|There have been many tributes to the late, great Jimi Hendrix. That is an undeniable fact. This newest tribute to the great American blues/rock statesman has a nice new spin. It is a collection of blues artists, with a few exceptions, presenting the songs of Hendrix from a distinctly blues point of view. A little bit fresh, really. The great thing about tribute albums is that many times you hear an artist you have never heard before, and perhaps it interests you enough to go out and learn more about that artist. I believe that there are a few such tracks on this tribute. |
We begin with Eric Bibb’s rendition of "Angel", which is one of the most beautiful of Jimi’s songs. This is a very simple vocal and piano arrangement, filled with enough dynamics to keep it interesting, and a bit of background vocals here and there. I have never heard Eric Bibb before, but I would like to hear more of his work. You know that "Who Knows" is going to be good, due to the caliber of the guitar players presenting the song. There are great call and response vocals, and some fantastic guitar work, as would be expected. "I Don’t Live Today" by Eric Burdon is a little bit different than I would have expected, not being familiar with much of his material apart from The Animals and War. Eric seems to approach this song with as much fervor and intensity as Jimi did. I am glad that we have artists of this caliber who still choose to take part in the music industry. Next up is Buddy Miles and Mark Leach backed by Double Trouble, doing "Wind Cries Mary", and it sends shivers up my spine. Buddy is renowned as a tremendous blues player, and with the fantastic rhythm section of Double Trouble, there is no doubt of the power and beauty of this version. The guitar and organ playing here is so true to the original, but so amazing in its own right. Jimi would be proud. Friend’n’Fellow presents their version of "Purple Haze"â€¦ I was set to be disappointed as this song began with acoustic guitar and drum machine. But the vocalist comes in and really adds some power to the song with her beautiful voice. From a personal level, I don’t really enjoy it, but it is very well done. I just think that this particular song exists for volume and electric guitar, and so it seems somewhat lacking to me. I would like to hear this group in a different venue, as I believe that they have a unique and wonderful sound. Walter Trout is all fine and well, but doing a cover of Jimi’s cover of the "Star Spangled Banner" is a little stupid to me. However, Trout redeems himself with a ripping version of "Hey Joe". It is true to the original Hendrix version, but Trout gets some wailing guitar tones. It is a very well done track, and the arrangement is very tight, much tighter than Jimi ever was with his band. The power of this song is preserved, and once again, I believe Jimi would be proud of this version of one of his finest songs. I recognize that Jimi Hendrix was very famous for his version of "All Along the Watchtower", but once again, it does not make much sense to me to hear someone cover a song that was a cover version anyway. But Taj Mahal has obviously assembled a fantastic band and does a great version of this classic song. The horn section is wonderful, and the groove is mellow with its own distinct character. I just think that this would be better suited to a Dylan tribute album. Michelle Shocked presents a very well put together version of "House Burning Down". Michelle shows a side of herself that is rarely seen, by presenting herself in a very bluesy, yet undoubtedly powerful way.
We move on to Eric Gales doing a fantastic version of "Voodoo Chile". Gales is pretty much the re-incarnation of Hendrix, and anyone familiar with his music, or that of the Gales Brothers, will agree with that sentiment. His guitar truly does justice to one of the most amazing Jimi songs here, even though the vocals lack a bit in both power and expressiveness. Bernard Allison presents a very delta-blues style acoustic rendition of "Hear My Train Comin". The guitar work is fantastic with the slide and picking style. What this track lacks in overall power compared to the original, it more than makes up for in its beauty and style. From the band Living Colour and his own solo material, Vernon Reid shows us that he is a very versatile artist, able to play the blues and slide guitar as well as shredding any heavier rock riffs. The vocalist, Michael Hill, is good, but initially this song makes me want to skip the track. Once the actual song kicks in it is a rewarding listen, and well worth the time spent to get to it. Reid has slowed the track down a bit and made it more traditional in its blues feel, but then launches into some very busy guitar work that does more to distract from the pleasantness of the rest of the track, but it is not distasteful by any measure. I have never heard of Ana Popovic before, but she presents an interesting version of "Belly Button Window". With its dueling electric and acoustic slide guitars, and her sultry voice, Popovic has recorded a version of a song that is full of an aching not often found in modern blues records. It is a very emotional and brilliant track. Alvin "Youngblood" Hart gives us a very hopping version of "Remember", not a huge departure from the original, but very nicely played out. There is some fantastic organ playing, and some great guitar solos. Aynsley Lister provides a good portion of the beauty to this record with his wonderful version of "Little Wing". It is played perfectly (better than Stevie Ray played it) and the vocals are more prominent than on any other version I have previously heard. This version of "Little Wing" comes across as very heartfelt, not only in the playing but the singing as well. The incidental noises in the recording make me believe that Lister was truly playing to his fullest potential on this tribute to a masterful songwriter and guitar player. Eric Burdon once more gives us a treat with his skewed version of "Third Stone From The Sun", which he mixes in with his own song, entitled "The Story Of Life." It is an interesting mix of poetry and musicianship that we are presented with here. Burdon wrote the liner notes for this record, and they are interesting, if short, from his perspective of actually being an acquaintance of Jimi. I think it is a great tribute that he was so involved in this project.
