already claimed the stage name of Bobby Lounge and sometimes gave impromptu performances in homes and at private parties, and, on occasion, when coaxed, in a lounge or two in New Orleans. 
Brock is an acclaimed painter (he describes it as Southern Gothic style) whose works are highly sought after. After one of his art shows in a Julia Street gallery in New Orleans in the 1990s, Lounge played a short, blistering, late-night set at a bar, ending with his song, “I’ll Always Be Better Than You.”His inspired performance (which this writer witnessed) left the house pianist flummoxed and with the challenge of following Lounge at the piano. Not an easy task. I’ll Always Be Better Than You” is the final cut of eight songs Lounge recorded for his disc early this year in the home of Preble and his wife, who operate the eccentric UCM Museum in Abita Springs.
     "That’s the song I usually close with now," he said. His music is packed with vivid lyrics and characters that come alive.From “Bank of Love” he cries: "You broke my heart — you didn’t care/You spent my feelings honey like a millionaire/I gave you a trust fund from my bank of love/Said don’t dip too often honey, don’t dip too much." In “Take Me Back to Abita Springs,"” he sings of a man called Tipi who “packed up all the junk he strewed out in his yard/he said I’m going West to become a movie star/Reduced to singing backup with Siamese twins,/he cried out “Take me back to Abita Springs." The remaining titles on the disc include “Slime Weasel,” “Excuse Me, Abuse Me,” “I Will,” “If I Had Been Elvis,” and the title cut.
The wickedly funny songs have put many a smile on listeners’ faces. A couple of them, “Excuse Me, Abuse Me” and “I Will” are a tad risqué and intended for mature listeners.became ill and could not perform publicly. Now, after over 20 years, he has learned to manage his health problems." Preble, who produced the disc along with George Cureau, recorded Lounge’s songs in one take in his living room. The songs and Lounge’s high-energy performances (his playing style can rattle the sturdiest piano) have put the Louisiana music scene-meisters on red alert, as demonstrated by the following review by Chris Rose in the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
     So what’s on the horizon for Bobby Lounge? Right now, he’s still trying to soak in his newfound celebrity status. After all, it’s a bit intimidating to have your first record get a nice send-up in Rolling Stone magazine. But ideas for new songs are always lurking in Lounge’s mind, and he’ll continue to write and perform. "I’ve got enough material for another album, so I know we’ll do that," he said. His fans just hope he’s ready for the ride.

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

08 / 2005 Where Y'at Monthly Magazine, New Orleans

Bobby Lounge by Billy Thinnes

     Bobby Lounge is a low-fi Southern Gothic Elton John shrouded in mystery and secrecy. His first gig in 20 years was at Jazz Fest several months ago, and he wowed the crowd in the Blues Tent with his starkly rhythmic piano playing and humorously biting lyrics. Lounge lives somewhere in rural Mississippi and generally shuns publicity. At his Jazz Fest gig and his recent Louisiana Music Factory appearance, he was wheeled on stage in an “iron lung” (some sort of metallic cabinet with wheels that only reveals his head) by a nurse, who then sat on the stage next to him reading a cheap paperback. Lounge is a great storyteller, as evidenced by the songs “I’ll Always Be Better Than You” and “If I Had Been Elvis,” and his melodic barrelhouse clanging on the piano provides a nice accompaniment. It is indeed the undeniably hip thing to like Bobby Lounge and murmur about his songwriting genius, but don’t let this annoy you. Lounge for once is a musician worthy of the hype machine.


