(Burnside Records 46)
by Gordon Baxter
Review date: March 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Although only in his early 20's, Clarence Bucaro has already assimilated a
wide range of musical knowledge. Starting with the blues, he then looked
beyond to other types of American music and then further still to Latin
America and Africa. "Sweet Corn," Bucaro's debut album, pulls together many
of these influences into a fairly unique style.
The album gets under way with "Gardens of Love" which provides a useful
introduction to the Bucaro way of doing things. The feel is somewhat
reminiscent of the lightness of touch found in bossa nova, although leaning
more towards jazz in tempo. After an African interlude with some Bhundu
Boys style jit jive ("I Am Just A Refugee") the Latin influence resurfaces
on "Streets of Juarez," whilst elsewhere a stronger jazz flavor (with the
emphasis on New Orleans) forms the backbone of "Sad Lament" and the
excellent "Down in New Orleans" where Brian Newman does a fine job on trumpet.
There is a country/old timey vein running through the album too. "Northern
Lights" and "Ol' Gutbucket" both rely heavily on the banjo for their sound.
The drawl that Bucaro adds to the vocals on the latter suggest that it may
be an old tune, but like most of the songs here it is a Bucaro original.
The only cover, in fact, is an a cappella version of "John The Revelator"
which is given an appropriately spiritual feel by Bucaro's delivery.
Naturally there is a blues element to the album too, which comes through
strongest on "Georgia Peach" and "Preacher's Daughter." The former mixes
and matches acoustic and electric patches to great effect, including some
neat twangy guitar, whilst the latter features some fine fingerpicking and
Elsewhere there is a pop feel to songs like "Sweet Lament" with its jangly
guitar sound, and heavy use of fiddle and what sounds like bowed double
bass. "These Tears" is in a similar vein, and even hints at Squeeze (UK) in
places, whilst the closer "Summer Here Inside" is another simple but
effective tune, based around acoustic guitar and piano.
"Sweet Corn" has a light airy feel permeating it, that hints at lazy summer
afternoons. It is this overarching feel that pulls together what is a
fairly eclectic album in terms of musical styles. Utilizing Anders Osborne
probably helped here, since Osborne is another who likes to incorporate a
range of influences in his own work; anyone who appreciates the work of
Martin Stephenson will find lots to enjoy here. "Sweet Corn" provides a
nice antidote to the long dark cold winter nights.
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