Big Bob Young | Hard Way to Make a Dollar

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Hard Way to Make a Dollar

by Big Bob Young

Americana roots music both bluesy and country. Rockabilly roots shine through
Genre: Blues: Country Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ship of Fools
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5:51 $0.79
2. Best of a Bad Situation
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2:19 $0.79
3. Somewhere Tonight
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5:03 $0.79
4. Hard Way to Make a Dollar
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2:56 $0.79
5. Bury Me in Dixie
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3:15 $0.79
6. Mississippi Nights
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3:33 $0.79
7. Green County Stomp
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3:18 $0.79
8. I Call it Love
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5:05 $0.79
9. Can I Take You Home
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2:34 $0.79
10. Stand Up
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4:06 $0.59
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Big Bob Young BIO

For a lifetime, Big Bob Young, a working man’s storyteller with a comfortably-weathered voice, has carried his songs around, shaping and refining them until they’re solid, sturdy and built to last. The grooves run deep, the stories and emotions ring true, and the words shine like the modest gems they are.

Young’s 10-song debut CD, HARD WAY TO MAKE A DOLLAR, is a home-cooked sonic buffet of bluesy, roots-rockin’ Americana, with simply eloquent lyrics: literate but unpretentious, well-crafted and semi-autobiographical.

Robert L. Young was born in 1955, and while he may have taken a circuitous route to reach this point in life, his songs are richer for their travels. A married father and high school dropout at 17, Big Bob has been an airman, soldier, mechanic, collegian, jazzman, country bandleader, farrier, telegram singer and clown. He has twice married and divorced and lost a wife to cancer. Young served his country for 23 years in the Air Force and Army National Guard, including a 13-month stint (April '03-May '04) in Iraq for which he was awarded a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal. Along the way, he has musically chronicled heartache and jubilation, innocence lost and insight gained, pleasures of the flesh and matters of the soul. Now, these songs can finally be heard.

Music has surrounded Young since his birth into a musical family in St. Louis — Mom and her eight siblings harmonized on gospel standards; Dad taught him guitar — and young Bob absorbed these influences and many more. He started writing songs as a teen, and caught the performing "bug" while serving in the Air Force. “I was 27 before I made my first dollar from music, playing at an Officers' Club for $300 a week,” he recalls.

In the mid-’80s, while bandleader for a country artist in Arkansas, Young (who plays guitar, bass and drums) began honing his songwriting skills. In 1988 he moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he earned a degree in Recording Industry Management from Middle Tennessee State University. He moved to Tullahoma, Tennessee in 1992, where he now lives with "Buddy" (a three-year old Yellow Labrador Retriever) and enjoys spending time with his fiancé, Vicki.

When Young retired from the military in 2008, he committed himself to his music full-time and was finally ready to record his first CD. He called longtime friend and musical collaborator bassist Jeff "$tick" Davis (Amazing Rhythm Aces/Burrito Deluxe) to assemble a dream team of cosmic musicians: Michael Webb (Gary Allan/Allison Moorer) on piano, organ and accordion; Rick Lonow (Poco/Burrito Deluxe) on drums; Carlton Moody (Burrito Deluxe/Moody Brothers) on acoustic guitar and mandolin, and bluesman Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn/The Band) on electric guitar, slide and Dobro. The album was recorded and mixed in Nashville, with Davis, Webb and Moody producing.

The all-star band and blue-collar singing poet are a perfect match on HARD WAY TO MAKE A DOLLAR. From album opener “Ship of Fools” (a soulful good-love-gone-bad blues) to the celebratory hoedown “Green County Stomp;" from the prayerful “Somewhere Tonight” to the swinging barroom come-on “Can I Take You Home” Young proves himself across a range of styles.

Like the tough-as-nails Arkansas waitress in the title track, Big Bob Young knows how hard it is to make a dollar. But in his music, as in his life, he rolls up his sleeves and gets the job done. When it comes to writing great songs, with lyrics that move and rhythms that rock, he delivers.

BIG BOB YOUNG Industry Quotes (as of 1 28 09)

“Falling under the 'big tent' side of the Country music equation comes Big Bob Young and his blues-laced debut album Hard Way To Make A Dollar "Ship Of Fools" has a deep blues-rock undercurrent to it that's actually not far from what has helped make Jimmy Buffet a long-time favorite (when he's not singing party songs). Vocally Big Bob Young also resembles Buffett's weary, aged voice. is a fine album that showcases the kind of great talent that comes in all shapes, sizes and ages in our great country.” -Matt Bjorke, ROUGHSTOCK
“Somewhere Tonight---Another great story song singer who communicates clearly and tunefully. “ Roger Hill, IN TOUCH MAGAZINE

“”The mood (of the CD) covers country, blues and blue-eyed soul. The latter underrated genre is perhaps Bob’s strongest with some similarities to Russell Smith especially on “ I Call It Love.” He should be very content with the making of a first rate album which will sound as good in ten years as it does today. Well done.” Keith Glass, CAPITAL NEWS (Australia)

