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CD Review
Mojo Buford
"Home Is Where My Harps Is"
Blue Loon 032
by Ann Wickstrom annw@osas.com
No, it's not a typo. If you know former Muddy Waters sideman Mojo Buford, this is a perfectly fitting title for his third Blue Loon release. All tunes were recorded at New Moon Studio in Mpls., half with the Senders and half with Curtis Blake, several members of the Rough Cuts, and Mike "Hook" Deutsch.

Mojo wrote all but two of the thirteen songs, from the Hooker-influenced opener, "Mo's Boogie", to the swingin' "Harp Breaker". The lyrics are classic Mojo, enough to crack up anyone who's listened to their share of ol' time style blues vocals. In the fifth track, he sings "You can steal my chickens, but you sho can't make 'em lay; you can steal my woman, but you sure can't make her stay." Or how about this one: "We gonna boogie 'til my hair turn wet."

Mojo's harp sounds particularly sweet and catchy when paired with Curtis Blake's. Dave "Cool Breeze" Brown does a sweet, T-Bone style guitar solo on "Cool & Mo Better Blues", Mark Asche is his usual "bad" self throughout on piano, and Bill Black lays down a very funky bass solo on "I Want You To Be My Girl". It is the tracks with Blake and the Roughcuts that stand out, however. Blake's engaging harp lines actually bring to mind a visual of squawking, pecking chickens on "You Can Steal My Chicken". Dan Schwalbe's guitar playing is mighty tasty on all tracks, but is especially ear-catching on "Memphis Bound".

On a personal note, Mojo recently returned from a tour with James Cotton. Shortly after he got home, I happened to be throwing a party that featured a jam with some local blues musicians. Imagine my delight when Mojo strolled up! He graciously entertained my friends and neighbors for over an hour, always flashing that broad smile and expecting nothing in return. I'll always be grateful for that memory, and all local blues fans should be grateful that when he's not on the road, Mojo Buford's harps is right here in Minneapolis.

This review is copyright 1998 by Ann Wickstrom, all rights reserved.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright 1998 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved.