can be downloaded from links at the top of this page
Bobby enjoys writing
songs about the south and about people with robust lifestyles. He
chooses to avoid the limelight when not performing on stage. However,
on stage, Bobby is a energetic entertainer in the tradition of Little
Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. His song writing style has been described
as “Randy Newman with bite.” Some songs are not appropriate
Bobby Lounge was
born in the deep south in 1950. He learned to play piano before his
early teens and was influenced by southern gospel, blues, and barrelhouse
piano players. He is influenced by Hadda Brooks, Fats Waller, Bessie
Smith, and the many Southern gospel piano players.
What is the Bobby
Lounge Iron Lung Tour?
The tour usually consists of a troupe of three individual talents:
Bobby Lounge –
Singer, songwriter, piano player
Nurse Gina Pontevecchio – she has been described as “a
lithe blonde in blue medical scrubs whom he called his muse, his comfort
and a bona fide contortionist;” Bobby always travels with a
nurse. While not attending to Bobby's needs, Ms. Pontevecchio enjoys
reading and working out at the gym.
Prof. Calvin Tubbs, The Toastmaster – imagine Ed Sullivan mating
with Huey Long – watch the Professor (Bobby's biggest fan) introduce
the audience to Bobby after several electrifying proclamations, affirmations,
declarations and attestations!
Notes from John
Preble, manager of Bobby Lounge
I first saw Bobby Lounge perform in concert in New Orleans in the
early eighties. He came with a large entourage and gave what I thought
was an incredible performance. Months after this show, we became friends
and we discussed the idea of Bobby developing an entertaining night
club show. I also encouraged him to continue to write and we began
recording his music on simple home audio cassette recorders. Unfortunately,
Bobby became ill (chronic fatigue syndrome)and could not perform publicly.
Now, after over 20 years, he has learned to ‘manage’ his
health problems and he will performing one or two shows during 2005.
reviews are all copyrighted by the respective owners
FRONT PAGE REVIEW
07/07/2005 New Orleans Times Picayune
The Bobby Lounge Buzz
Who is this magical musical mystery man who has the whole Louisiana
music scene talking? by Chris Rose
If you consider
yourself a member of the music cognoscenti in town -- if you are in
possession of the vital secrets -- when someone asks you what you've
been listening to lately, the answer is: Bobby Lounge.
He is the buzz. The rave. Bobby Lounge is the new truth.
When he burst from obscurity this spring with a show in the Blues
Tent at Jazzfest -- apparently his first paying gig in the last 20
years -- critics from both Rolling Stone and The New York Times applauded
his show as a festival highlight.
So when I heard he was making a rare public appearance at the Louisiana
Music Factory in the French Quarter, I made my way down there.
All the predictable characters were there to justify Bobby Lounge's
rarefied standing atop the Mountain of Hip: WWOZ disc jockeys, local
music writers and collectors, the kind of people who still play vinyl,
the kind of people who go to every day of Jazzfest, the kind of people
who go to the Maple Leaf every night . . . and Morris Bart, now that
he is a producer of independent movies and has joined the ranks of
celebrated auteurs in town.
A guy named Donald Schenk cornered me going in. He has the look of
a classic aging Big Easy hipster with his gray soul patch, tie-dyed
Tipitina's T-shirt and genetically attached Abita beer in hand. He
said to me: "This guy is the Randy Newman of Pearl River; you
gotta hear this guy."
The witnesses poured forth to testify. A man told me: "Bobby
Lounge is like a cross between Benny Grunch and Abdul D. Tentmakur;
he's got as much soul as it's possible to have on the north shore."
Ben Sandmel, a local musicologist, added: "This is major stuff.
There is a doctoral dissertation of cultural commentary in what he
is saying. This guy is the bomb."
As I entered the store, a fourth Bobby Lounge acolyte whispered to
me: "I hear that after Marcia Ball heard this guy, she couldn't
play for a week."
Well, that certainly caught my attention. But who is this Bobby Lounge?
What's this cat's story? Is this whole thing a hoax -- as some musical
insiders had suggested during Jazzfest -- or a joke of some kind?