The thing most impressive to me about this tribute record is that many of the songs retain a good bit of the power that they had when Jimi was performing them. That is not an easy task to accomplish. Jimi Hendrix was all about the power of his music, and the vibe, and the animal spirit of rock and rollâ€¦ and I believe that this record has captured a good bit of that spirit.
Buddy Miles unleashes his new band:
The Blues Berries
By Don "T-Bone" Erickson
The Legendary Buddy Miles
Buddy Miles is back with a vengeance in a big way. Despite having played with some of the most respected names in the music business (Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Bloomfield, John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana, Muddy Waters, Jeff Berlin, Bootsy Collins), Buddy has had to endure the slings and arrows of overly harsh and shortsighted critics. He also claims injustices from record company moguls over the course of his career. All of this no doubt contributed to what had been some self-destructive behavior and negativity. Well, Mr. Miles is here to answer the negativity with a mindset and direction that is designed to wake the world up a bit.
Buddy and his band members have a fresh resolve to kick our collective asses with what they have to offer. I witnessed their coming-out party when they kicked off their tour in support of the newly released Blues Berries featuring Rocky Athas album, produced by the great Jim Gaines and released by Ruf Records. They mean business and shook the rafters and walls with some of the thickest sounding Funk I've ever heard. They are definitely rockin' their Blues and offer up no apologies. If you don't like it, Buddy will tell you exactly what you can do with your tired ass. This man is real to the core and he lays it all on the line, holding nothing back, whether it's during an interview or performing on stage. He is singing better than ever, sounding as soulful as anyone out there. He still thumps the drums with uncommon power and has pulled together a musical outfit that grooves so hard that it's scary and wonderful at the same time.
Buddy's band, The Blues Berries, features the guitar licks of Rocky Athas, who grew up with Stevie Ray Vaughan in Oak Cliff, Texas and very ably carries on the tradition of the Texas guitar slinger. (Double Trouble, SRV's old rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, play on the album that was actually recorded a couple years ago.) Mark Leach is the man behind the incredible sounds you hear from the Hammond B-3 organ. I've never seen anyone attack the B-3 with such verve and animated body language. This super-hip guy has great stage presence and really adds to the overall show. Robert Ware, who never detracts while locking in with Buddy's drums, handles the bass duties. The band seems to be pulling in the same direction, have genuine affection for each other and are producing an exciting brand of Blues-Rock that should elicit some raised eyebrows, as well as some raised fists.
Buddy had more than a few things to say to the world, as Rocky and Mark joined us for a little sit-down before their show. Following is a small portion of Buddy's impassioned plea to the world to understand what he is about and what drives him. He wants everybo
The Blues Berries
Buddy Miles, Mark Leach and Rocky Athas with Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, of Double Trouble and , Robert Ware _________________________________
Miles-o-philes should be ecstatic with this Jim Gaines produced release which stretches the boundaries of the blues. There are 10 tunes, including just a single cover. However, it seems odd that Miles gets top billing, as it is obvious this disc was a collaborated effort by the Blues Berries. In addition to Miles delivering tough vocals and bottom heavy drums, band members include: Chris Layton (drums), Tommy Shannon (bass), Rocky Athas (guitar), Mark Leach (B3/keyboards), Robert Ware (bass) and Gregg Diamond (acoustic guitar).
Athas grew up playing gigs with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Johnson. Rocky played finger-tapping guitar before Eddie Van Halen was commemorated as its founder. Athas' insatiable appetite for the glory of arena rock was whetted during his time with Lightning in the 70s and 80s. It was during this period that he initially crossed paths with Miles. The taste of the big time came when he joined Black Oak Arkansas. As drummer for Jimi Hendrix's legendary Band of Gypsies, Buddy Miles needs no introduction. He has also performed and recorded with Muddy Waters and Carlos Santana.
"Tobacco Road" features a slow, heavy groove with plenty of Buddy's screaming vocals. Augmenting them is Rocky's wailing guitar. Rock, soul and funk are fused with flair on the radio-friendly "Life Is What". This song demands airplay and so does, "Miss Suga' Fine" which hits you hard with power chording and muscle bound guitar. "Compassion For The Blues" is a slow blues with tenderness. Buddy Miles may well have compassion for the blues, but Rocky Athas has absolutely no mercy for his guitar strings.
Mark Leach adds finesse to the friction with his B3. "Come On Back" is sweet and sensual. "Texas Cannonball" is an explosive tribute to Freddie King. The fitting lyrics include: 'he played like thunder, greased lightning and all, a country boy from Texas that had it all.'
Based on the autobiographical and living-in-the-past lyrics to "Rock & Roll", Miles appears to be caught in a time warp. He reflects on the period when he first came to San Francisco after parting ways with Pickett. He depicts the era to a tee complete with references to Nick Gravenites, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick, the Fillmore, Electric Flag among many others. In fact, you can imagine Miles dreaming about the lyrics in the CD's pensive cover photo of him. If rock and roll is your native tongue and you are longing to return to your heritage, this CD is for you.
- Tim Holek - August 2002 Southwest Blues
"When Gravity Fails" Check out Muggie Doo on Neil Zaza's latest ALL STAR release along with:
Michael Anthony (Van Halen),
Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, Beck),
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater),
Steve Smith (Vital Information, Journey)
, T.M. Stevens (Miles Davis, James Brown, Billy Joel, Joe Cocker),
Garry "GMan" Sullivan (Bernie Worrell, The B52's),
Ross Valory (Journey)
Blues Wax Magazine
The Blues Berries kick out the jams, Well, well...Mr. Buddy Miles has put together a killer band and a tough sounding album. It's good to hear Buddy in a positive context where he should get some much overdue recognition and respect. After performing with a veritable 'who's who' earlier in his career (most notably Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix), his musical life since then has had more low points than high. So with that in mind, Miles is here to give notice that he is still a force to be reckoned with and has a band that stands up to most out there. With the Electric Flag and the Band Of Gypsys, Buddy was a big factor in the meshing of Rock with Blues, Funk, Soul and Gospel. The Blues Berries stir in the same kind of ingredients into their musical sauce. In simpler terms, they like to state that they are committed to rockin' the Blues. And rock it does. You wouldn't recognize the first track here if it weren't for the familiar lyrics of "Tobacco Road." I have heard so many different versions of the tune, but this one is the most unique and clearly shows the band's personality. It thumps along with a funky riff and beat and it's my favorite cut on the album. After this very strong start, the rest of the disc stands up well also. From the Texas-style shuffle of "Big Mama," to the slow and smooth Blues of "Compassion For The Blues," to the funky "Live Is What" with its catchy vocal hooks and guitar solo, to the introspective Gospel-flavored Soul ballad "Come On Back," to the tribute to Freddie King called "Texas Cannonball," to the hard Blues of "Miss Suga' Fine, the album contains solid singing and playing. Buddy's high, soulful voice is in fine form, but it sounded much stronger yet during the live show I just recently witnessed. This disc was actually recorded a couple years ago and these guys were more than ready to unleash this material on the world. You get the idea that guitarist Rocky Athas is like a shrewd and savvy gambler - never tipping his hand until the time is right. You know he can rip, but for the most part, he demonstrates the value of melody and feel.
Mark Leach is simply a monster on the Hammond B-3, sending chills, particularly on the slow Blues. The Double Trouble rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton was on board for these sessions, but they are not touring with Buddy. That's all right, because Buddy elicits some seriously "stanky" grooves on the drums and Robert Ware handles the bass very well on stage. Get a sweet taste of the Blues Berries with this disc, but hold on to your hat if you are fortunate to see them up close and personal. They'll grab a hold of you and give you a thick dose of medicine for what ails ya'.