Bobby Lounge by Brian Ferdman

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

     If Jerry Lee Lewis had mated with Frank Zappa, their bastard child would have been Bobby Lounge. The middle-aged Louisiana solo pianist inexplicably marries old-fashioned barrelhouse boogie-woogie with perverted and humorous lyrics about colorful and unsavory characters in a style that is all his own. Lounge was a local phenom in the 1970s before an unexpected and inexplicable early retirement. Seeming to be a tad mentally unstable, he refuses to grant interviews or allow his true identity to be revealed. Lounge's story remains shrouded in mystery, and his return at this year's Jazz Fest was not without theatrics, as he was wheeled onstage in a fake iron lung by a contortionist nurse whom he claimed to be his muse. This guy is a real character, but beyond that, he's a real talent who has suddenly turned the New Orleans music scene on its head.
     Out of the spotlight for a very long time, Lounge suddenly decided to resume performing. Sitting down in a private residence after having been away from the piano for most of the previous fifteen years, he recorded this studio debut in order in one take, resulting in a wild and bluesy collection that has stunned many. His piano skills never rusted away, as evidenced by the old Western saloon feel of "Slime Weasel." With an amazing touch for dynamics, Lounge alternates between pounding and subtly glancing upon the keys. As the low-down dirty blues of "I Will" shows, Lounge never lost his soul. Of course, this combines with some very nasty but fun lyrics:

     Well, you're the finest thing baby that I ever saw
     Everything I want to do to you, honey, is strictly against the law.
     Well, he tried to be your dildo-vibrator, Mama,
     Just gimme a chance—I want to be your sweet chainsaw.

     Perhaps the most impressive track on this formidable collection is "Take Me Back to Abita Springs." It's a sprawling tale of a man who left home in search of fame and fortune but only found bizarre situations and quirky characters as his journey led him back home. Lounge relishes his rapid-fire lyrics while romping in a steamy two-handed boogie. With so much mystery surrounding his life, this could very well be an autobiographical song, although it's doubtful he "vandalized a statue by Michelangelo (and was) shot down in Great Britain on the palace grounds, baying at the moon in the Queen's nightgown."
     Bobby Lounge's music is simply a lot of fun to hear. His characters are eccentric, his wit is sharp, and his immense piano skills both shock and awe, creating a very impressive comeback for the mysterious man behind the 88 keys. We can only guess what might have happened had Bobby Lounge not abandoned his career years ago. Of course, he seems to have an idea, as he sings on "If Had Been Elvis": Well, if I had been Elvis, I would not have gone on dope.
     If I had been Elvis, I'd be much bigger than the Pope.
     And if I had been Elvis, I would not have made all those tacky Hawaiian films.
     No, I could have been Elvis, so much better than him.

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

14/07 2005 Sherman Oaks Sun

Bobby Lounge, I Remember The Night Your Trailer Burnt Down (Abitan) By Bill Bentley

     There was once a comedian named Brother Dave Gardner who had a huge following, mostly behind the Cotton Curtain, and while he may have been an acquired taste, Brother Dave really knew how to hit his listeners' funny bone. For some unexplainable reason, Bobby Lounge sounds like he could be a Gardner acolyte. A singer-songwriter from Mississippi, Lounge keeps one of the lower profiles in the pop world, and recently came onstage in New Orleans inside a portable iron lung. Kid you not. But once he starts singing, it's clear he's been listening to a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis, and hanging out in truck stops and highway comfort stations. Songs like "Slime Weasel" and "I'll Always Be Better Than You" point to what psychologists might call unresolved conflicts, but are more like fodder for some hellacious subject matter. On the liner notes, it says the singer "enjoys writing songs about the South and about people with robust life- styles." No kidding. This music isn't for everyone, but it's also a pretty safe bet Bobby Lounge isn't like anyone else, either. Think love child of Bessie Smith and Little Richard, and you're getting close. Like the gentleman he surely is, Lounge even makes note of the songs "not suit- able for radio or children." You've been warned.

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

07/07/2005 New Orleans Times Picayune

The Bobby Lounge Buzz
Who is this magical musical mystery man who has the whole Louisiana music scene talking? by Chris Rose