After all, how did some incredibly ordinary-looking guy show up at
Jazzfest out of the southern Mississippi woods and suddenly become
the hottest thing in south Louisiana since Crystal Sauce?
Bobby Lounge is a balding fireplug of a man in the area of 50. That
is not his real name. No one seems to know who he really is or what
might be his day job, if he has one. And maybe he doesn't -- the oddity
of his musical presentation suggests a backwoods savant who might
just sit on his momma's porch all day thinking.
He doesn't like to have his picture taken. The photos on his Web site
-- old black-and-whites showing some apparent prodigy at the piano
-- are not of Bobby Lounge. In fact, they were purchased on EBay.
These things I found out from Bobby Lounge's manager, John Preble
-- the man who coaxed him out of retirement.
Preble is the owner of the UCM Museum in Abita Springs, perhaps the
most curious and indescribable cultural outpost in the South -- and
that's saying a lot. (It's a whole 'nother column's worth of strangeness.)
Preble told me that Bobby Lounge is just a shy, supremely talented
piano banger and songwriter who, after making the scene in Piney Woods
music circles 20 years ago, was offered all manner of paying gigs
and travel but retreated into seclusion instead, claiming chronic
He is from an arch-conservative family in Mississippi who would not
approve of his passion and art, Preble says.
"His daddy doesn't know he does this," Preble said. "It's
like this: If you were a porn star and wanted your children to go
to the nice schools, you wouldn't necessarily tell your neighbors
what you did for a living, would you?"
While I mulled over that interesting analogy, Preble added: "He
will only perform on Saturdays. And only in the key of C."
The mystery grows.
"He's not a hoax," Preble says. "But I don't mind saying
-- and you can quote me on this -- this guy needs a psychiatrist pretty
I watched as Lounge was wheeled into the music store in a machine
he called an iron lung but which seems to be some sort of old aluminum
steam chamber or a prop pilfered from the dusty soundstage storerooms
of "Flash Gordon."
He was wheeled in by someone he thanked at the outset of his performance
and identified as Nurse Pontevecchio, a lithe blonde in blue medical
scrubs whom he called his muse, his comfort and a bona fide contortionist.
You could sense a true New Orleans moment was about to unfold. And
it did. Lounge, adorned in a black boa, grabbed a Lite beer and began
to bang on an old upright piano on a stage in the corner of the store.
What comes forth when Bobby Lounge performs is a fascinating amalgam
of Jerry Lee Lewis, Kinky Friedman, Steven Wright and Tom Waits performed
in Mississippi brothel barrelhouse piano style and delivered in vocalizations
that range from stand-up comedy to tremolo to retro-Satchmo to The
Killer on Percocet.
Mostly, it's just plain mind-blowing Southern Gothic storytelling.
It's as if the guy was born of a Carson McCullers novel with a mission
of music in his head.
From his 20-year-old portfolio, he played numbers called "I Gave
You a Trust Fund From My Bank of Love," "Excuse Me, Abuse
Me," "Take Me Back to Abita Springs," "If I Had
Been Elvis" and the ever-popular title cut to his new CD -- recorded
in one take, in the order the songs appear on the disc -- "I
Remember the Night Your Trailer Burnt Down."
They are twisted tales of love, death and drinking -- the three most
popular topics of Southern art and not necessarily in that order.
The songs are long and rambling and the lyrics range from shockingly
brilliant to twistedly weird and there's just no sense in reprinting
them because they are either too dirty or too dense or just too incomprehensibly,
well, incomprehensible to the common man.
Of which most people are in the presence of the phenomenon that is
Bobby Lounge. His music, so unique and free from modern influence,
is best experienced by the open mind or at least a mind half-clouded
I'd tell you to go check it out for yourself but his Web site says
there are no scheduled bookings, so who knows when he will appear
If he does, I'm guessing it will be a Saturday night. Just another
Saturday night in the key of C.
After finally witnessing the spectacle that is Bobby Lounge, all I
really know is this, because John Preble told me so: "The nurse
really is a contortionist."
