A pair of tickets for Buddy Miles...Saturday, Jan.13th at 9:30pm...go to the first three callers. You're a winner. COOL !! Thanks Lolly Obeda (Sugar Shack) / KFAI radio and thank you Cabooze.
A little internet search on Buddy Miles...Wow !! This guy has quite a resume !! At the age of twelve, he started drumming in his dad's band, a jazz influenced combo called The Bebops. Next , he did time with Ruby & the Romantics, The Delophonics, The Ink Spots and the wicked one himself...Wilson Pickett. Mike Bloomfield asked for and received Buddy's skills for his blues-rock band, The Electric Flag. Fifteen months later The Buddy Miles Express emerged, cutting several successful albums including "Expressway To Your Skull" and "Electric Church" (produced by Jimi Hendrix). The Buddy Miles Express toured extensively, headlining all over the globe and also opening for Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc. During this time Buddy also did some recording, playing on Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland" and Muddy Water's "Fathers And Sons" albums. 1969 saw Miles, Hendrix and bass man, Billy Cox create Band Of Gypsies...record one album...then Hendrix's unfortunate death. Miles reformed The Buddy Miles Express and recorded the legendary album, "Them Changes." 1979 saw Miles beginning a four year gig, as the lead singer, with Carlos Santana. On a lighter side, in 1986, enter The California Raisins..."I Heard It Through The Grapevine"...the most successful commercial in TV history...leading to three albums under The California Raisins name. 1992 / "Hardware-Third Eye Open"...1993 / "I don't Live For Today"...1994 / "Hell And Back"...1997 / "The Best Of Buddy Miles"...With a career spanning over thirty years, generating over forty albums, six world tours and the recent recipient of the Blues Aid award, my man has kept him self occupied !!
Should be an awesome night...lets get to it !!
I got to the Cabooze about 8:15pm for a 9:30pm show. The usual twenty-five to fifty people are here early, to get their seats of choice. I score a table to the right of the stage, just behind the sound board. My son, Mick joined me on this outing and as we are hanging out, I struck up a conversation with Rik and Scott, who both work for Disc Jockey. Rik is a huge Buddy Miles fan and is after an autograph on a couple of albums. He tells me this story about Miles playing with the Monkees in Dec of '68..."33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee" (video / Rhino ??) I want to met the man also !! I talk to a security girl, Koral who very graciously points me to the boss, John who checks it out with Buddy's road manager, Chealsea. It's a go and I'm in the bus talking to Mr. Buddy Miles. How cool is this !! I score his autograph and talk for a minute. Buddy is laying down, I don't want to make a pest of myself so I cut out. I need to this mention right now... what we have here blues fans, is a group of extremely cordial pe ople. Chealsea (Buddy's daughter) is more than polite and helpful in answering any questions I have during the performance. I talk with other members of the Express and ditto...the same friendly response. This sets the tone for the rest of my evening.
9:30pm and out come the Express: Keyboards/Organ, Mark Leach...Guitar, Curtis Leonard...Bass, Dave Blackerby...Sax, Patrick Gage and backup drummer, Big Will. Each member does a little warm up of his own during a great instrumental introduction to the big man himself self, Buddy Miles...9:37pm and the trains off and running !!...Buddy makes his entrance, with the aid of a wheelchair, accompanied by his nephew / personal manger Tony Miles. ( Buddy took a spill at the airport in New York, about a year ago leaving him with two ruptured discs and a dislocated shoulder). Out of the chair and on to the stage...he's behind his drum kit..."Hello Minneapolis, did you have a good new year?''...the crowd returns a positive response with arms in the air. This is the first of an ongoing call and response with his fans. Buddy is one of the most audience friendly musicians I've witnessed. "How about a Bobby Dylan song?" and he's jamming to "All along the Watch Tower." It's almost a full house and the crowd's starting to press the center stage / 'Cabooze Style'. Buddy exclaims "we are true Funk - A - Teers !!"
The Express is a tight band executing a number of great guitar solos / great sax solos / tight bass and organ work and an excellent job buy the back up drummer, Big Will. This is beginning to feel like an early seventies flashback...do I smell incense ?? "Dreaming" and Bobby Womack's "Stop On By" have a young man, standing on the outer edge of the crowd jamming to the rhythms. Half way through the first set Buddy turns over the drumming to Big Will...grabs a chair out front and is working the crowd, shaking hands, laughing, and into... Aaron Neville's "Tell It Like It Is"...(SWEET !!)... "How about some Jimi !!" (we hear this chant all night) leads us into Hendrix's "Hey Joe" and "Little Wing". I ask one of Buddy’s entourage, " Is he as nice in person as he seems on stage?" He answers me with "Yes, he really is." The set ends at 11:00pm to a now full house of fans ranging in age from twenty one to fifty plus.
During the break, Chealsea informs me about Buddy's upcoming (Feb...March) release "Bluesberries". It was recorded at Willie Nelsons studio in Austin, TX. The CD was mixed by Jim Gaines with Rocky Athis, Tommy Shannon, Chris Latham and Mark Leach sporting their talents on this one. ALSO representatives for D'Angelo and Prince are here to see Buddy. (Prince MIGHT show up ...not tonight, we found out later).
It's 11:30pm and Buddy breaks it all loose with "Them Changes" mixing it up with Bobby Bland's "Turn On You Love Light" ...The Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose's "Treat Her Like A Lady"...Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Sly Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher." The crowd is now going nuts, with arms in air and heads 'Just - A - Bobbing' to the rhythms. Buddy's out front again, guitar in hand (a lefty...how about that) and is doing a Hendrix inspired "Miss Suga' Fine", that he wrote about his wife Sherrilae. Next a blues (the only one of the evening) and a fan, Billy says simply "Isn't this great?" Yes indeed, this is great !!
All good things must end and sadly enough, this show follows suit. Buddy starts "the beginning of the end" buy acknowledging the Minneapolis music scene. He hits home buy bringing to the stage two local musicians: Cleo Patric on guitar (another lefty) and George Moye on bass. They dive into the Neil Young / Crazy Horse tune "Down By The River" and at 12:45pm, the big guy ends it all with Sly Stone's "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin" mixed with Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally"
Check this out...the guy has to get around in a wheel chair and has just played his heart out for three hours...he doesn't just go back to the bus to crash... he goes to the rear of the Cabooze to have his picture taken with his fans... It blew me away !! This guy's a 'for real' trouper !! Do yourself a favor = the next time the Express makes a 'whistle stop' in our Twin Town...get on board...you will enjoy the trip. Hey man… do you smell that incense...
This review is copyright © 2001 by Al Rohweder, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.