The River Turns the Wheel

Bob Martin


Riversong Records
PO Box 2130
Salem, NH 03079

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Cynthia A. Harney

From tales of hometown legends and working (or not working) in the mills, Bob Martin's The River Turns the Wheel is a nostalgic piece of American history. Martin admirably weaves the present with the past, the struggles of labor, the hush when you've found your way home. Himself a man with a rich history, Martin's seasoned voice and graphic lyrics bring life to the people, rivers, and dreams of Anytown, USA.

A soulful harmonica leads into When Cotton Was King, where the guitar runs sweet and easy just like when the "textile mills were boomin'." Sandy Goulet's flowing and passionate harmonies were added to The River Turns the Wheel and Sweet River Days, a glimpse at a time when best friends could fish off the trestles and shake coal off the trains. Bill Morrissey added backing vocals to Stella Kerouac, a true legend. Drums, piano, bass, fiddle and mandolin on cuts such as American Street Dream and Silver Rails to Rio match the drive of the lyrics.


  • American Street Dream
  • The River Turns the Wheel
  • Better Than No Luck
  • Silver Rails to Rio
  • Daylight and the Dream
  • Sweet River Days
  • Stella Kerouac
  • Salisbury Beach
  • Sunshine Avenue
  • The Old Worthen
  • When Cotton Was King
  • Goin' Home

The Players

Jeff Landrock, recording engineer
Ray Brunelle, drums
Kent Allyn, bass
Sandy Goulet, backing vocals
Edie Martin, piano
Bill Martin, guitar
Bob Martin, vocals, harmonica, guitar
Taylor Armerding, mandolin
Jake Armerding, fiddle
Goin' Home Chorus: Bill Morrissey, Cormac McCarthy, Jack Wright,
Anne Marie Martin & Rosie Buesking
Bob Martin was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1942. He's worked in the mills along the Merrimack River and traveled the US. He spent the 60's writing music and playing guitar in Cambridge, MA at the Nameless Coffeehouse and Club 47. In 1975, Martin was living on a farm in West Virginia with his family. While there, he founded the Mountain Heritage School where older teachers were hired to teach traditional Appalachian crafts and skills. Bob Martin has since returned to Lowell, MA and is again touring nationally.

Edited by David N. Pyles

Copyright 1997, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

Return to FAME Reviews
Fame Logo Return to FAME Home Page

Return to Home Page

This Page was designed by David N. Pyles,
Please send comments, suggestions and inquiries to: