A musical celebration of one of Turbula's own
Reviewed June 2009
Goldmine: The Songs of Buddy Blue
By various artists
Annie Marshall Music: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its CDBaby.com entry.
San Diego’s Buddy Blue (who was a longtime contributor to these pages under his birth name of Buddy Seigal) may have passed from our midst in 2006, but his musical legacy is alive and well on "Goldmine: The Songs of Buddy Blue."
A group of friends from his website bulletin board organized after his passing and created this independently produced disc of covers of his compositions. Proceeds from sales of "Goldmine" will go to a fund for Buddy's young daughter Lulu's education. The producer is a friend, Lance Richardson, a newcomer to the music business, who collected the music and recruited local studio whiz Sven-Erik Seaholm to handle mixing and engineering. Other members of the bulletin board contributed in putting the disc and artwork together.
The roots-rocker and jump bluesman was a member of the original Beat Farmers in the early to mid-'80s, the Jacks, his own bands in the 1990s and more recently, before reuniting with surviving members of the Beat Farmers for "Loaded" in 2005 as The Farmers. He was also active in the San Diego roots music scene, playing on and producing music for many artists. He was a professional music journalist who was published in a number of newspapers in addition to allowing Turbula to republish his works.
The music on "Golmine" is as diverse as the geographic locales of the participating artists, with five of the eighteen cuts from Europe, and another six from U.S. artists outside the San Diego area. Appropriately for a musician whose career was as eclectic as Buddy's, the music here varies from bluegrass to jump blues to country rock and most forms in-between. The overall theme is one of having fun and enjoying the music of an underappreciated musical genius.
A listen to the songs:
"Glad 'n' Greasy": The Farmers have continued on as a trio after Buddy's passing, and their contribution is a cover of this tune from the great 1986 Beat Farmers EP of the same name. This tune is faithful to the original, but with a hard rock edge.
"Pretend It's Okay": The Crawfish Kings from Finland give this tune a zydeco feel, with some wicked lap steel touches by Jo Buddy. The vocal has a zany affectation that works well with the lyrics about a stolen election.
"Goldmine": B.S.O.R.E.'s contribution, from Scotland, is a hard-rocking version with Richie "Hippo" Evans' powerful vocal. Good drums and a hot guitar solo give this rockabilly tune a straight rock treatment.
"Can You Feel It": Scotland's Lazarenkos have a country-influenced sound that echoes the original Beat Farmers, with some mandolin flourishes, whistling and standup bass. The song has a nostalgic feel, and was originally from the "Jacks are Wild" disc.
"Blind Monkeys": The band Polltax from Germany turns in a hard-charging rocker with some punk attitude. The calm verses give way to hard-hitting, power chord choruses.
"Baby's Got the Blues": Things quiet down as former Buddy Blues Band vocalist Romy Kaye delivers this tune from New Orleans with a bluesy treatment, sounding like she's in a Bourbon Street club. She makes this "Dive Bar Casanovas" song all her own with a sultry vocal. One of the disc highlights.
"Drunk Again": The Spicious Brothers from Oregon give this song a homespun approach that includes tradeoff vocals, impressive country licks, and sharp lap steel playing.
"Guido Suit": A power-trio version of this rocker from "Pretend It's Okay," by San Diego's butterFace, with plenty of slide guitar. Former Buddy Blue Band member Jerry Rig plays sings and plays guitar.
"Lost Weekend": The Hooverville Rounders play this bluegrass adaptation of Buddy's tune another example of the eclectic styles that his music touched, from punk to country to jazz. The song sounds as if it were written for banjo and acoustic guitar.
"Missing You": Sven Erik Seaholm gives this "Jacks Are Wild" and "Dipsomania" tune a beautiful production in another highlight. The vocals are pristine, soaring above organ crescendos and a background vocal chorus that bring to mind the golden age of the Rascals.
"Upsettin' Me": Another "Dipsomania" song (although it first appeared on 1991's "Guttersnipes 'n' Zealots"), from Finland's Jemmarians, backing singer/keyboardist Wiley Cousins in a down-and-dirty rendition of this blues tune. Marko Aho takes a tasty guitar solo.
"Buddy Blue Up and Died": Rick Wilkins, a former Buddy Blue Band guitarist and co-designer of the tribute disc artwork, wrote this tune for Buddy, sings and plays all of the instruments. The personal moments will bring a smile, while the sound will recall the original Beat Farmers.
"Brujo": Pete C. Wagner from Maryland gives this "Loaded" nugget a dark, smoky reading. Pete sings and plays all the instruments. This tune originally was written by Buddy for Screaming Jay Hawkins.
"Right Cross, Left Hook": This lively jump blues by San Diego's Dirty Andersons recalls the discs Buddy recorded in the early '90s. The original is on 1995's "Dive Bar Casanovas."
"Lonesome Hound": Phoenix' Psychedelic Mooj gives Buddy's trademark tune a late-'60s flashback. There is plenty of echo, layered guitars, and lengthy, freaky instrumental coda at the end.
"Seven Year Blues": JoeBidnessSuit from the Bay Area takes a slowed-down, folk ballad approach to this "Van Go" tune, with the poignant lyrics having new importance. The song has more impact and still retains its catchy melody.
"Gun Sale at the Church:" One of Buddy's most popular tunes (also originally appearing on "Van Go"), given a country-rock swagger by the Taylor Harvey Band, roadhouse style. Nice slide solo by Tim Edwards.
"Bye Bye Buddy Blue": Gregory Page says farewell with an adaptation of "Bye Bye Blues" from the 1930s, with some help from local music archivist (and longtime Buddy pal) Lou Curtiss.
"Goldmine" is a satisfying collection of good-time music. The pacing and production by Seaholm is superb. There is plenty of rocking, lots of guitar, and more importantly a mixture of styles that keeps the music fresh and entertaining throughout. For those familiar with Buddy's music, there are new takes on some of his best known songs and some chestnuts that few fans hear. For those unfamiliar, this is an ideal opportunity to catch a glimpse of the music of a superb songwriter as interpreted by his friends, each song performed very well. A "Goldmine" not to be missed by lovers of good music.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.