Monday, March 7, 2011

NRBQ Album-By-Album Thread: Introduction

Other than the sonic values and excellent community of the Steve Hoffman Music Forums, the one feature I value most are the excellent "Album-By-Album Threads." They are a great venue for raving about the artists you love, as well as learn about artists you may not yet know.

This is the point that motivates me to tackle a NRBQ thread, despite the fact I am overwhelmed at the responsibility of tackling their immense career and discography. In my considered opinion they are one of THE greatest american bands of the 20th century, and every music fan should be aware of them enough that they have the chance to experience the great swinging sweet joyful sounds that NRBQ played.

Despite the strength of their instrumental virtuosity, expertly crafted and emoted songs, group interplay, diverse songbook, unstoppable swinging groove, and 30 plus year career, NRBQ do not have popular recognition on par with their immense virtues.

I believe that some of their greatest assets -- such as eclecticism, uncompromising artistic values, and humor -- are also the reasons that they never sold the millions of records that they deserved to. They are incredibly intelligent and proficient musicians that have no problem being silly and loose as well. There are so many facets to this band to wrap your head around, that it requires a certain openness on the part of the listener -- it is music that really needs to be felt emotionally to be understood.

Perhaps this why NRBQ gathered most of its fans by playing live. The pure spirit of Rock N Roll that they embodied could not be contained and captured in the studio, despite the fact that they made lots and lots of great record. But hey, I don't really know -- it's just theorizing -- and I'm sure the band themselves couldn't tell you the reason either. Although I'm sure they would have welcomed the millions a hit would have brought, I am guessing that they are very proud and content with what they accomplished. They are one of the very few bands that sustained musical excellence and artistic virtue over such a long career in the largely fickle spiritual wilderness of the music business.

If one person learns something about NRBQ from this thread, is inspired to buy their records, and has their musical life changed as they changed mine, I will have accomplished my goal.

Here are the discographical and interview links I've referenced in preparation for this thread. Thank you for all of the time and effort the respective authors put in to sharing this information:

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