I have all of Bob Stark’s albums, butnot all of them CDs; some early ones are cassettes, in my collection. They hold up very well, even after four decades.
‘Storefront Photograph’ is different from all the others in that it is unusually economic: Stark sings and plays his acoustic guitar, with only a little help here and there from a backup singer, a harp or a mandolin. Simple, but effective.
All Stark’s other albums contain at least one, and most often more than one, strong melodies that reverberate in my head for a long time after, and continue to be fresh to this day. Strangely enough, this bouquet of tunes does not. Which is not to say that the album isn’t melodic; it is. But in this case, it’s as if Stark has decided to let the lyrics do the heavy work this time, with the melodies being the supporting fabric.
This is Bob Stark in his mature adulthood, contemplating life from the perspective of age and experience, at ease with himself and the place in which he finds himself.
Perhaps I can best sum up my impression by saying that this is a somewhat melancholy album to be savoured on a winter’s evening, in front of a slow-burning fireplace with a glass of good wine, or perhaps a scotch-and-soda, in hand. And if there is a memory of a lost love, all the better.
Sjef Frenken is a renaissance man: thinker, writer, translator and composer of much music. A main interest, he has many, is setting to music the poetry, written for children, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Nimble of mind, Sjef is a youthful retiree and a great-grandfather. Mostly he's a content man, which facilitates his relentless multi-media creativity.
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