The Birth of The Buddahs

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Where did the Buddahs come from?

Please note : before reading the history of the Buddahs it is advised you sit in a soft place, else when you slip into slumber you fall and hit your head on a sharp object of some description.

The Blues Buddahs began, as far as a corporeal entity is concerned, somwhere in the region of 1999, although the seeds of the band were planted much earlier. As is always the story in these cases, it began with a few pals playing some good music together for fun at parties, ancillary to the imbibement of beverages of an intoxicating nature. In and amongst a laboured millieu of bluesy cronies and old pals acts good-time showman Mr Dennis Smalley was invited into a Blues Band by Bobby Geary, who, along with John Kilpatrick and Alan "Brecks" Stewart formed the original band. At this time the intention was to go for a sort of Gary Moore style setup, however this quickly changed to a much earthier blues style - focusing on the early sixties British blues boom.

Whilst the band had rehearsed together no formalities had occured. It was felt that a second guitraist should be sought; enter Alistair Morrison as "second" string man. This development however was not to the liking of Mr Geary, who promptly left and Al immediately took up the reigns of lead guitarist.

This new four piece were then named by Smalley: "The Blues Buddahs". Under this new name the band began to rehearse with the aim of maybe getting a couple of low key gigs. 

This band played thier first gig in The Highland Way Hotel, Balmaha in November 1999 to great acclaim. They went on to record a live CD "Too Many Fleetwood Mac's" which was a local success. They continued to play for a few more gigs, including 396 The Bar on Sauchiehall Street and The Tron. 

However in mid 2000 drummer Alan left the Buddahs citing personal reasons, leaving his legacy in the band on the Live CD. The drum stool was almost instantly taken up by young blues zealot Stephen "Sticks" McGowan, who was playing with Glasgow blues/rock band Huckster. This new setup began rehearsing in November 2000.

After a few months of practice, another chap turned up to join in the fun : Richard W Rinn. Richie had been cultivating his blues harp wailings and was looking for a forum in which to develop himself. Richie has since been acclaimed as the best harpist in Britain and currently leads the way in British rhythm & blues in the now famous The Boogaloo Investigators ( Richie's natural talent and passion for the music added a special element to the Buddah sound.

During this transitional period the band were still rehearsing with no definite gigs on the horizon. It was around this time that bass man John Kilpatrick, also citing personal reasons, left and another space opened. Step in William Whitelaw, long time pal of Al's and a bassist to boot. Willie had in fact jammed with Dennis and Al on many a wee hour in the past.

The Blues Buddahs where now - Vocals : Dennis Smalley, Guitar : Al Morrison, Harmonica : Richie Rinn, Bass : Willie Whitelaw, Drums : Stephen McGowan.

After some rehearsals the new line up began to play gigs all over Scotland and established an eager following of blues fans and local maniacs. The band managed around a gig a month at this point and honed their live skills in such places as The Bon Accord, Reds Nightclub, The Windsor Tavern and MacSorleys.

In April 2002 the Buddahs recorded the critically acclaimed album "Its A Buddahful Day" in Richies garage. This, the Buddah's first "studio" album met vast approval. It was reviewed in the November 2002 Scots Blues News Periodical, where editor Chris Simmonds said : "this album is exciting and excels in charm...these guys have an affinity with the music they play...if you're ever in Glasgow and they're on somewhere go and see them, that way you can buy this cd".

The album was a small but perfectly formed success.

During 2002 the Buddahs continued to play throughout Scotland, cultivating their live performances, changing material and styles. It was in early 2003 that Richie decided to leave the Buddahs and concentrate on his fledgling project, The Boogaloo's, as well as have corrective ear surgery.

The Buddahs were now a four piece, and it this four piece which has the right to call itself the classic Buddah line up. As 2003 stretched into 2004 the Buddahs continued to play around Scotland and enjoyed many great gigs, including heading up to The Waverley Hotel in Callander and The Oakbank Inn, Dunoon.

The Buddahs did flirt with a possible fifth member again during the course of these years - a harmonica player called sat in for a couple of sessions, as did local guitarist Wee Boaby, who went on to play in a Glam tribute band to great success. By far the closest the Buddahs ever came to a fifth member however was in guitarist Michael Strain, who had played with drummer Stephen McGowan in Huckster. Michael was officially a Buddah for a period of around 3 months in mid 2004 and even played a couple of gigs with the band; unfortunately it did not work out due to "musical differences", and Michael went on to focus on an acoustic roots/swing project which later became "Mud & Butter" ( and began gigging in June of 2005.

Around about then it was felt that a new album should be recorded. This time the recording was by way of an 8 track zoom, in bass player Willie's Hoose. The album was strangely named "Three Beds & An Ironing Board", after a time when playing a gig in Dunoon four members of the band retired for evenig to discover there were 3 beds and an ironing board...The Buddahs carried on truckin' after this - gigs continued in McChuills, The good old Bon Accord and there was also a slot in the September 2004 Merchant City Festival at Bar 91. The album, "3 Beds", sold well during this time and was eventually reviewed in The Scots Blues News in October 2004 and English Blues magazine Blues Matters! in February 2005: which again was all positive. Special note was made for "the good people at Oddsock studios" and the production was celebrated! Around February of 2005 the band began commiting some original material to record for the future, and in the course of 2005 stretched out a little gig wise, with new venues such as Bourbon Sreet and The Edge Bar with what was the busiest year yet in The Buddahs Calendar. In the summer of 2005 the Buddahs were invited to play the Dundee Blues Festival( for the first time and went down a storm.

2006 saw the Buddahs expand even further in festival territory with 5 confirmed appearances at:  The Scottish Borders Blues Festival ; The Glasgow International Jazz Festival ; The Original Smokie Arbroath Blues Festival ; The Trossachs Jazz & Blues Festival ; and our reappearance at The Dundee Blues Bonanza.

In June 2006 the Buddahs took the decision to move away from the freeservers network, which had hosted for 3 years, due to the ever increasing ads and popups obscuring and cluttering the site. The band set up a new website, and that's where the story will continue!


Portrait of a Young Buddah : Dennis Smalley as a young man


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The Blues Buddahs on "Art Of The Mix"