As you will see from what I’ve written below, catching Bob Burger performing his own show at the Celtic Cottage was very much on my “to do” list. I’ve been aware of Bob’s musical talents ever since I read the credits on Bobby Bandiera’s first CD, Bandiera and noted the names of C’mon Caroline’s writers.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have seen Bob and Bobby perform as a duo on several occasions at the Celtic Cottage in Long Branch; this bar kinda became the place to go after the demise of Cheers in Long Branch which used to host to weekly gigs from Bobby Bandiera’s band back in the 90s.
Without a doubt, the show that stands out for me though, was the performance from Bobby Bandiera’s band at Jukestock, of which Bob Burger was a part – see http://www.jukestock.com for everything you ever wanted to know about the 3 days of Peace, Love and Jukes – and it was just great to see these guys perform to such an appreciative audience, the majority of whom had not seen them play before in this capacity.
Fast forward to July 1st, 2004.
The thing about the Celtic Cottage that I find amazing is its size; the bar area takes up most of the floor space and what’s left is about the size of an average living room. There’s a huge open fireplace on one wall and when the fire is lit, it just adds to the intimacy of the place. The musicians perform from an alcove area that is just about wide enough for two people to squeeze into… and you know what? It’s a really great place to see live music.
In my experience, the people who go to the Celtic Cottage do tend to listen to the performance and when Bob played some of the songs from Cymbals At Dawn, his excellent début CD that was released in 2003, it was clear he was playing to an audience already familiar with his original work.
Accompanying Bob was an impressive guitar player I didn’t recognize and when I
asked who he was, Bob told me it was Jimmy Leahey, a fantastic player he met through Glen Burtnik. From where I was sitting, I’d certainly agree with the adjective in that statement!
With the exception of Ring Of Fire and the excellent My Crowning Achievement which Bob co-wrote with Glen Burtnik, Cymbals at Dawn is an outstanding collection of Bob’s original material that allows us an insight into his songwriting, musical and even his technical skills. Influences by the Beatles and possibly Tom Petty are evident to my ears, but what I hear most of all – and what I saw at the Celtic Cottage — is someone who is incredibly talented in his own right and who delivers his work with a heartfelt passion, every time.
Cymbals at Dawn is available from Jack’s Music in Red Bank where you will find it in the section reserved for “Local Artists”; it is also available online from CDBaby.
http://bobburger.com will take you directly to a CDBaby page link where you’ll find a very complimentary write-up as well as some excellent reviews about Bob and his work.