Released around the same time that David Lynch’s acclaimed film Mulholland Drive came out, Blue Bob is a one-time collaboration between Lynch and his sound design friend and musician John Neff engaging in bizarre, electric blues-inspired jamming with a industrial/machinery aesthetic saturating the whole thing, literally (Check out the cover art, while keeping in mind Lynch’s frequent comments describing his inspirations from machinery and smoke). Blue Bob mostly showcases the effects-laden guitar work of both Lynch and Neff, with Lynch often providing most of the leads, along with hard-hitting drum machines, locked-in bass guitars, and the warped, distorted vocals of John Neff.
A couple of the tracks are quite goofy, such as the opener “911” and “Thank You, Judge”, but fortunately don’t overshadow the highlights of the album, such as “Go Get Some”, “Blue Horse”, “City of Dreams”, “Mountains Falling”, and “Rollin’ Down (To My House)”. The whole “industrial blues” aesthetic really comes to life on these highlights, mostly in the instrumental arrangements. The two sultry instrumental jams, “Blue Horse” and “Go Get Some”, showcase Lynch’s surprisingly capable guitar sensibilities. He doesn’t plays fast or flashy, but rather the opposite, oozing out slow, effects-saturated solos that go down deep and nasty, exactly what fans of his films and their composer Angelo Badalamenti would expect. The best part is, Lynch nails his own guitar sound almost too well, while sounding like he is barely trying. (Recent interviews have shown that Lynch is quite humble about his instrumental capabilities, and he doesn’t consider himself to be that great at all.)
It is a shame that this particular album has been very overlooked since its release, since for the past decade Lynch’s creative output has not been film, but music and painting, from writing a couple tracks for Inland Empire (2006) to releasing two solo albums in 2011 and 2013 (Crazy Clown Time and The Big Dream, respectively). The Blue Bob album should be viewed as a crucial moment in David Lynch’s musical career, since it marks his first appearance on actual instruments (It is important to note that Lynch had composed and recorded the Eraserhead (Lynch’s first full-length feature) soundtrack back in 1977 along with sound designer Alan Splet, where they pieced field recordings together to form the musique concrete collage that would serve as the score to the film).