06/02/2005 Rolling Stone
I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned Down
from a column titled: Out There by David Fricke
I can't tell
you much about mysterious Mississippi spitfire Bobby Lounge other
than this: That's not his real name, and he made an unforgettable
entrance at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, wheeled
onstage by a nurse in an iron lung (actual a huge steam-room cabinet).
Then, chugging beer in obvious perfect health, he turned into Bessie
Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, Flannery O'Conner and Bob Dylan (the lyrical-surrealist
edition) all at once, playing blazing barrelhouse piano and belting
outrageously vivid blues from the far fringes of Southern life. This
debut album has everything I saw a Jazz Fest but the lung, including
the twisted recipe of love "I Will" (mix bondage and Popeyes
chicken; stir vigorously), and the parade of unnatural wonders in
the rolling-boogie epic "Take Me Back to Abita Springs,"
a kind of "Desolation Row" exploding with Little Richard-style
piano and starring, among other things, an infant flamenco dancer,
a singing burro and the queen of England's underwear. Lounge has a
very high opinion of himself" He closes here with the gospel-piano
sunrise of "I'll Always Be Better Than You." But in your
heart, you know he's right.
excerpted from a column titled: Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon By various
writers reviewing the
2005 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
Who or what is
Bobby Lounge? The wildness of his metaphors and cover art suggests
he's a musical primitive, but his boogie-woogie piano in the Jerry
Lee Lewis mode and way with a tall tale give him away as crafty and
smart. In the Blues Tent, the ode to his hometown, He was a Louisiana
regional phenomenon / women called him Tipi but his name was John
/ Packed up all the junk he strewed out in his yard / he said I'm
going West to become a movie star / Reduced to singing backup with
Siamese twins / he cried out “Take me back to Abita Springs”
New York Times
excerpted from a column titled: A Beloved Funk Group Rocks Again,
and a Venerable Festival Rolls On
By Ben Ratliff
.. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . New to nearly everyone was Bobby Lounge, a balding,
middle-aged eccentric from Mississippi who on Saturday delivered lethally
sardonic songs (like "I'll Always Be Better Than You") with
a percussive blues-and-barrelhouse piano style. He was wheeled on
and off stage in a silver steam cabinet, the kind of thing once used
for weight reduction. "I call it the Iron Lung," he said
backstage, sipping a beer. "It perpetuates the myth that Bobby's
a little infirm." (He keeps his real identity secret, his manager
said, so as not to imperil his day job.
04/19/05 Gambit Weekly
I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burnt Down
Bobby Lounge (Abitian)
By Alison Fensterstock
"We are offering this disk to the public at the request of the
many people who have heard of the genius of Bobby Lounge, but who
may not have had a chance to see him perform," explain the liner
notes, which go on to point out that the late-baby-boomer-age Lounge
performed his witty, slightly twisted piano tunes in the '70s, mostly
at house parties.
Over long interludes -- the shortest song clocks in just under five
minutes; the longest approaches nine -- of gospel, blues and barrelhouse-influenced
piano, Lounge rants, testifies and orates, flipping deftly between
twisted humor, sly sarcasm and a genuine storyteller's gift. There
are almost too many priceless couplets on the album to relate; one
gem is "If I seem haunted / and if I seem distant / it's only
because I'm much better than you," from "I'll Always Be
Better Than You."
This album, recorded live in 2004, marks Lounge's return to performing,
and after a listening, the liner notes makes sense. Play it with guests
in your house, and they'd be likely to ask, "What the hell is
that guy talking about?" and then you could say, "Oh, that's
just Bobby Lounge." It's fair to guess that that would be a pretty
accurate recreation of an exchange at any of those '70s house parties
where Lounge initially demonstrated his genius. --
Weekly CRITIC'S PICK
2:50 p.m., Popeyes Blues Tent,
entertainer in the tradition of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis,
pianist Bobby Lounge's songwriting has been described as 'Randy Newman
with bite.' Influenced by Southern gospel, blues and barrelhouse piano,
his first studio recording, I Remember the Night Your Trailer Burned
Down, is a blend of humor, grit and hot Southern blues. (See CD reviews
in this issue.)
Vistas A Publication from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
Sound Advice column
Southern Gothic, Southern Decadence
Brilliance of Bobby Lounge
The South is
often lauded as the last bastion of regional culture within an increasingly
regimented America. Yet many who celebrate the South’s uniqueness
also perceive it as doomed. This viewpoint was recently espoused,
for instance, by the great contemporary Louisiana songwriter Lucinda
Williams, who possesses a rare gift for evoking Southern scenes in
just a few succinct verses. Williams told an interviewer that she
moved from Nashville to Los Angeles because “The ‘New
South” is absolutely horrible. They’re systematically
killing off everything that’s traditional, because they’re
ashamed of being Southern. It’s why I can’t live there
anymore.”There are ample instances of such assimilation that
support this gloomy assessment. But transcendently idiosyncratic moments
still occur, nonetheless, revealing that the steamroller of bland
conformity has yet to flatten all in its path. One such affirming
epiphany is the April release of I Remember The Night Your Trailer
Burnt Down (Abitian), the debut album by a pianist, singer and profoundly
startling lyricist known as Bobby Lounge. Perhaps it is no coincidence
that this deep cultural statement appeared in the same month as the
stunning, confirmed sighting of an ivory-billed woodpecker –
a magnificent Southern creature that for decades was dismissed as
The piano style of Bobby Lounge (the stage name for a musician who,
to date, refuses to divulge any personal information whatsoever) embraces
a keyboard continuum ranging from Jelly Morton to Jerry Lewis and
Little Richard, via countless blues and Gospel-music pianists, both
black and white. Swinging, sultry, and hard-rocking, Lounge delights
in embellishment, filigree, and deliberate quirks of timing; such
flourishes can be added at will, with no fear of confusing a band,
because Lounge always plays unaccompanied. (This free-form approach,
known as “jumping time” or “breaking time,”
is often heard among rural musicians; it is technically unorthodox
but absolutely not incorrect.) Lounge’s vocal style is also
steeped in the intertwined Southern roots-music fervor of blues, country,
soul, Gospel and rockabilly. He wails, moans, bends notes, and stretches
one-syllable words into multi-syllabic riffs. He toys with tempo,
singing ahead of, over, or behind the beat. He contrasts wild growls,
screams and falsettos with soft tones and sarcastic asides. For quick
reference, his soulful delivery suggests equal elements Bessie Smith,
Ray Charles, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
It’s impressive to hear these traditional traits conveyed with
such conviction, but they are not what makes Bobby Lounge’s
music so utterly singular. That distinction is achieved by his lyrics:
“He traveled far and wide, searched high and low,
Vandalized a statue by Michelangelo
Shot down in Great Britain on the palace grounds
Baying at the moon in the Queen’s night gown
The Queen said ‘we do not loan out our under things’
He said, ‘Ma’am, just send me back to Abita Springs!”
“If I seem
haughty, and I seem distant,
Well it’s just because I’m much better than you
And if you have trouble accepting your status
Then let me explain it to you.
In the realm of
Some are more naturally endowed
And to us goes the power
And to us goes the glory
And to you goes what we cast aside
So if in my presence
You seem somewhat diminished
Just know that God meant it to be that way
And I will defend you
And I will stand by you
As long as you stay in your place
So now as I bask
In the dim glow of your attention
There is but one thing left for me to do
And that is tell you...
And that is to remind you...
I’ll always be better than you.”
writing reflects no obvious influences. But for quick reference, once
again, he could be described as combining the adroit wit and articulate
precision of Gilbert and Sullivan, the Southern literary imagery of
Carson McCullers, et al, the beat surrealism of Bob Dylan and Tom
Waits, the sardonic humor of Randy Newman, and the unabashed perversion
of Marquis de Sade.
Some listeners will be troubled by this last aspect of some of Lounge’s
esoteric music, and two songs on this album are marked “unsuitable
for airplay and children.” I Remember The Night Your Trailer
Burnt Down is definitely not family entertainment. What it’s
also not – happily – is further proof of Southern regionalism
in retreat, of the “New South” turning into Anytown, U.S.A.
Against all odds, steeped in loopy tradition, such talented individualists
are still out there.