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.
Sample: “Just to Be With You”
Brinkley, Arkansas, and Other Assorted Love Songs