     If you consider yourself a member of the music cognoscenti in town -- if you are in possession of the vital secrets -- when someone asks you what you've been listening to lately, the answer is: Bobby Lounge.
     He is the buzz. The rave. Bobby Lounge is the new truth.
When he burst from obscurity this spring with a show in the Blues Tent at Jazzfest -- apparently his first paying gig in the last 20 years -- critics from both Rolling Stone and The New York Times applauded his show as a festival highlight.
     So when I heard he was making a rare public appearance at the Louisiana Music Factory in the French Quarter, I made my way down there.
     All the predictable characters were there to justify Bobby Lounge's rarefied standing atop the Mountain of Hip: WWOZ disc jockeys, local music writers and collectors, the kind of people who still play vinyl, the kind of people who go to every day of Jazzfest, the kind of people who go to the Maple Leaf every night . . . and Morris Bart, now that he is a producer of independent movies and has joined the ranks of celebrated auteurs in town.
     A guy named Donald Schenk cornered me going in. He has the look of a classic aging Big Easy hipster with his gray soul patch, tie-dyed Tipitina's T-shirt and genetically attached Abita beer in hand. He said to me: "This guy is the Randy Newman of Pearl River; you gotta hear this guy."
     The witnesses poured forth to testify. A man told me: "Bobby Lounge is like a cross between Benny Grunch and Abdul D. Tentmakur; he's got as much soul as it's possible to have on the north shore."
     Ben Sandmel, a local musicologist, added: "This is major stuff. There is a doctoral dissertation of cultural commentary in what he is saying. This guy is the bomb."
     As I entered the store, a fourth Bobby Lounge acolyte whispered to me: "I hear that after Marcia Ball heard this guy, she couldn't play for a week."
     Well, that certainly caught my attention. But who is this Bobby Lounge? What's this cat's story? Is this whole thing a hoax -- as some musical insiders had suggested during Jazzfest -- or a joke of some kind?
     After all, how did some incredibly ordinary-looking guy show up at Jazzfest out of the southern Mississippi woods and suddenly become the hottest thing in south Louisiana since Crystal Sauce?
     Bobby Lounge is a balding fireplug of a man in the area of 50. That is not his real name. No one seems to know who he really is or what might be his day job, if he has one. And maybe he doesn't -- the oddity of his musical presentation suggests a backwoods savant who might just sit on his momma's porch all day thinking.
     He doesn't like to have his picture taken. The photos on his Web site -- old black-and-whites showing some apparent prodigy at the piano -- are not of Bobby Lounge. In fact, they were purchased on eBay.
     These things I found out from Bobby Lounge's manager, John Preble -- the man who coaxed him out of retirement.
     Preble is the owner of the UCM Museum in Abita Springs, perhaps the most curious and indescribable cultural outpost in the South -- and that's saying a lot. (It's a whole 'nother column's worth of strangeness.)
     Preble told me that Bobby Lounge is just a shy, supremely talented piano banger and songwriter who, after making the scene in Piney Woods music circles 20 years ago, was offered all manner of paying gigs and travel but retreated into seclusion instead, claiming chronic fatigue syndrome.
     He is from an arch-conservative family in Mississippi who would not approve of his passion and art, Preble says.
     "His daddy doesn't know he does this," Preble said. "It's like this: If you were a porn star and wanted your children to go to the nice schools, you wouldn't necessarily tell your neighbors what you did for a living, would you?"
     While I mulled over that interesting analogy, Preble added: "He will only perform on Saturdays. And only in the key of C."
     The mystery grows.
     "He's not a hoax," Preble says. "But I don't mind saying -- and you can quote me on this -- this guy needs a psychiatrist pretty bad."
     I watched as Lounge was wheeled into the music store in a machine he called an iron lung but which seems to be some sort of old aluminum steam chamber or a prop pilfered from the dusty soundstage storerooms of "Flash Gordon."
     He was wheeled in by someone he thanked at the outset of his performance and identified as Nurse Pontevecchio, a lithe blonde in blue medical scrubs whom he called his muse, his comfort and a bona fide contortionist.
     You could sense a true New Orleans moment was about to unfold. And it did. Lounge, adorned in a black boa, grabbed a Lite beer and began to bang on an old upright piano on a stage in the corner of the store.
     What comes forth when Bobby Lounge performs is a fascinating amalgam of Jerry Lee Lewis, Kinky Friedman, Steven Wright and Tom Waits performed in Mississippi brothel barrelhouse piano style and delivered in vocalizations that range from stand-up comedy to tremolo to retro-Satchmo to The Killer on Percocet.
     Mostly, it's just plain mind-blowing Southern Gothic storytelling. It's as if the guy was born of a Carson McCullers novel with a mission of music in his head.
     From his 20-year-old portfolio, he played numbers called "I Gave You a Trust Fund From My Bank of Love," "Excuse Me, Abuse Me," "Take Me Back to Abita Springs," "If I Had Been Elvis" and the ever-popular title cut to his new CD -- recorded in one take, in the order the songs appear on the disc -- "I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burnt Down."
     They are twisted tales of love, death and drinking -- the three most popular topics of Southern art and not necessarily in that order. The songs are long and rambling and the lyrics range from shockingly brilliant to twistedly weird and there's just no sense in reprinting them because they are either too dirty or too dense or just too incomprehensibly, well, incomprehensible to the common man.
     Of which most people are in the presence of the phenomenon that is Bobby Lounge. His music, so unique and free from modern influence, is best experienced by the open mind or at least a mind half-clouded with drink.
     I'd tell you to go check it out for yourself but his Web site says there are no scheduled bookings, so who knows when he will appear again.
     If he does, I'm guessing it will be a Saturday night. Just another Saturday night in the key of C.
     After finally witnessing the spectacle that is Bobby Lounge, all I really know is this, because John Preble told me so: "The nurse really is a contortionist."

