Reviews of The Blues Buddahs

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Blues Matters! Dec/Jan 2006 Edition

BLUES MATTERS, ISSUE 29, DEC/JAN06
The following is an excerpt of the review of the Dundee Blues Bonanza: "... then i retraced my steps to the Nether Inn to see the second set by Glasgow band The Blues Buddahs...nothing could prepare me for the power, passion and emotion of singer Dennis Smalley's voice, which at times had me close to tears. They play a kind of raw 60s garage blues with stunning guitar but it was Dennis' voice that totally won me over. he must be the best kept secret on the Scottish blues scene"

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The Blues Buddahs live gig in The Edge Bar on 23rd June 2005 was subject to a review by the good people at icscotland. The body of the review is repeated below but to view it in its original home go to:
http://icscotland.icnetwork.co.uk/whatson/

 The Blues Buddahs

By Stephen McKenna

 

Rating :

My second trip into the Glasgow Jazz Festival saw me discovering three new bands and a new venue. Not bad for a night's work!

The Edge Bar in Glasgow's George Square was pretty quiet downstairs, but as I made my way upstairs through the stylish modern interior I saw a much busier crowd listening to the first band of the night, Mud & Butter.

Clever jazzy blues three-piece Mud & Butter are a solid young band made up of acoustic guitar, vocals, drums and sax.

Dressed up in white shirts, black ties and Blues Brothers style black hats, the boys from Mud & Butter definitely looked the part!

Sitting on a stool with his acoustic guitar, lead singer Michael played some excellent jazzy riffs with the utmost ease and looked like he was enjoying himself too!

Drummer Stephen would have benefited greatly from a vocal mic at his disposal as he frequently stole the snare mic from its stand and spoke between songs. His stripped down drum kit took centre stage and his subtle brush strokes added a gentle feel to the set.

Considering that their new sax player has only been with them a few weeks, the band played really well together and the influence of the new member was evident as she dropped the sax and let loose with a lead vocal on one song.

After much stage adjustment, second up were The Gus Munro Blues Band. The Glasgow three-piece were more rock than roll.

Singer Gus is a good guitarist, but his guitar was far too loud for the mix and it drowned out everything else. The essence of the music was lost in a wall of distortion.

The bassist played some great funky, bluesy bass lines and knitted together really well with the drummer. The band didn't really make too much of a connection with the crowd, however and most of Gus's vocals were lost as the venue isn't built for sound.

Headliners The Blues Buddahs came on stage just after 10pm and were an instant hit with the crowd. They played a gutsy two-hour set with only a small break in the middle.

The Blues Buddahs are not your average blues band. All confines of cliché blues predictability is thrown out of the window as their influences span from psychedelic rock to soul and jazz.

Charismatic lead singer Dennis Smalley is renowned for being a Ricky Tomlinson look alike. This may be true, but his singing skill is a lot better than the famous beer guzzler from The Royle Family.

The un-disputed star of last night's show was the guitarist. His dextrous fingers are impeccably quick and he sounds like a modern day Jimi Hendrix or Dave Gilmour.

The Blues Buddahs have a natural ability for involving the whole audience in their performance and making everyone feel at home. Front man Dennis kept the crowd amused with his on stage banter and got everyone singing and dancing along to their mix of covers and original material. The Buddahs have built up a loyal fan base since they first formed in 1999 and play gigs all over Scotland.

Their next gig is on July 2nd in The Bon Accord in Glasgow. After that they play the Dundee Blues Bonanza on July 3rd.

For more information on The Blues Buddahs visit: thebluesbuddahs.4t.com



This is the Review from The Scots Blues News, Oct 2004

The above review was published in Scots Blues News of October 2004. A great live review for us by a real fan!



This is the review in Scots Blues News, Nov 2002

This was the review of our first studio album "It's A Buddahful Day", and became the source of many of our quotes in PR exercises!



This is the review used in Blues Matters! Feb/Mar 2005 and Scots Blues News Oct 2004

John Stewart Reviews forthcoming material by "The Blues Buddahs"

"Anyway, your new Buddha's CD [unreleased EP recorded feb2005] - Very, very good stuff.  My favourite yet by far.  Although I only received it today I am now playing it for the fifth or sixth time and although I love the blues, I've come to realise I like a very narrow band of blues, and most your previous stuff was not really my kind of blues.  At first I thought "Mexico" was a little like this (jazzy blues) but am now coming round to it and enjoying it more with each listen. The others though, especially the originals are just fantastic.  "Walkin'in darkness" has early FREE written all over it, and for me, it doesn't get much better than that.  FREE were a colossal band and this captures their spirit wonderfully.  I'm not suggesting you tried to sound like Free - and anyway, later on, the song changes direction a little - but it certainly captures that rare, soft, bluesy spirit they had, and evokes a time of peace and love, joss sticks and big, fat spliffs. Tremendous.  Production throughout is much better too.  Everyone can be heard equally - even Willie - and no one is too loud, just the right balance. "Honey Hush" sounds vaguely familiar but I'm not sure [Ed: Albert Collins].  "Without you" I've never heard [Fleetwood Mac].  "Dark Mantra" is sublime - even if at over 13 minutes it does go on for a little too long. Do keep up the self-penned stuff. And why don't you get in there too. I only see Morrison/Smalley!! Tracks 2 [Walkin in Darkness] and 5 [Dark Mantra] are my faves, so even better than the "proper" songs by whoever it was wrote them.  I think it's a true sign of good songs when they stand out above the covers.  Only criticisms I have are that most songs are too long.  Also I'd love to hear Dennis without that John Mayall echo on his voice all the time.  I think he excels himself on some of these songs. A terrific achievement.  It's good to hear you and Stevie too, tight but adventurous and sufficiently up there in the mix to make a difference. Al as usual is brilliant, inspired stuff with the Kossoff feel on 2 and the Dave Gilmour/Peter Green/Wishbone Ash shivers down the spine stuff on track 5. Again, I'm not suggesting that he is trying to emulate any of these people, it's just my "lazy journalism critique" technique, and these are the first people that come to mind when I hear it. Also brings to mind "The End" by the doors of course. The songs themselves have a great dynamic and there's enough happening in them to set them above the usual bluesy format that most bands stick to.  When you first told me the Buddhas were thinking of doing their own material I had hoped it WOULDN'T be the blues, just to hear what else you were capable of, but this is just perfect.  Bluesy enough to impress your regular fans, inventive enough to add some new ones and sufficiently different to have a kind of timeless quality.  I mean some of this could clearly be seen as coming from a sixties blues based band, but at other times there's enough original quirks for it to be any band from any time since then, no mean feat. It's like the late sixties modernised, and it works brilliantly. I am very impressed and look forward to much more of this kind of stuff. I'm sure this will be in my car for the next few weeks. Just heard Dennis do a great cry in Dark Mantra, he really is quite a talent. Okay, well, as I say, keep up the good work, and keep me abreast of any more new material."

JOHN STEWART IS A DRIVING FORCE BEHIND LONDON~BERLIN AXIS BAND "THE FLIES"