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Ram-Bam (RAM007)

Long-term Red Lickers already know how much perkier we are when Jo' Buddy has a new CD out. We just love his take on the blues, being reverential to the music and his inspirations, but always delivering to his own uncompromisingly off-beam and distorted principles of what he should sound like.

This newie is no exception, and has cheered us up no end, providing 12 more sensational rockin' sides full of off-kilter riffs, garbled lyrics, and all-killer, no-filler rhythms. And it may just be his best yet as, alongside great tracks with regular musical co-conspirator, Down Home King III on drums, there are a broader range of contributors. This allows Jo' to spread his wings a little and take to task other musical styles; and still come out on top.

This is first apparent as early as the second track, I Got A Li'l Gal,  where Jo' is joined by The (Original) Crawfish Kings Featuring Masa Orpana, thereby incorporating accordion, tenor sax and more to the musical mix and adding an enjoyable zydeco dimension to proceedings. A couple of tracks later, Jo' and Down Home King III pick up the tempo with Groovy Eyes Featuring Wiley Cousins, a manic garage band rocker that is bound to be a big favourite at his live appearances. Groovy Eyes are back on duty a couple of tracks later on Barbwire Rider, a sedate and controlled instrumental which acts as a showcase for Jo's ace guitar picking. On the next track, Jo' gives Down Home King III a breather while he picks up with The Uplifters, a bass and drums combo who join forces to deliver Po' Jo', a souped-up Mississippi delta blues that progresses along nicely in the style of Tommy Johnson, before Jo' decides its time to re-create the ‘Robert Nighthawk On Maxwell Street' slide-guitar sound to play us out. And mighty fine it is too!

On another track with The Uplifters, Blind Love, legendary boogie woogie pianist Gene Taylor, best known for his work with The Blasters, Fabulous Thunderbirds and James Harman, joins in the fun to add some sparking ivory-tickling.

My favourite though is the penultimate track, Someday, a beautiful religious number pushed along just by Jo's echo-laden guitar riff and Down Home King III's sublime driving rhythm on the drums.  

Another big winner from Finland's finest. A must-have selection (as we no doubt have said for each of Jo's CDs).  

Review Date: January 2014

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