Bob Martin “Midwest Farm Disaster”

Midwest Farm Disaster

Bob Martin is a highly talented singer songwriter from Lowell, Massachusetts who released Midwest Farm Disaster in 1972. Martin is still making records today but this one is generally acknowledged as his masterpiece and is perhaps one of the finest singer songwriter albums ever recorded.

Martin’s voice is gravelly and weathered but soulful. Think of a strange Kevin Coyne, Van Morrison, and Bob Lind blend and you’d be right on target. The lyrics are top shelf too, the equal or better of most major or critically acclaimed artists out there. The album’s sound is very close to Gene Clark’s White Light or Bob Lind’s Since There Were Circles LP, a stark, beautiful blend of folk and country that reveals its depth with repeated listens. Each song has something new to offer, and Bob brings us into his working class world with great American stories about local drunks, small town farm life, hard times, prison convicts, and working on the mill.

“Blind Marie” is a moving singer songwriter track that sounds like a classic, it also happens to be the album’s most accessible song that should have gained Martin commercial notoriety. Tracks like the Woody Guthrie influenced “Third War Rag” and “Frog Dick, South Dakota” are coloured by a distinct sense of humor but are also packed with good, catchy melodies and wonderfully sarcastic lyrics. Other songs like the intense “Mill Town” and the title track are dark tales that relate to Bob’s earlier life on the farm and are superb examples of real Americana. The album ends with “Deer Island Prison,” which might be thought of as the album’s centerpiece. Martin turns in a stunning vocal and lyrical performance that must surely rank as one of the great, unsung confessionals.

This is an excellent and unforgettable LP full of rich drifter music and mandatory listening for those who are into deep, rustic singer songwriter albums. In 2007, Midwest Farm Disaster was reissued by Bob’s own Riversong Records and can be purchased on the CD Baby website.

“Deer Island Prison”

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:D CD Reissue | 2007 | RCA/Sony | Buy @ CDBaby ]
:) Original Vinyl | RCA | Search eBay ]

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  • Michael

    Look at that pig, it’s huge.

  • Jason

    It reminds me of Carlo’s Dad’s pot belly pig.

  • Richard Steward

    My God, I thought I would never hear this music again. I have been carrying these toons in my head since I bought hte album knew in ’72. Sang about Lonnie Taylor to myself jsut the other day. Thought for kicks I would see if there was any way to get the lyrics to some of the others after I spoke to a long lost friend. We used to carry a cassette around of the album so we could keep oursleves real in the this god forsaken junked up place they all america.

    Imagine my surprise when I found this page and read that the CD is out. Just bought it. Also surprsied to see that Bob is from Lowell, Massachusetts. I am a Gloucesterman, washed in to the Berkshire Hills by way of PA, NJ, CA and everything in between. I lost the album a million miles and a divorce back. I would love to meet Bob and tell him what his words and music have meant to me all these years, through all these places and jobs and people and hard and good times. Maybe

  • Brendan

    It might be easier than you think to get a chance to see Bob. Check out the schedule of his upcoming live shows on his official website:

  • Richard Steward

    Actually, I did find that. and found out he will be just down the road from me in one of my old haunts, Shelburne Falls. That’s in Franklin County where I lived for nearly 30 years until moving last year. I sent him an email and said I would be there on September 13. Might try to get a little east to Groton, too.

    Sent an email to my buddy in PA, too, the old friend I mentioned before.

    Just can’t tell you what this means to me. Like coming home.

  • A+, Five Stars!, Lost Classic!

    Thanks Jason & Brendan. I’ve really been loving this album.

  • Bobby

    What a great find! Thanks for the tip, really good stuff!

  • Pierre

    Hi !
    It’s the second album i buy after reading reviews on this site. Bob lind was the first and this one just comes after. My days are filled with listening to both of them !! “Midwest Farm Disaster” has the perfect feeling for that sad automn time of the year.I am a Van Morrison fan and i think i have, at last, found the album that can be put beside “Astral Weeks”
    Many thanks from France, where Americana can be appreciated too !!

  • Hello I absolutely love this album and own the original LP that spent a lot of time tracking down… does anyone know where I can get this in mp3 format? I am willing to pay for it but it is nowhere to be found I tried torrent sites filestube etc… to no avail. I know I’m walking a fine line on copyrighted material but I feel as though if I own the actual album it is not wrong to download since I have already paid for the music….anyway any help??????!!!!

  • Brendan

    Get it direct from Bob Martin and Riversong here:

  • Crow

    I had a friend who was a Vinyl record Collector that used to turn me into all walks of life in recording, and my curiosity pulled this record out of his library one day back in 1983, My. Friend went on to tell me everything you needed to know about Bob Martin- one notable fact was the “Pig” Bob was sitting on, that being one of the last” Byfield Pigs” in existence.-they are Now extinct.
    Bob Martin Produced one album every ten years. I think there is a total of Four albums now? And then, Maybe only three.. -A Master storyteller, a Kerouac Scolar, and one of Lowell’s True Sons.

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