Buddy Miles 'Berries' the Past, by Todd Seely
|Musical roots lead Mark Leach to tour with Buddy Miles Express |
|ELYRIA -- Life is one long song for Mark Leach. |
As keyboard player for the Buddy Miles Express, Leach of, Elyria, remembers playing ''When the Saints Go Marchin' In'' on his dad's Hammond organ at age 2.
Today, Leach, who goes by the stage name Muggie Doo, has toured the world performing, but calls the Lorain area his musical home.
A 1975 graduate of Brookside High School, Leach has played with Miles, the former drummer for Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies, since 1996.
But his musical roots go back to early childhood.
''My dad played organ. My mother was a professional singer. My grandmother had a big influence on my playing, too. She had a very unique, left-handed playing style and I learned a lot from her. She was organist and piano player at Wesley United Methodist Church in Lorain,'' said Leach.
Leach and his wife of six years, Karen, have three children, Kelsey, 7, Adam, 13, and Mark, 19.
''Our eldest, Mark, is stage manager for the band and Buddy's personal assistant. He plays guitar and he's into a little bit of everything musically,'' said Leach.
In his first year of high school, Leach switched from trumpet to organ, a move that came in handy several years later when he joined a 16-piece band in Lorain, the Fabulous Techniques.
''They hired me as a trumpet player. Then the organist left the band, but he left behind his organ. So, I started playing organ for them,'' said Leach, and recalled the early days of musical life in this area.
''In the 1970s, Lorain was full of incredibly good bands. It was a wasp's nest full of good players,'' said Leach.
''You could walk down 28th Street and hear a salsa band at one place and a soul group right next door,'' he said.
Leach said the greatest musical influence he ever had in his youth was when his grandmother took him backstage and introduced him to legendary composer and big band leader Duke Ellington, when he played a concert at Admiral King High School.
''I got a dose of some music that I never knew existed and I realized how primitive I was playing at that point,'' said Leach.
Although the Lorain area is his home base, when Leach was a young and struggling musician, cutting loose the apron strings and reaching for the stars was everything.
''My first big break was getting in a vehicle that left here,'' Leach said with a grin.
''At that time, that was my whole goal. Nobody believed you could get out of here and make it on your own. Finally, four of us from the Fabulous Techniques got a U-Haul trailer and moved to Florida. We had no bookings, no shows. We went there cold,'' said Leach.
They got work playing disco-flavored, KC and the Sunshine Band-type of music.
His musical evolution continued when he later joined a band featuring blues musicians Red Top and Robert Lockwood Jr.
''We named the group Little Big Man and played Holiday Inns and Ramadas until the early '80s,'' said Leach.
For the remainder of the '80s, Leach returned to Elyria and helped run a local nightclub called Stage Right and played in the house band, appropriately called the Right Stage Band.
But his desire was strong to get back into the swing of things and back on the road.
In 1993, Leach got word that Hendrix's brother, Riki, was scouting the Cleveland area for musicians to do a Band of Gypsies reunion tour and that they needed a keyboard player.
Riki Hendrix sent Leach a plane ticket to Pittsburgh, with instructions to pick up Miles, rent a car and drive Miles back to Cleveland for rehearsals.
''Buddy is the closest thing I've seen to a Lorainite. He's like someone I always knew growing up here. He spent some time at my place and we went to jam nights at the Warehouse in Elyria,'' said Leach. After the reunion tour, Miles asked Leach to join the Express.
''My opening day with the Express was at the House of Blues in Chicago,'' said Leach.
''Since then, I've toured Europe several times with the Express and we play 48 states a year. He made me his business partner about four years ago,'' said Leach.
Miles, reached at his home in Dallas, said Leach's musical recognition ''is way beyond overdue.''
''Mark is not only my best friend, he's most definitely one of the foremost keyboard players in the U.S.,'' said Miles, adding that, ''If he wanted me to, I'd hop in a rickshaw and come up to Lorain and play polkas with him.''
This weekend, Leach and Miles are in Seattle performing a musical tribute to Hendrix, who would have been 60 on Nov. 27.
When Leach is home, he can be found jamming away at local blues clubs, like Pepper Red's in Lorain.
Even when he is on the other side of the world being famous and playing music, his heart stays put in Lorain.
''I can't say I don't love the notoriety of it all,'' said Leach. ''But I like to come back to my own little neighborhood and get the wrenches out and work on the old cars, chase my wife around the house and play with my kids.''
