Releasing an album so long after its initial recording is a testament to the band and the genre of music. The band, The NoBS, have released their 25-song album, The NoBS Live 1981. There’s no dusting off the cover of this one, it sounds as if it were recorded last night. How did the band come up with the lead single? They decided on two. The hits “Wait On Time” and “Further Up On The Road”. Like a ripcord, there’s no time to think, just groove and move to the music. These blues rock gems give the listener two very cohesive listening experiences.
Recorded at an undisclosed venue in Davis, California, a town near Sacramento, the band’s presence in what I can only assume to be an indoor venue is positively electric. The crowd’s enthusiasm and exuberance is heard between tracks, but it does trickle its way into these two tracks. The NoBS, a trio made up of David, Brad and Scott, make these tracks sound much larger, and almost something a bigger band would present. They tear down that fourth wall and as a listener, I snuck up front to hearing this live concert.
“Wait On Time” comes first and it’s a heckuva improvement on the 1979 The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ version. I know listeners can often find it difficult to love a cover rather than the original, but in this case, my opinion is that The NoBS deliver a superior track. The guitar work and the vocals are riveting. I can see why they chose this song as a single to release – it showcases the band’s astute blues work. They aren’t just playing the song, either. They are really conveying the grit and the grime. The vocals, a man’s voice that has that muddy-tones and that was made for singing above loud voices at a bar, is great.
“Further Up On The Road” tells a similar story within its tempo and drive. I loved the passion in the guitar – it was on fire. I felt like the drums were unstoppable, like a caffeinated train barring down the tracks. These two songs together are a formidable wall – you feel like you can attain that euphoric, live-music essence. David, on vocals, has a working man’s voice. He has a lot of years and singing behind him and even when he mumbles some of the words, the listener is conveyed this sense of excitement. I felt like his voice is made for singing songs like “Wait On Time” and “Further Up On The Road”. Blame it on the live recording or years of singing, that outer shell in his voice is cracked just like cement. It’s a badge of honor, no doubt.
I also wondered time and again, listening to these songs and a few others on The NoBS Live 1981, why it took so gosh darn long to release? Yes, their press materials say it’s a celebration to mark the anniversary. I have to ponder, like in the cult classic movie Eddie And The Cruisers, what might have been? What might have been for a band like The NoBS. I guess we can revisit that question over and over with these recordings. Their music will certainly live forever.
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