07/03/2005 New Orleans Times Picayune


Elusive Musician Calls Abita Home by Karl Kell 

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

     Although he has never physically lived here, musician Bobby Lounge says he has "artesian water" running through his veins and considers Abita Springs to be his "emotional home."
     A recent standout at Jazzfest as chronicled in numerous reviews including Rolling Stone, Down Beat and The New York Times, the mysterious and eccentric piano player and entertainer appears to be on his way to even more successes.
A longtime friend of UCM Museum curator John Preble and Slidellian George Cureau, Lounge -- whose true name remains unknown to others -- is for the most part a typical middle-aged, balding man who works two jobs and values his privacy.
     In front of a keyboard and audience, however, he quickly gains a stage presence and turns into a combination of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Willie Nelson as he belts out nontraditional songs he has written.
     Lounge, a Mississippi native, grew up learning how to play gospel music on his family piano and merged that style with blues, country and barrelhouse piano to create his own percussive sound.
     "He plays so hard and goes to such extremes, that he has even broken several pianos," Preble said. The lyrics, some classified as not suitable for children, are replete with an abundance of humorous and sarcastic observations.
     Extremely selective in his play dates, the reclusive Lounge became an overnight hit after his intense performance in April at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans.
     A relative unknown to many in the audience, Lounge's grand entrance consisted of being pushed onto the stage in an old gymnasium-style steam cabinet that he calls his iron lung. An immediate crowd favorite, positive reviews have continued regarding his performance and new CD from throughout the United States and several foreign countries.
     Unlike most musicians, Lounge has no publicity photos and rarely submits to an interview or even a specific play date.
     Offered attractive venues in which to perform, he routinely responds that he's just not interested. Lounge did appear June 25 at the Louisiana Music Factory and reportedly is in negotiation for several major performances in the future.
     Suffering for many years from a form of chronic fatigue syndrome, Lounge's high-energy performance of 45 minutes on stage generally exhausts him.
     Preble said that for many years he had discussed the possibility of Lounge first recording a record or a cassette before the creation of the CD, to no avail. In January, Lounge finally relented and agreed to record eight of his most original songs at Preble's Abita Springs home.
     "The older house with high ceilings and plaster walls complemented Lounge's sounds in a unique style and was played on the family's 1920 Steinway grand piano," Preble said.
     Some of the songs include "If I had been Elvis," "I Remember the Night your Trailer Burnt Down" and "I'll Always be Better than You."
     His trademark song is the eight-minute, 46-second rendition of "Take Me Back to Abita Springs," which he created on the spot more than 20 years ago as Preble and his wife left a party in rural Mississippi where Lounge was performing for friends.
     Based on the success of the first CD, plans are under way to record a follow-up, where else but in Preble's living room. For more information and possibly the latest sighting of the elusive Abitian, log onto to