His advice to aspiring musicians comes directly from what his grandmother once told him.
''She told me, Whatever you think it's going to take to get to your goal, right now is a good time to start doing twice that,''' said Leach
Buddy Miles has never been an easy artist to categorize. Is he is a rocker, a bluesman, or a soulster? Truth be told, he is all of those things rolled into one; over the years, his work has been influenced by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Muddy Waters to James Brown and Sly Stone. Recorded in Texas in 2000, Blues Berries is primarily an album of blues-rock with soul and funk references. Miles was 53 at the time, and the veteran singer/drummer is very much on top of his game on sweaty offerings like "Bayou Delta," "Compassion for the Blues," and "Texas Cannonball" (an ode to the late Freddie King). The impressive band that Miles leads, the Blues Berries, is quite mindful of the Texas blues and blues-rock traditions ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âť fans of King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, and Johnny Winter should have no problem getting into either the original material or an inspired performance of the standard "Tobacco Road." But at the same time, Miles and the Blues Berries do not escape the influence of Chicago blues. Mark Leach's soulful Hammond B3 work throuout the CD is inspiring and on cuts like "Compassion for the Blues" and "Big Mama" is downright earth shaking. The soul elements are especially strong on "Come on Back," which combines rock with a strong appreciation of Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, and the Stax Records/Southern soul sound of the '60s. Back in the '60s, "Come on Back" probably would have been too rock-minded for most R&B stations in the U.S. ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âť even so, it's a great soul/rock track that recalls a time when a lot of Ike and Tina Turner and Sly & the Family Stone fans were also Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix fans. Blues Berries is not recommended to blues purists, but this excellent CD offers considerable rewards to those who hold rock, soul, and the blues in equally high regard.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âť Alex Henderson
The life of Buddy Miles has seen more ups and downs than... but he is back riding high with his new release 'Blues Berries'. The disc is a return to the rock, funk and soul stew that Buddy is famous for.
Recent efforts like 'Miles Away From Home' strayed a little too far away from the blues, but 'Blues Berries' finds Buddy with his irons firmly in the fire. Sneaking up on you, right out of the starting gate, is a funk-infused
version of "Tobacco Road". This will apparently not be any standard 12-bar
blues and shuffle exercise, as the rest of the album proceeds to prove. By
the time Buddy reaches the end of the nine-and-a-half minute emotional
marathon that is "Compassion For The Blues", he'll have everyone reaching
for a Kleenex and crying in their beer. He also struts out two of the
latest loves of his life, "Big Mama" and "Miss Suga' Fine". The ladies
carry a lot of weight, "Miss Suga' Fine" being the heavier of the two.
There's also a taste of Louisiana in "Bayou Delta" and an acoustic stopover,
where Buddy and his gang pay a visit "Down At The Crossroads". Buddy's
gang, by the way, includes some old friends to this listener's ears. First
off, there's Rocky Athas. A legend in Blues-rock circles, Rocky is the
perfect foil to Buddy's Funk and Soul tendencies. Much like baseball's
great "Babe" Ruth, Rocky seems able to take aim with his Strat, then swat
riffs and licks at will. Holding down the beat with Buddy is Chris Layton.
Are these two gentlemen playing drums or pounding tent stakes into the
ground? The drums are that powerful. Flying below the radar are bassists
Tommy Shannon and Robert Ware, laying a throbbing foundation for the others.
Layton and Shannon, remember, are better known as Double Trouble. They
prove that here, kicking dirt and attitude around over the course of these
songs. Tying the whole package together is the B-3 keyboard tapestry that
Mark Leach weaves in and around the songs. In the end, it all boils down to
a great album from a band of gypsys, if you will. They're all at the top of
their game, and they have met at a crossroads, where the Blues Berries grow
plump and sweet. Stop. Sit a spell. Have a taste.
Buddy Miles. What can I say? The man is a legend and has played with some of the best bluesmen ever, including Muddy Waters, Mike Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix. With credentials like that the listener shouldn't have to work too hard to enjoy the music.