“A CD that's certainly different from the current mass productions and that reminds me of some Texan songwriters: Straight forward, honest and sometimes inconvenient. Let's hope that Young gets his well deserved attention. His fan base is certainly growing with this album.”
- Bruno Michel, AMERICAN-COUNTRY (Switzerland)

“Big Bob has an expressive, passionate vocal style that grabs you and makes you want to listen deeply to what he is singing about. The main thrust of the music is blues driven; and there’s some pretty powerful stuff in the package.”
- Larry Delaney, COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS (Canada)

“This is a record that offers a wide spectra of styles and appeals to most people who want some ‘go’ in the music. The music this 53 old guy produce can be described as Americana with blues/rock influences. A comparison that comes to my mind is Delbert McClinton. When it swings as most, as in the title track, you at once come to think of The Tractors and their often hard driving music. Big Bob Young is a man you must not miss.”
-Olov Lindgren, KOUNTRY KORRAL (Sweden)

“Hard Way To Make A Dollar is a 10-track joyous debut of fulfilled ambition. It’s where determination and talent meet at the fork. Produced by Jeff ”Stick” Davis, Carlton Moody and Michael Webb – all respected for their many and varied musical indulgences – the album with Young’s self-penned offering is, well, simply, a keeper. There’s the voice. It’s lived-in. There’s a soft growl. There’s a biting grit. There is a melody, a vocal richness, something not taught at music school, rather lived out in the streets. The bars, and lived out in situations and circumstances of the examined life.” – George Peden, COUNTRY STARS ONLINE

“Hard Way To Make A Dollar (the single) blew the cobwebs away for sure.”
- Kjell Horlin, MCWC Radio (Sweden)

“Hard Way To Make A Dollar (the single) is packed with more energy than a battery.”
– Gerd Stassen, EVW Radio (Germany)

“Prevalent throughout the whole album are the stand out, gravelly vocals of Bob, which bring to mind several old timers, or current singers such as Tom Russell, and in all of these instances the gravelly sound adds an extra dimension to the vocals… I am confident that once you have heard it you will be glad he did. “- Helen Mitchell, FATEA MAGAZINE ( U.K.) “
“Mixing Americana with solid country and a touch of blues, Big Bob could well become something of a cult figure.” – David Allan, COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE (U.K.)

“Hard Way to Make a Dollar”, has ten superbly crafted songs, beautifully performed and leaving me a little perplexed. Can this really be a debut album when in reality it seems to be the work of a well-seasoned star? This is an album no self respecting country fan will want to be without.”
- Pete Smith, THE ADVERTISER (U.K)
“The density of the complete work is an impressive piece of Americana.”
- Max Achatz, COUNTRY JUKEBOX (Germany)

“In fact songs of Big Bob are intense and rich of passion, not only the love to the center
of its thematic one, but life every day, that one of common people that it faces, with difficulty, every sacrifice; and the cure and the attention for the spirit and for spirit, the memories, also those ugly, those that have it carried in turn for the world, in the war zones.”
- Davide Frascella, TARANT OGGI ( Italy)

“This is a very melodic record that is difficult not to take to your heart, with everything from stompy country to jazz and soul. Totally I liked the record and Big Bob Young should certainly be bigger in Nashville.” Hans Bloom, DALADEMOKRATEN (Sweden)
“The sound is a bluesy mix of road-house rock with country overtones that suits Young's age roughened and weathered voice... a hard working bed rock integrity is at the heart of his songs. This is the kind of album that tends to get little attention in the media but is more worthy that some more acclaimed major label releases.” Steve Rapid, LONESOME HIGHWAY

“Mixing Americana with solid country and a touch of blues, Big Bob could well become something of a cult figure.” – David Allan, COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE (U.K.)

“This is working man’s music – a bit of everything- blues, country & rock’n’roll. A refreshing blast in today’s manufactured music world.”
–Stewart Fenwick, COUNTRY MUSIC & DANCE (Scotland/Ireland)

“Blues and soul are the master words from the first notes of the album…. Big Bob Young offers a pure and sincere voice.” – Jean Agostini, HIGHWAY FM (France)

“Here's an engaging parade of country ditties performed by a master of the rural genre. Earthy, innovative and progressive, his talent excels with unquestionable quality that the common man will appreciate.” – British Author Paul Davis

“I love Big Bob’s CD. You can feel the pedigree of Stick and Carlton's influence, not to mention Big Bob's wonderful southern country soul voice.” Eddie White,2RRR FM ( Sydney, Australia)

“ The guitars roar rock’n’ roll, the vocals are gruff and ‘Hard Way To Make A Dollar rips along at way beyond 100bpm.” – John Lewis, RODEO ATTITUDE

“Hard Way To Make A Dollar stands out as a true piece of Americana with an every-man feel. Big Bob writes songs about real life with his distinctive bit of wit attached.
– Stick Davis, producer & musician (Amazing Rhythm Aces, Burrito Deluxe)

