Homespun: Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost 

Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost
(Big Muddy Records)

You could staff an entire basketball league with the amount of local rock and folk musicians who have accompanied Bob Reuter over the years. In fact, the south-side denizen is the closest thing St. Louis has to a modern troubadour, a musician who teaches his collaborators as much as he draws from their talents. On Alley Ghost, members of the Rum Drum Ramblers, 7 Shot Screamers and Johnny O & the Jerks back Reuter with snare drum, banjo, upright bass and harmonica. The resulting songs are an inspired mix of young and old — Reuter sounds invigorated by his younger counterparts, and the young Alley Ghost stallions put their love of prewar music to good use. Certain tunes rely on well-worn folk-and-blues arrangements, while other songs capture the off-the-cuff feel of a guitar circle. The enthusiasm and soulful skill of the musicians lift these songs above the standard singer-songwriter fare and give wings to Reuter's lyrics, which remain (as always) funny, poignant, twisted and true. "Rock & Roll Moron" serves as a rallying cry for the music-scene lifers around town; on it, he sings, "You can't close the door on/this rock & roll moron." Thankfully, with the help of Alley Ghost, no one will be putting Reuter out to pasture anytime soon.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

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