Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band (Bonus Tracks Version)
Encouraged by veteran producer Hal Willner to have his songs worked out by an impressive cast of musicians, actor Tim Robbins delivers on the promise that was suggested with his appearance in the film Bob Roberts. Robbins isn’t a great singer. He mumbles like Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on “Book of Josie” and sounds like Bob Dylan’s understudy on “You’re My Dare.” But the earthy, unpretentious vocals matched with the impeccable playing of Rory McFarlane, Andy Newmark, Kate St. John, and others makes this album quite a treat in the Springsteen-Mellencamp-Earle world of roots rock. “Lightning Calls,” written in tribute to Nelson Mandela, is a chilling work and the tough blues-rock of “Time to Kill” is genuine and heartfelt. Robbins can’t help but sound like a Springsteen knock-off on tracks such as “Toledo Girl” and “Crush On You” (note: not the Springsteen song). The covers, of Warren Zevon’s “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” and the Pogues’ “If I Should Fall From Grace With God,” are spare and effective, with smart and sensitive production from Willner.