Bob Livingston

Up the Flatland Stairs (Howlin' Dog)

Texas Platters

Bob Livingston helped define Austin's progressive country sound in the Seventies, but the Lost Gonzo Band co-founder has done his best work this century. On 2003's Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull and 2011's Gypsy Alibi, Livingston unrolled an increasingly eclectic and far-reaching sound while remaining true to his Lubbock songwriter roots and soothing tenor. The 17 tracks stomping Up the Flatland Stairs offer an impressive, if noncohesive collection of covers, co-writes, and originals. His ear for digging others' deep cuts exhumes Jerry Jeff Walker's "Shell Game" with a Dylan-esque harmonica at the outset, and cuts of David Halley's rocking "A Month of Somedays" and Walter Hyatt's swooning "The Early Days" shine. Gonzo Band classic "Public Domain" swings impeccably tight, but duets with Eliza Gilkyson ("That's the Way Things Go") and Kelley Mickwee ("Cowgirl's Lullaby") shade tenderly, and Bud Shrake piano ballad co-write "We Should Have Stayed" serves up a late-album highlight. Livingston's song instincts remain impeccable no matter the style.


The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Bob Livingston
Texas Platters
Bob Livingston
Gypsy Alibi (Record Review)

Margaret Moser, Feb. 18, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Doug Freeman
What We're Listening To Right Now
What We're Listening To Right Now
Kydd Jones, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Rose Sinclair, Carson McHone, and Berkshire Hounds

Jan. 21, 2022

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Mike & the Moonpies lead a stacked Sagebrush bill, plus Joey DeFrancesco, Destroyer of Light, the War on Drugs, Thor & Friends, and Clem Snide

Jan. 14, 2022


Bob Livingston

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle