A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Geoffrey Huys
It took me more than a moment to decide how to pronounce the title of this
album the first night I played it on the radio. I wondered about the second
word of the title, but after a very long pause, I remembered that Bob
hails from British Columbia and that the second word is the postal code for
the island he lives on. So without undo embarrassment, I let go with the
first track, "Sulphur Passage," and for the next four minutes sat there
stunned by one of the most brilliant and wonderful rallying songs I'd
heard in more than a decade.
At 50, Bob Bossin refers to himself as "Old Folksinger," and to be truthful, he has been around for quite a long time. If you haven't been paying attention in recent years you could have imagined that he was just starting his career, but he's actually been around as long as fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot. Gabriola V0R1X0 is his first album in fifteen years and is the product not only of a folk-music master but also of the angels -- hundreds, perhaps thousands of them -- who helped Bob secure the funding to produce it. The details of how it all happened are carefully documented in March/April, 1996, issue of Sing Out! if you want to know more. But that is truly another story.
The album contains twelve songs, many of them penned by Bob. They include:
People have called Bob Bossin many things. Gary Cristall refers to him as the "Clint Eastwood of Canadian folk music." Pete Seeger says he's "funny, informative, and inspiring," and Ros Larman says "Bob Bossin is among the quirkiest, most unpredictable, funniest, and most respected of Canadian folk composers."
Gabriola V0R1X0 is without a doubt a very fine album, created by Bossin and a host of talented musicians. This is a work that you'll want to hear. Though well past the midpoint of his musical career, Bob has produced an album that speaks of life and love, energy and strength. It is a call to renewal in some sense -- and a look ahead. Bob Bossin, Old Folksinger, has created a work of art.
Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior written permission and attribution.