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ROBERT CARUSO - BORN TO MAKE YOU CRY (slideshow version, alternate mix)
ROCK'N'ROLL'S BEST-KEPT SECRET
(by Russ Hoffmann)
Robert Caruso is a singer-songwriter-guitarist from London, UK. He started in Italy in his early teens as Rob Leer (& The Electric Kids). From the beginning he performed original material, rooted in the Blues, '50s Rock'n'Roll, '60s classics like The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, and Punk Rock like Johnny Thunders, Ramones and Sex Pistols. Starting from his hometown of Cosenza in South Italy, he moved first to Rome and then to London. He toured all over Italy and his early material was collected on the album Rob Leer & The Electric Kids. He appeared on numerous TV and radio programs, and in the film 'Primi Amori' by Mimmo Rafele (RAI, Italy, 1984). 3 documentaries about him were broadcast on Italian TV while Robert was still a teenager.
Robert, although still in his teens, moved to London for good, befriending ex-Velvet Underground Nico and Johnny Thunders. After The Electric Kids split up, he started performing under his real name, mostly solo and acoustic, playing Dobro slide guitar and rack-harmonica. He recorded two self-produced albums sold as cassettes in the 1990s and signed with Acetone Records, recording the acoustic album When My Train Comes in which his previous Rock style met the Mississippi Delta Blues tradition. During the '90s Robert toured constantly all over Britain and in France, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Italy and the US. He received rave reviews in the music press for his live performances. He often played as opening act for Rock acts like Johnny Thunders, Steve Marriott, Wilko Johnson, Alan Vega, and American bluesmen such as Ray Charles, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Louisiana Red and many others in London's clubs and Blues Festivals throughout Europe. Later Robert had a break from "life on the road" and obtained a BA and MA in Philosophy and English literary studies from University College London and wrote two poetry collections: 'Transcendence' (2003) and 'Sublimations' (2005) plus translations of 19th century Italian Romantic literature into English (and vice versa) which circulated in limited editions in the academic world.
In 2009-2017 Robert performed regularly in London and abroad and got some great reviews, with some writers hailing him as 'The King Of Rock&Roll". Robert sang with The Yardbirds who considered him as a possible front-man, and also with Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana from Elvis Presley's original band.
In late 2013 his best, most recent recordings came out on the album The Best-kept Secret In Rock'n'Roll, an epithet given by journalists. His "records" are released as downloads on iTunes and all other major digital music distributors, and as physical CDs on Amazon.com. His recordings and live repertoire contain much variety. In particular Indian Summer, Red Pills, Nobody's Girl, I Don't Want To Fall In Love With You, You're Doing Nothing Now, Days Of Wine And Roses, Lisa, Rebel, Nowhere Fast, Diabolical, Real Cool Cat and She Makes Me Feel Like I'm Dying became popular with digital radio listeners on the Internet worldwide. Robert kept performing live in London, often solo, and abroad with his 3-piece backing band The Shades. His singles so far are: Red Pills (03/2013) Sugar Baby Doll (08/2013) When I Drink My Pint (12/2013) Get Crazy (02/2014) I Don't Want To Fall In Love With You (06/2014) Nobody's Girl (09/2014) You're Driving Me Insane (02/2015) Sooner Or Later (05/15) Shallow (07/2015) Nowhere Fast (10/15) Diabolical (06/2016) Burn Baby Burn (02/2017) Real Cool Cat (05/2017), the EP Heroin (08/2017), Amsterdam (11/2018) and Born To Make You Cry (11/2019).
His albums The Best-kept Secret In Rock'n'Roll (11/2013), Love And Death (10/2014, which includes Boulevard Of Broken Dreams originally written for Nico, who passed away before she could record it) and Three Minutes To Midnight (09/2016) are available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify, etc.. and as CDs on amazon.com. All three albums are in "video format" and can be watched as films that include all of the albums' songs, something that no other artist has done to date; with several other videos (such as his unreleased cover of The Yardbirds' Heart Full Of Soul), they can be watched on YouTube's Robert Caruso (Official) channel. On his albums Robert usually plays all instruments and produces them too. The first cover he ever released, Heroin by Lou Reed/The Velvet Underground, was released on CD as an EP in January 2018. It was followed by his cover of Belgian "chansonnier" Jacques Brel's Amsterdam (11/2018), with English lyrics translated from the original French lyrics by Robert himself (rather than the Mort Shuman lyrics previously used by Scott Walker and David Bowie). His latest single is Born To Make You Cry - released on November 1st, 2019. A "preview" of Born To Make You Cry on ReverbNation got to #3 in their charts for UK Indie Rock in October 2019.
Robert's following is always growing, with the recognition as a compelling and charismatic live performer and his originality as songwriter and guitarist with an extensive and varied repertoire which combine supersonic Rock&Roll with lyrics about a desire for transcendence through love, drugs and spirituality. Some critics wrote of Robert Caruso as an iconic Rock'n'Roll performer for the 21th century: a streetwise, "cool" attitude that goes back to '50s Rockers and Punk Rock, using influences from the Blues, early Rock'n'Roll, the 1960s, Garage Rock, Funk and Post-Punk with a "Pop sensibility" and lyrics which include "torch songs", Gothic imagery and sometimes a "social commentary", with a sound characterized by his "buzzsaw guitar", metronome-like drums and funky basslines. Likewise his look made of black leather, shades, cowboy shirts and iconic instruments like his Vox Teardrop guitar and '60s Vox organ has its roots in the best Rock'n'Roll tradition.
Some writers described him as a bona-fide visionary artist; with professional management and the right industry support his chances to obtain mainstream success would be assured.
There is a Robert Caruso (Official) channel on YouTube and Pages on Facebook, ReverbNation, Twitter, Soundcloud, LinkedIn, Parteon, Tradiio, MySpace and internet digital radios like Jango and last.fm.