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Blues Buddha - I Like It A Lot

Stoopid Daddy Records Ltd.


Upon receiving this record and seeing the moniker Blues Buddha that Tommy Dudley has adopted, as well as his hulking presence on the cover shot, I'm thinking here comes a half-baked novelty blues trip. Au contraire mon ami. When you pick a name like Blues Buddha, you better be good or be prepared to be laughed out of bluesville. Not much blues here per se, but just teaming with easy rolling r&b flavored goodness bolstered by the Buddha's hearty and pleasant pipes recalling the vibe of rockabilly crooner Sleepy LaBeef. I'm SO glad I like this CD, this guy could crush me like a grape.

The interchangeable cast of players provide a tight, solid groove. Nothing earth-shaking, they just know how to fill all the gaps. Keyboard player Scott Staton, the only constant throughout, is a boogie-woogie piano God. He also contributes capable organ when needed. Joe Piteo's shuffle-drumming on the lead-off track "Like I Do" portends the instrumental proficiency that is to follow. Various guitarists execute blues, blues-tinged or rockabilly-meets-blues riffs as required. Dudley's throaty but warm vocals carry off the songs right on the money.

All tunes are band originals that include some catch-phrase lyrics. "Take It To The Bank And Cash It" comes from "Break My Heart" that is kicked off with an intro stolen from Graham Parker's "Heat Treatment" and is used throughout the song to good effect. Buddha's theme song "Buddha Boogie" bounces along nicely, aided by more great shuffle-drumming, rockabilly guitar and boogie-woogie piano. Not the strongest thing here, but works as a theme song. The specter of Sleepy LaBeef appears in Buddha's voice and delivery on the slow-burner "Better At Hello", a lament a lover who has problems staying. "Give And Take" is a seamless r&b workout where the gritty vocals shine. The organ of Scott Staton takes a spotlight turn here too. It's only Buddha's voice backed by barroom boogie-woogie piano on "Trouble". Dang this guy can surely beat the crap out of the keys. A rushed beat provides the tension on the title track, an ode to his girl. The program closes out with the bluesiest song "Low Cotton", with only the backing of guitar, piano and harmonica. The slow blues bemoans his woman troubles to great effect.

It's a nice feeling when you get more than you bargained for. Barring a few minor flaws that can be addressed on the next effort, this Buddha is more fun than.........well......a barrel full of Buddhas. Better production can provide stronger backing vocals and a less artificial horn sound, but this is something I'll have no problem keeping on my stereo for a long time to come.

Reviewer Greg "Bluesdog" Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog's Doghouse at

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