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

06/02/2005 Rolling Stone     CLICK HERE TO SEE IT ONLINE

I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down
Bobby Lounge
from a column titled: Out There by David Fricke

     I can't tell you much about mysterious Mississippi spitfire Bobby Lounge other than this: That's not his real name, and he made an unforgettable entrance at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, wheeled onstage by a nurse in an iron lung (actual a huge steam-room cabinet). Then, chugging beer in obvious perfect health, he turned into Bessie Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, Flannery O'Conner and Bob Dylan (the lyrical-surrealist edition) all at once, playing blazing barrelhouse piano and belting outrageously vivid blues from the far fringes of Southern life. This debut album has everything I saw a Jazz Fest but the lung, including the twisted recipe of love "I Will" (mix bondage and Popeyes chicken; stir vigorously), and the parade of unnatural wonders in the rolling-boogie epic "Take Me Back to Abita Springs," a kind of "Desolation Row" exploding with Little Richard-style piano and starring, among other things, an infant flamenco dancer, a singing burro and the queen of England's underwear. Lounge has a very high opinion of himself" He closes here with the gospel-piano sunrise of "I'll Always Be Better Than You." But in your heart, you know he's right.


Gambit Weekly

excerpted from a
column titled: Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon 
By various writers reviewing the 
2005 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

     Who or what is Bobby Lounge? The wildness of his metaphors and cover art suggests he's a musical primitive, but his boogie-woogie piano in the Jerry Lee Lewis mode and way with a tall tale give him away as crafty and smart. In the Blues Tent, the ode to his hometown, He was a Louisiana regional phenomenon / women called him Tipi but his name was John / Packed up all the junk he strewed out in his yard / he said I'm going West to become a movie star / Reduced to singing backup with Siamese twins / he cried out “Take me back to Abita Springs”


Photo from Bobby Lounge website

The New York Times

excerpted from a column titled:
A Beloved Funk Group Rocks Again, and a Venerable Festival Rolls On
By Ben Ratliff

.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New to nearly everyone was Bobby Lounge, a balding, middle-aged eccentric from Mississippi who on Saturday delivered lethally sardonic songs (like "I'll Always Be Better Than You") with a percussive blues-and-barrelhouse piano style. He was wheeled on and off stage in a silver steam cabinet, the kind of thing once used for weight reduction. "I call it the Iron Lung," he said backstage, sipping a beer. "It perpetuates the myth that Bobby's a little infirm." (He keeps his real identity secret, his manager said, so as not to imperil his day job.


04/19/05 Gambit Weekly

I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burnt Down
Bobby Lounge  (Abitian)

By Alison Fensterstock

Photo from Bobby Lounge website

     "We are offering this disk to the public at the request of the many people who have heard of the genius of Bobby Lounge, but who may not have had a chance to see him perform," explain the liner notes, which go on to point out that the late-baby-boomer-age Lounge performed his witty, slightly twisted piano tunes in the '70s, mostly at house parties.
     Over long interludes -- the shortest song clocks in just under five minutes; the longest approaches nine -- of gospel, blues and barrelhouse-influenced piano, Lounge rants, testifies and orates, flipping deftly between twisted humor, sly sarcasm and a genuine storyteller's gift. There are almost too many priceless couplets on the album to relate; one gem is "If I seem haunted / and if I seem distant / it's only because I'm much better than you," from "I'll Always Be Better Than You."
This album, recorded live in 2004, marks Lounge's return to performing, and after a listening, the liner notes makes sense. Play it with guests in your house, and they'd be likely to ask, "What the hell is that guy talking about?" and then you could say, "Oh, that's just Bobby Lounge." It's fair to guess that that would be a pretty accurate recreation of an exchange at any of those '70s house parties where Lounge initially demonstrated his genius. --

Photo from Bobby Lounge website


04/19/05 Gambit Weekly

Bobby Lounge
2:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent,

     An energetic entertainer in the tradition of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, pianist Bobby Lounge's songwriting has been described as 'Randy Newman with bite.' Influenced by Southern gospel, blues and barrelhouse piano, his first studio recording, I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down, is a blend of humor, grit and hot Southern blues. (See CD reviews in this issue.)


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