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CD Reviews  Buddaheads Real


The Buddaheads, Featuring BB Chung King

CD Review by Pat Benny

 If I hadn’t been a fan of BB Chung King and the Buddhaheads for years now, if I hadn’t seen BB perform countless times with various band members using any combination of the name (BB Chung King, The Buddaheads, even the Alan Mirikitoni Band), I might have been just a little nervous about reviewing this album.  Why?  Well, ahem, it’s about the liner credits; that thing about “Pro Tools.”  What the hell is a Pro Tool?  Is it like a rhythm machine, or Dolby? Ray Carver, the publisher of SBM, shakes his head and says, “Listen, Pat, you’ve got to get your head into the new millennium.  Pro Tools is a high-tech, state of the art computer system used in recording, nowadays.”  Computers, says Ray.  Well Ray, I thought I told you that I wouldn’t take this job if there was any computer work involved.  “You don’t have to operate it, says Ray, “You just have to review it,” says Ray.  Well, here goes:

  The name of this independently released album is “REAL.”  As I mentioned, the Pro Tools stuff kind of throws me, especially when the first song, which bears the album title’s name, bursts through the speakers with a full horn section.  I’m thinking to myself, is this live, or is it Pro Tools?  But then, BB’s blazing guitar and Boyd Lefan’s throbbing bass take over and I know that I’m on solid ground-REAL solid ground, walking on tracks laid down by a guitar virtuoso-a REAL guitarslinger.

  This album is one of many moods that showcase not only BB’s incredible guitar, but also showcases his ability to write a great contemporary blues song, something that is often found lacking with some of today’s blues artists.  “911” is a haunting tune that may have to be retitled, as it has nothing to do with the events of this infamous day.  This is a song about another kind of heartbreak.  The guitar leads sound as if they came from deep in the soul and proceed to take the listener past the satellites and beyond the stars.  “Better Day” is a slow tune which demonstrates the quality of BB’s voice, a voice that is much better than a guitarslinger of his ability requires.  I’ve listened to his slow blues for years, trying to place who it is that his voice resembles.  If Lionel Ritchie could sing the blues-I mean really sing the blues, this is how he might sound.

  “Crawlin’ Man” and “57 Chevy” both have a lowdown, sinister quality that lures the listener, baiting him with a steady rhythm that serves as a launching pad for BB’s burning, and I mean finger shredding, string breaking guitar solos that have made him one of the premier blues guitarists of this era.  Don’t bother to listen for Lionel Ritchie in either of these tunes!

  I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the Pro Tools thing.  It’s just that it’s something new to me.  Remember, Howlin’ Wolf hated his first electric guitar.  And if the credibility of Pro Tools or any other new recording method must be judged by this writer or anyone else, we must first listen to “Dance Maria,” the band’s tribute to Jimi Hendrix.  On this track, BB can be heard jamming along with the great Hendrix himself.  The result is a surreal, ethereal and wonderfully nostalgic in its computer assisted, psychedelic way.

  The twelfth and final cut on this album is a beautiful instrumental tune entitled “Alana,” named after BB’s daughter.  This was a wonderful song to end the 58 minutes of piercing guitar licks.

  Listen to this album.  Read the liner notes and absorb the bond Alan Mirikitoni, a.k.a. BB Chung King has for his family, his friends and his music and know that this music is as REAL as it gets.  
Mary Rudy Review...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        --Pat Benny




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