Author Archives: bobfranksongs

Vivian O’Blivion

Here’s another authentic song, written by Bob in the early 1980’s, in Oakland, California. Every word in it is the gospel truth, so help me Santa Claus. This video was recorded at the Otherlands, in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2015. Not for the faint of heart.

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“Love Turns the Wheel” – Bob’s new hit single!

Love Turns the Wheel Cover

Here’s the latest hit single from the same guy that brought you the Little Gest of Robin Hood and other classic sagas of the working man — this one was produced by the incomparable John Murry (the same as co-conspired with Bob on the murder ballads CD, World Without End). John also put an awesome backup vocal on this baby. Recorded at Tim Mooney’s Closer Recording in San Francisco back in 2009-10, it’s actually one track off an album that has never been released yet.

What’s that? Oh, I thought you said something.

Buy it here, or here, or here. Take your pick.

Listen to it first, see if you like it:  Love Turns the Wheel


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Twilight in Tolleson — Bob’s new CD. Check it out!

twilight in tollesonChuck Giamalvo, Bob’s friend and co-writer down in Arizona, produced this CD of Bob singing 12 songs that he and Chuck wrote over the past few years. They recorded it in Chuck’s studio in Tolleson, with some local Arizona pickers and the Arizona Angels, two ladies from Phoenix that put some heavenly harmonies on it.

The songs are a good mix of different styles and stories, from riverboat gamblers and truck drivers to lonesome lovers and one old guy who lost everything he had, but saved his heart for her. Bob usually writes story songs, like old cowboy songs or folk music, and Chuck usually writes classic country music like was popular back in the ’60’s, so as Chuck says in the liner notes, they have come up with some material here that neither one of them would have written on their own.

It’s available right now on cdbaby, or you can get it direct from Bob!  Or you can get it right here! Don’t push, don’t shove, there’s plenty here for one and all!

Sample:  Riverboat Gambler  


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Live, at the Hotel Utah, San Francisco, August, 2014.

The lyrics of this song were written on the battlefield by Dylan Hartsfeld, a soldier from North Carolina who served two tours, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and then came home and got murdered by a cop in his own back yard.



Here’s one about Jackpine Mary, the legendary cowgirl from Williams Lake, B.C., on her wild ride through the aspens, when a grizzly bear was chasing her.



The whole live show is now available from Tall Cotton Productions. Filmed by Jeffery Haas of Deep Freeze Films, it’s the only live video of Bob anyone has ever seen yet.

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Sad Bastards Club

Bob will be playing at the monthly meeting of the Sad Bastards Club, Monday, Nov 20, at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco, along with Tom Heyman, Andrew Cervantes and Lane Murchison. Come one, come all, or your children will reproach you in later life for such an uncalled-for lack in their education!


Upcoming gigs in Arizona

Friday, Jan 26, Bob will be at the Desert Rose in Phoenix. 

Saturday, Jan 27, at the Songwriters’ Convention at the Peoria Library in Peoria during the day, and that evening, at Barbara’s Place in Tolleson, for a CD release party for two new Bob Frank CD’s, Squeeze It Easy and By the Light of the Lamp. (See below.)        Songwriters’ jam afterwards.

Sunday, Jan 28, at Waddell’s Longhorn Restaurant, for the West Valley Country Western Assn.


New CD’s

Squeeze It Easy

Bob finally finished this CD, which he recorded at Chuck Giamalvo’s studio in Tolleson, AZ. It’s another collection of Bob Frank songs, but a couple of them are co-writes, such as the beautiful border ballad, “Anna Maria”, which Bob co-wrote with Paul Compton, in Memphis. Produced by Chuck Giamalvo.

By the Light of the Lamp

Bob finally finished this CD, too. It was also recorded at Chuck’s studio, and is a rather unique album. It’s all old songs, written back in the late 60’s-early 70′. These are the songs Bob played at that infamous gig at Max’s Kansas City for the release of the ’72 Vanguard album… Yep. These are the songs that got Bob thrown off Vanguard…. they were too gentle. Vanguard only wanted to hear the songs on that were on that album, what Bob called “degenerate shit.” You gotta add this one to your collection, just to round it out. Keep it true to life. Produced by Chuck Giamalvo.

Arizona Rose

Bob is recording another CD at John Mahoney’s Ravenpheat Studio, in Glendale, AZ. This one is all new songs — oh, except for a couple of numbers that were recorded previously, but in a somewhat altered state… So Bob wants to re-record them, in their original condition. That is, the way they were originally written. Also, a song that Paul Compton, in Memphis, wrote a long time ago… “My Middle Name Is Trouble.” The sad tale of marijuana, and the damage done. “So I sat alone for the next 30 days, while they enjoyed my stash.” The cops, that is… This song sounds so much like a Bob Frank song, Bob thinks he wrote it himself. But actually, Paul wrote it. Back around 1970. Gotta hear it. Authentic stuff. No shit.


A documentary of Bob is being made by Isaac Pingree now. Should be done in a few months. What will become of it is undetermined. Sort of like Bob himself…


Here’s some strong praise for Bob’s songs and CD’s, written by Roy Peak, a remarkable songwriter himself:


Bob has a new CD out now, Twilight in Tolleson. This one is a collection of 12 songs that Bob co-wrote with Chuck Giamalvo, in Tolleson, Arizona. Chuck produced it, and it’s a totally different sound for Bob than you’ve heard on any of his other CD’s. The songs are different from what Bob usually writes, more straight up country and pop from a timeless place. His guitar and vocals are super strong on this one. The accompaniment is just right, toned down, laid back, no wasted licks, no unnecessary shenanigans. Just good, tasty music. Buy it now from, or order it direct from Bob.


Dec. 22, 2015 — Live interview with Bob by John Braughton, on “Retrospectives,” 3SER Casey Radio, 97.7 FM, in Melbourne, Australia. Here’s the raw, unedited version. 


See raw footage of Bob, captured live, high on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River! “Live at 9,” Channel 3, Memphis.


Bob’s Vanguard album is included in this collection of “50 Classic LP’s recorded in Gnashville” back in the day.


Light in the Attic has finally released the first-ever reissue of Bob’s 1972 Vanguard album, Bob Frank. Check out this review in Record Collector. And don’t miss these interviews on The Bay Bridged and Read and Hear.

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To Buy CD’s

Send Bob an email to and tell him which ones you want.

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“With song titles like, ‘Wino’ and ‘Before the Trash Truck Comes,’ Bob Frank’s 1972 self-titled album probably wasn’t kicking around your parents’ Beatles and Rolling Stones-heavy vinyl collections (if it is, see if you can snag it from them; it’s a collector’s item now). But with strains of Johnny Cash, John Prine, and even Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Frank wrote utterly compelling 70s folk rock, which is not a sentence I’d string together very often. A living legend you’ve never heard of, seeing him perform in these intimate venues seems like a tremendous opportunity.” — “Selected Things”



Upcoming Gigs:




Friday, Jan 26, Bob will be at the Desert Rose in Phoenix. 


Saturday, Jan 27, at the Songwriters’ Convention at the Peoria Library in Peoria during the day, and that evening, at Barbara’s Place in Tolleson, for a CD release party for two new Bob Frank CD’s, Squeeze It Easy and By the Light of the Lamp. Songwriters’ jam afterwards.


Sunday, Jan 28, at Waddell’s Longhorn Restaurant, for the West Valley Country Western Assn.




Here’s the Grandfather of Grunge, playing his famous song, “Vivian O’Blivion,” at a live performance in Memphis, TN, at The Otherlands, on South Cooper, June, 2015.

“Anti-social, inappropriate, politically incorrect —

That’s what you get from a guy like me. What else did you expect?”




If you want to book Bob somewhere, or buy a CD from him, or use his music in a movie or tv show, or co-write a song with him, go to the Contact page on this site and contact his elusive ass.

