Brody Buster’s One Man Band – Damn! I Spilled the Blues
VizzTone Label Group/Booga Music VT-BOOGA-01
10 songs 35 minutes
Former child prodigy Brody Buster teams with Kenny Neal to share promising new ground with this CD: It’s the first full-length offering from the Kansas City native since 2000, when he was in his mid-teens, and it’s the first release for Gulf Coast legend Kenny’s new Booga Music label.
A native of Kansas City, Brody grew up playing harmonica on Beale Street in Memphis, where he caught the attention of B.B. King, who invited him on stage and was so impressed with his talents that he called him “one of the greatest harmonica players of our time.”
Their relationship was so strong that Brody spent a great deal of his childhood entertaining Bluff City tourists from the stage at B.B. King’s. He became a frequent performer on national TV at age ten after someone from the Tonight Show discovered him when he played opening night at B.B.’s new club in Los Angeles.
Buster played the prestigious Montreux Blues and Jazz Festival in Switzerland at age 12 and released his first album as a harp player with a full band, Blue Devil, at age 16. He spent the balance of his childhood developing skills as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
Brody burst on the scene again at the 2017 International Blues Challenge, where his new act as a one-man band – simultaneously playing harp, guitar and percussion on kick drum and snare – took the crowd by storm. He finished second in the solo-duo category, delivering high-energy blues with rock overtones, and he walked away with top harmonica player honors, too.
One of the judges in the audience that night was Neal, who immediately arranged to bring him to Baton Rouge, La., where he was launching both his Booga Music studio and label. Released in association with Boston-based VizzTone Label Group, this tasty, hard-driving album serves as their debut in the blues world.
The all-original set opens with “Old Hog Blues,” which comes across with an easy-going Delta feel as Brody boasts to a lady that he might be old, but he can still learn new tricks. His voice is both strong and rich and distinctive, his guitar skills are rock-steady and his harp runs are clean and sweet. Brody trades harp and guitar licks to open “Bad News,” an electric blues that announces he’s walking out on his lady after she’s been up for three days straight. His mid-tune harp solo cuts like a knife.
“2029,” a percussive Southern rocker, fires out of the gate after a short harp solo as Buster describes planning to leave the earth in style when the world ends – on Sept. 23, 2029 before he advises his lady to walk away because things haven’t changed in “The Wind.” It’s a lyrics-heavy number full of angst. The troubles continue in “The Reason” – with the singer losing his job, getting a ticket, losing his license and much more – but his attitude remains positive.
Brody’s guitar skills come to the fore for a few bars in “Alligator Blues,” which blazes out of the gate before settling into a steady rhythm pattern. A funky old-school rocker, Buster has the 14-ft. amphibian’s head hanging above his bed, and he’s wearing its hide and pretty well fed.
“Like ’em Like That” follows and carries on the old blues tradition of describing in detail the different types of women the singer likes before “The Hustle (Just Fine When I’m Gone)” describes the highs and lows of living on the road and returning home to find changes there and in his lady, too. The hard-driving “Week Long” describes needing one more drink after a long night out before heading off to work before the straight-ahead “This Time I Got the Blues” brings the disc to a close.
Brody Buster is a one-man band like no other. His simultaneous attack on multiple instruments delivers consistently on all counts throughout. Pick this one up. It’s different – and a whole lot of fun.