“Big Bob's ability to write songs with such great melodies made this project so much fun to work on. Good tunes are hard to find these days, and Bob's soulful delivery makes them unforgettable.”-Carlton Moody, producer & musician (Burrito Deluxe, Moody Brothers)

"Big Bob’s songs are heartfelt and honest, covering so many different styles that you can't help but be entertained by this album."
- Michael Webb, producer & musician (Allison Moorer, Chris Knight)

“Big Bob Young’s songs are not hip, artsy or ironic. His meat-and-potatoes American roots music comes from the heart, is delivered with confidence and soul, and will stick with you long after the so-called “next big thing” has faded from memory.”
- Jeff Walter, songwriter/ publisher (Jack and Jenny Music)

PRESS REVIEW: Bruno Michel
Artist: Big Bob Young
Album: Hard Way To Make A Dollar
Year: 2008
Label: Man Around The House
Order-#: 6 34479 83540 7

© 2008 / Bruno Michel

Working Man's Blues is what you could call the songs of Big Bob Young on his debut Hardway To Make A Dollar. After 23 years in Army, Airforce and National Guard, several tragic events and many positive and negative experiences, a person can tell some stories. Young is doing that through his songs. The fact that he's also a multi instrumentalist (Guitar, Bass, Drums) helps him to wrap perfectly fitting melodies around his lyrics.

The words go deep and talk of real life - not the one filled with sunshine and bright lights but the one full of tears, illness, and difficult situations. In Somewhere Tonight parents are worried about the whereabouts of their teens. Hard Way To Make A Dollar tells the working class reality at the example of a waitress. You work your butt off everyday and you still make it barely through the monthly bills. But life is not only filled with darkness. There's sometimes also fun. Young tells this in Green Country Stomp.

The CD booklet contains all the lyrics and - even better - a short note of Young what inspired him to the song. This helps the listener to feel into the story and so there's additional significance. Through the many events in his life, Young is not afraid of expressing his belief in songs as he does in Stand Up.

A CD that's certainly different from the current mass productions and that reminds me of some texan songwriters: Straight forward, honest and sometimes inconvenient. Let's hope that Young gets his well deserved attention. His fanbase is certainly growing with this album


to write a review

davide frascella

hard way to make a dollar

Just out last November 18th ”HARD WAY TO MAKE A DOLLAR”, the debut CD of a 53 guy called Robert L.Young, better known as BIG BOB YOUNG.
He was born in St.Louis, but raised first in Arkansas, then in Chicago; he has done so many jobs ranging from mechanic and clown to country bandleader and farrier, while being around the world as a soldier in the Air Force and touring in Iraq and in the National Guard awarded with a Bronze Star for his bravery.
Since his teenage years, Big Bob began writing songs based on blues, gospel, jazz and above all country music which shaped him particularly as a true man of great ethical values.
The album runs through ten pleasant tracks, easy listening but a high class product; as the GREEN COUNTRY STOMP suggests with its sonorities, the songs bring back the sounds of an AMERICA that has been able to renew, so easily and passionately, the different expressions of popular music in the HEARTLANDS, in Louisiana and all along the muddy waters of the Great River Road.
BIG BOB YOUNG songs are gathered and full of deep feelings, in the middle of the main themes, not only love, but everyday life, the life of the common people which hardly contend with any kind of problem; but above all the he realizes the true meaning of living one’s own life: the care of soul and the spirit, the memories, all the bad and the good ones, which have led him to go around the world, even in areas affected by war.
Harmonies ranging over genres, from blues to country, from gospel to old time, with influences of a vaudeville of the past times. Bob’s voice brings back great icons of that lively and passionate Nashville, sometimes resembling that of George Jones and Dave Dudley; the tone colour of his voice is soaked with the sounds gathered from the Mississippi banks. His talk about soul starts getting more serious, culminating in STAND UP, a song about the end of the world, and the judgment day, where he draws on a verse from the Gospel according to Luke, where he urges everybody to be on the lookout, and he says
‘Even now he stands ready gonna come and claim
His church come and claim his bride’.
All the musicians who have contributed to the production of the album are real talented professionals: the Bassist STICK DAVIS (ex AMZING RHYTHM ACES bassist), MICHAEL WEBB at the keyboards (who also played with GARY ALLAN,ALLISON MOORER and CHRIS KNIGHT), drummer RICK LONOW (ex POCO drummer), CARLTON MOODY guitarist and mandolinist of the BURRITO DELUXE, and finally another illustrious name, COLIN LINDEN, the highly regarded guitarist and dobro player of BRUCE COCKBURN.
Finally, there’s the touching memory of his father, raised in Arkansas and then moved to Chicago for his job, whose darker and bad times of life are told in two songs, “Bury me in Dixie” and “Ship of Fools”.
But our good BIG BOB, reaches the top with his sound and his voice with MISSISSIPPI NIGHTS, a song whose minutes are devoted to love, in a tight introspective tensions, so that everyone can be moved by memories: maybe those of the days spent with the lover, with blond hair and crystal blue eyes, when there was time for future promises and for making love on the banks of the river.

Davide Frascella