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Bob Frank, Vanguard, 1972 —

Reissued on Light in the Attic records, in vinyl as well as CD. Don’t wait! Buy it now, or your children will reproach you in later life for such an uncalled for lack in their education!

“Awesome down home Southern Fried Acid Folky Blues stoner vibe rarity, ‘She Pawned Her Diamond for some Gold’ tells the story of the girl who smoked her last bowl, and penniless needed s’more, so she… Killer. Really scarce LP and brings a $100 in circles, dig??? I thought you did.” — description of Vanguard album being auctioned off on ebay.

A collector’s item, this is the record that created a cult following all over the world.

This album has been reissued on Light in the Attic, a prestigious label that if you don’t know about, you should check it out right now!

Sample:  She Pawned Her Diamond for Some Gold.

Here’s how Bob looked when he played this song at the Arkansas Folk Festival in 1973. You can’t see his feet in this photo. Too bad, cause he’s not wearing any shoes. The original barefoot hippie, he threw away his shoes in 1969, and never got another pair til sometime in the ’70’s.

“… a counterculture confederate with a capital C whose ribald songs mixed folk balladry, sex, an outlaw social conscience and really good drugs. That he took about 30 years to follow it up says less about his talent than his inability to suffer the music biz gladly.” — J.R., Nashville Scene

“… an outlaw songwriter’s outlaw songwriter, a Vietnam veteran …tougher than Kristofferson and more spry than Cash, an often-jolly light in typically dark corners.” — Grayson Haver Currin, Pitchfork

 Sample: “Judas Iscariot”

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World Without End

You’ve heard of death metal; well, this here is death country-folk, and a more gruesome collection of songs you will not hear this or any other year. Bob Frank is a California-based, 62-year-old, late-blooming maverick roots singer-songwriter who once played with the likes of Townes Van Zandt; he has teamed up with John Murry to make a “murder ballads album,” but instead of revisiting the familiar catalogue of traditional tunes, they’ve written 10 of their own, based on actual events, and notably shorn of any moral tone. This makes grim if compelling listening — murder, rape, pillage, nooses, knives and mayhem — from the story of Little Wiley Harpe in 1805, to Bubba Rose’s dark deeds in 1961. The music is suitably sepia-toned, hushed vocals cowled in a gaunt mesh of steel guitar and evocative picking. Not easy to like but impossible to ignore. — Joe Breen, Irish Times.       sample: Joaquin Murietta, 1853

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Brinkley, Arkansas, & Other Assorted Love Songs

Sample: Just to Be With You

Bob Frank and John Murry, two Southern ex-pats (the former hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, and Murry being from Tupelo, Mississippi) living in the San Francisco Bay Area and separated by nearly a forty year age difference, have created a more-than-worthy follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2006 release, “World Without End”. That release was a gruesome collection of true murder ballads, co-written by Frank and Murry and hailed by critics worldwide as a both timeless and timely meditation on death, destruction, and American violence. Perhaps, then, it follows naturally (or at least “naturally” according to Frank and Murry) that their newest record, “Brinkley, Ark. and Other Assorted Love Songs”, though very much a departure aesthetically, focuses just as heavily on loss; this time, not the loss of life but of lost love and of longing.

Dubbed “redneck soul” by Frank, Murry, and their long-time producer Tim Mooney, the album is filled with Memphis horns, Muscle Shoals rhythms, Mississippi gospel organ, and fiery Southern Rock-influenced guitar work that encapsulates the strong and emotionally honest songwriting of Frank and Murry.

The songs themselves span nearly forty years, with some having been written by Frank immediately after his tour of duty in Vietnam. Creating the record was an idea that occurred to Murry when he was staying at Bob’s house and found a box of old reel to reel demo tapes.  He was staying at Bob’s house at the time because he had separated from his wife and, in the midst of the heartache, found refuge in Bob’s forgotten songs. These songs inspired John to write his own, and the resulting record is a seamless mixture of Frank and Murry’s songs, chronicling the heartbreak of love lost.

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