Worried Songs

BOB MARTIN - Seabrook LP

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Bob Martin began what would become his final studio album in a beach front condominium in Seabrook, New Hampshire in May 2008. The recordings sat dormant for the next 13 years.

This album began when James Endeacott of 1965 Records sent Jerry David DeCicca to Charlottesville, Virginia to meet Martin, hoping to reissue Martin’s 1972 debut on RCA Records, Midwest Farm Disaster. DeCicca, who had co-produced the final recordings of folk-funk, Heartworn Highways’ songwriter, Larry Jon Wilson, for 1965 Records (and later reissued by Drag City Records) had played the LP for Endeacott several months earlier. Midwest Farm Disaster is that rare album that feels joyful and yet full of sorrow; Martin’s Lowell, Massachusetts voice yearning with a backbeat from Nashville session musicians, Norman Putnam and Kenny Buttrey, the later fresh from his “Heart of Gold” session. The reissue never happened, as Martin was already in the process of rescuing his forgotten masterpiece for his own self-release. But Bob and Jerry’s breakfast led to Martin’s daughter, Tami, hiring DeCicca and engineer, Jake Housh, who also worked on the Wilson album, to capture her father in a similar manner.

After Midwest Farm Disaster, a second album for RCA was under contract, but when a record executive there wanted Martin to put his girlfriend’s poetry to music, Bob bailed on the deal. Martin continued to tour around with a pickup band until advice from his father resonated, and he left the road to raise a family. Bob worked as an educator, teaching math and computers, and even founded a school in West Virginia that taught traditional art forms in Appalachia like fiddle playing and weaving.