The Blues Berries crank up the funk on the opening track, a fantastic version of The Nashville Teens Tobacco Road. Miles' voice is in top form and guitarist Rocky Athas gives a hint of why he was one of the 'Texas Tornadoes' (the top 10 guitarists in Texas - an elite group that includes Billy Gibbons and Johnny Winter). One of Athas' contemporaries was Stevie Ray Vaughn and it is his former Double Trouble rhythm section Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon that provide the drive for the album. This is particularly shown in Big Mama, a shuffling blues that Stevie Ray would have been proud of. Compassion For The Blues is a nine-minute treat with a fantastic one-minute guitar intro. Buddy's voice is so mournful that you feel his pain with him.
Most of the songs on this excellent return to form are solidly in the blues storytelling tradition, none more so than Rock & Roll - a Robert Cray style smoothie. Texas Cannonball is a good old down to earth rocker and I love Mark Leach's keyboards - very Hammond organ. Bayou Delta starts off as a rocker, loses it for a moment and then returns to a groove to die for and Miss Suga' Fine takes us back to the rockier side of things with Athas again proving his virtuosity. Down At The Crossroads finishes the album in fine style with Gregg Diamond getting in on the act with some neat acoustic guitar work. All in all, this is a very good album and should put Buddy Miles' name back on many people's lips.
RUF Records (RUF 1053)
by Gordon Baxter
Review date: November 2000
1999 KBA Award Winner
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
Thirty years after the death of Jimi Hendrix, RUF records have assembled a range of artists to pay their own tribute by re-recording some of the Hendrix repertoire. Most of the artists will be familiar to blues fans, but there a few interlopers, and a few new names too.
Hendrix has inspired a lot of people over the years, and many of the songs he recorded cannot be bettered. This is reflected in several places here, with a number of artists going for a pretty straight cover version of the Hendrix version. Walter Trout, for example, does a good take of "Hey Joe" with The Free Radicals, and of "Who Knows" in tandem with Popa Chubby and Jimmy Thackery.
The most poignant track is "The Wind Cries Mary." Although pretty similar to the original, it pairs together Buddy Miles (drummer with the Band of Gypsies)And co bandleader/organist Mark Leach with SRV's band (Double Trouble). The best tracks, though, are those where the spirit of the songs have been used to create a new version without straying outside of the blues genre. In this respect the slightly funky version of "All Along The Watchtower" (Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band), the excellent revamp of "Remember" (Alvin Youngblood Hart), and the basic--piano and vocals --interpretation of "Angel" (Eric Bibb) all elevate things to a higher plane.
The interloper is Michelle Shocked, who serves up a decent version of "House Burning Down", whilst the new names include Friend 'n' Fellow who cover "Purple Haze" using a programmed drum beat, which never quite works. The oldest name here is probably Eric Burdon, who chips in with three tracks: an overlong rendition of "I Don't Live Today," and the closing segue of "Third Stone From The Sun/The Story of Life" which rounds things off quite nicely.
Like many tribute albums, "Blue Haze" is something of a mixed bag. The best bits are very good, and the straight reworkings are mostly fine, but as an introduction to Hendrix's music you are probably better off looking elsewhere. If you want to hear the likes of Buddy Miles and Walter Trout paying their dues, however, then this on will be for you, so check out the details at www.rufrecords.de.
Reviewer: A music fan
It's hard to pick a favorite track on this one. It starts out with an almost unrecognizeable cover of Tobacco Road, which is a good thing. It is the most unique & "funky" version I've heard. Very strong and gritty. Then it goes into Big Mama, & Compassion for The Blues which are solid old school blues songs kicked up with some ripping Texas blues guitar licks. Life is What You Make It is a VERY catchy uplifting tune that you will be humming long after it's finished. Tracks 5 & 6 show a catchy smooth blues and Gospel kinda feel. However Texas Canonball (about Freddie King) is one of my favorites... very catchy. Miss Suga Fine has a pounding rhythm. Buddy's vocals & drummer are superb on the whole CD. The bass line is steady and solid, keys are definitive and you can't imagine any tracks without it. The guitar on this is unmistakeably Texas Blues with a rock 'n roll flare. This band is one solid force and it shows in every song. I think it's one you will be playing over and over and louder and louder!!
The Bluesberries before an Iowa Concert 2002
- The Buddy Holly Story (1978) .... Tour musician
- "Playboy After Dark"
- Episode #1.16 (1969) TV Episode (as Buddy Miles Express) .... Singer
- 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee (1969) (TV) (as Buddy Miles Express)
- Remember the Titans (2000) (song "Them Changes") (as George Buddy Miles)
- Hendrix: Band of Gypsys (1999) (V) (song "Changes")