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James "Buddy" Rogers - My Guitar's My Only Friend
Blue Wave Productions
10 songs; 35:19 minutes; Splendid
Styles: Modern Electric Blues, Rock and Roll
My radio partner, Shuffle Shoes, and I love a great instrumental to open our Saturday night “Friends of the Blues Radio Show,” and we have found one from Canada.
James "Buddy" Rogers' debut CD, My Guitar's My Only Friend has only one instrumental, and “Buddy’s Walk” simply smokes right out of the gate. This smile inducing mid-temposhuffle is led by Buddy’s tasty single note guitar licks setting the perfect mood for a Saturday night radio party.
During the second hour of the four-hour show, we like to play up-tempo songs and rock it up a little bit. Our second spin from the album was “Guitar Sue.” It is just good ole Rock and Roll and it’s hot like Chuck Berry. “Guitar Sue – put a guitar in her hands, and she sure knows what to do!”
Slated for a future spin is a jumping hop number, “Disappearing Baby Blues,” which has a guitar line reminiscent of “Bandstand Boogie,” the theme song to Dick Clark’s 1950’s “American Bandstand” television show. This is a fast paced, dance inducing track that will have feet scorching the dance floor. The lyrical story is a bummer (Your girl leaves the nightclub with some other guy), but the music is a treat. In the end, the experienced narrator offers some advice, just do some disappearing yourself. He says in the long run, it’s for the best.
The opener is the title track, and James quickly introduces us to his “only friend” - his impressive guitar licks showing an Albert King influence on this number. Other trips to the woodshed show up in subsequent numbers making it obvious that Rogers has had a long affair with his axe. His main influences on guitar are Johnny Watson, Jimmie Vaughan and the three Kings.
The CD features all original music with James "Buddy" Rogers on lead guitar and vocals, alternately Bill Hix and Ivan Duben on drums, Bill Runge and Tony Marryatt switch on bass, Mike Kalanj plays Hammond organ on six tracks, and producer and co-songwriter Tom Lavin plays rhythm guitar on all tracks and adds more here and there. Rogers’ vocals are serviceable but a little thin, lacking deeper baritone or bass ranges.
For Vancouver’s James “Buddy” Rogers, life as he knew it was inherently different after discovering the Blues. His dad brought home records and, one day, a guitar. By the time little Buddy was 10 he was lifting licks. By 11 he’d formed a band and started gigging. Within two years he was a regular at local Blues clubs. At 15 his band “Texas Storm” was being booked for opening concert slots. “My dad went to the liquor control board and got a license that he would take to bars so I could legally play there,” Rogers recalls in a press release.
At the age of 19 Rogers teamed up with former B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson and began a tour that lasted five years. Based in Kansas City, they played an endless string of clubs, concerts and festivals sharing the bill with Canned Heat, The Holmes Brothers, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal, Katie Webster and countless others. In 2000 Buddy started his own band and played Blues clubs across Canada and Europe.
James “Buddy” Rogers’ years of being a Blues road warrior have finally resulted in an album of which he can be proud. Expect more to come!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.