Bob Frank and Los Gueros

Bob Frank and Los Gueros

BandAmericanaFolk

"No fame, no fortune... just a lingering and uneasy thought among anyone who had ever heard his Vanguard record... Whatever happened to Bob Frank?"- Bill Glahn, Big O.

Biography

In the last forty years there have been countless "new" Dylans — only two individuals came close to rising to that mantle: Bruce Springsteen and Bob Frank. Unlike the majority of celebrated singer-songwriters, both of these men’s roots were true blue collar — and both debut albums lived up to the hype. Like the hero in the motion picture, Eddie and the Cruisers, something mysterious happened to Frank almost as soon as his album was released. He disappeared. The album Bob Frank, released on Vanguard Records in 1972, was universally hailed by critics, but there was no Frank to interview or perform the songs.

The album became one of the most sought after collector's items in music history, averaging $100 a copy, but for more than thirty years Bob Frank disappeared as completely as D.B. Cooper. If you were lucky enough to have heard the songs on Frank's album, you might even think these two guys were one and the same.

Over the years a cult following has developed all over the world for the Bob Frank album. Poorly recorded bootlegs of the album and a few concert tapes were circulated from Australia to Norway. The recurring question was always, “What happened to Bob Frank?” — with most thinking he, like John Kennedy Toole of Confederacy of Dunces fame, had probably exited the world before his genius was recognized.

Well, the mystery has been solved, and here is the story:

In the late sixties, Bob Frank wrote for Tree Publishing Company in Nashville. When John Hiatt came to Nashville, the first night he was there, he slept on the floor of Bob's apartment. In 1971, Gary Walker and Cletus Haegert got Bob a deal with Vanguard to make an album.

Personal demons and a refusal to promote his album caused Bob to leave the music business. He wound up working for the City of Oakland, installing and maintaining irrigation systems in the ball fields and parks. He and his wife raised four kids and now he has two grandchildren. And all that time, he never quit writing songs.

And now he's back, finally willing to showcase his talent in the commercial world. Beginning in 2001, in quick succession, he has released three albums which have garnered more rave reviews from major music periodicals, such as Billboard, No Depression, Goldmine, Big O, Sing Out, Dirty Linen, and numerous other publications. His new songs are also garnering airplay on Americana and roots/alternative radio stations.

He has a new album out now and a band. Wherever they play, people come out of the woodworks with that old Vanguard album, wanting Bob to autograph it.

Lyrics

Memphis Jail

Written By: Bob Frank

Chorus

I’m lying on my back

On a cold steel rack

In the Memphis jail.

Ain’t it a shame,

The police got my name.

1.

I stole a car in Nashville and drove it on down the line.

I don’t know what made me go and do such a terrible crime.

But I’d been sipping on a dollar bottle of Golden Harvest Rose Grape Wine,

And all that low grade alcohol must have rearranged my mind.

(Chorus)

2.

I drove that stolen Chevrolet on down the interstate road,

So fast I burned the engine up and made the radiator explode.

Then I just left it there, grabbed my gear and started thumbing my way.

I was clear on down to Memphis town time the police captured me.

(Chorus)

3.

But they don’t know I stole that car, they don’t know who I am.

They picked me up just cause I was drunk and couldn’t hardly stand.

Just stumbling around in Memphis town, so they threw me in the Memphis can.

But it serves me right. Fact, I got off light, considering how bad I am.

Judas Iscariot

Written By: Bob Frank

1.

Judas Iscariot had a friend in the Roman Guard,

And they sat down to a checker game, one day in the courthouse yard.

And said the soldier unto Judas, “I’d like to make a bet

“That your gypsy sidekick, Jesus Christ, is soon gonna meet his death.”

2.

Judas flew in anger and hollered at his friend.

Said, “Why, man, you must be crazy to think his life could end.

“For he’s the Lord’s own chosen one, and the Lord won’t let him die.”

“I’d like to bet,” said the soldier, “that you just told a lie.”

3.

“Aw, you ain’t got no faith,” cried Judas, “but just to show you where it’s at,

“For thirty bucks, I’ll take you up to Jesus by myself.”

“It’s a deal. Tonight at two o’clock,” said the soldier, and they shook hands,

And Judas left rather hurriedly just to find his beloved friend.

4.

Now Jesus, he was with the gang, up in some garret room.

They were drinking wine and dancing to a Galilean tune.

So Judas, he slips up to his friend and says, “Let’s step outside.

“We got a chance to show all these people here that you won’t ever die.”

5.

Well, Jesus, he let go his jug and grabbed Iscariot’s hand.

Said, “This wine sho’ is wicked stuff. I can’t hardly stand.

“And I swear I thought I heard you say that I won’t ever die?”

“That’s what I said,” cried Judas, and Jesus heaved a sigh.

6.

“Let’s catch a breath of air,” he said, and once outside the door,

They made their way to the stairway and on down to the second floor.

And Jesus, he filled up his pipe with a healthy lump of hash,

And they sat right down at the foot of the stairs, and Judas struck a match.

7.

“Now you look here,” says Jesus, “I done told you a thousand times.

“I’m just a man, like all the rest. One of the mortal kind.

“So you can take these crazy thoughts on death and erase them from yo’ mind.

“And pass that pipe. I do believe, I’ve had too much wine.”

8.

“Aw, but you don’t understand,” cried Judas. “Why, I just made a bet

“With a soldier in the Roman Guard that you can outlive death.”

You did what!” cried Jesus, and there he lost a good lungful of smoke.

“They’re coming for you late tonight,” and there he nearly choked.

9.

“Let’s get on back to that party,” said Jesus, looking sick.

“I got a lotta things to do, and I gotta do ‘em quick.

“We’ll get them women outta there and grab a bite to eat.”

You could hear ‘em shuffling down the hall with the sandals on their feet.

10.

Well, it was not long thereafter that the gambling bet was lost,

For Jesus died a lonesome death, hanging from a cross.

And down the hill and around the field, on the far side of the creek,

They found poor Judas Iscariot, hanging from a tree.

With Sabers In Our Hands

Written By: Bob Frank

Intro

Stand to your glasses steady,

And drink to the land we prize.

Here’s to the dead already.

Bravo! for the next who dies.

(spoken:) During the Civil War, the ranks of the Confederacy were filled with men from all over the South. This song depicts the individual spirit of four different compatriots of the Lost Cause.

1.

I come up here from Texas to don the rebel gray.

There’s powder in my pistols and I’m ready for the fray.

I used to fight Comanches, but I never had such fun

As the time I scalped that yankee at the battle of Bull Run.

Chorus

With sabers in our hands and pistols by our side,

Hell for leather through the land, we’ll saddle up and ride,

And we’ll rally from the hills and gather from the plains,

From Texas to Virginia, we’ll rally once again.

2.

I left my little farmhouse way back in Tennessee.

I left my wife and children to wait at home for me.

I ain’t got much to fight with, just my courage and my gun,

But I’ve killed a dozen yankees, and I’ve made ten thousand run.

(Chorus)

3.

My pappy and my grandpa were soldiers in their day,

But pappy’s past the fighting age and grandpa’s passed away.

I’ll take that family shotgun, there’s no one left but me,

I’m following Virginia and the sword of Bobby Lee.

(Chorus)

4.

I just come up from Louisiana, where the alligators crawl.

I got both my arms blowed off by a New York cannonball.

I can’t pick up no saber now and I can’t shoot no gun,

But when I give a rebel yell, you oughta see those scoundrels run.

Discography

Ride The Restless Wind (Bowstring)
Pledge of Allegiance (Bowstring)
Keep on Burning (Bowstring)
A Little Gest of Robin Hood (Bowstring)
Bob Frank-S/T (Vanguard)

Set List

Basic set list can be modified for time constraints, from 30 minutes to three hours. All songs performed are originals.