Tag Archives: Tom Waits

Gig Review – Pugsley Buzzard

I’ve decided to spice up the blog a little by also sharing my views on any live musical shows I might encounter.  I’ll try and build a complex system that allows comparisons so that my end of year rankings are more reliable!

Artist: Pugsley Buzzard and his Trio
Venue: East Brunswick Club, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Date: Sunday, 5 February (afternoon show), 2012
Who?: Some bloke from up Sydney way peddling boogie barrelhouse piano blues. Think Tom Waits meets Dr.John.
Crowd?: It was all about quality (i.e. there weren’t more than 25 people there), and our table of 32-40 year olds lowered the average age very considerably.
Best Bits: The swagger, the voice, the tuba (!), the love and respect for the classic sounds of New Orleans, the Truckstop Honeymoon cover.
Could be Better: One or two less solos (that’s you Mr.Drummer!), better miking on tuba, a little more banter
Dream Venue: Your local bar, a juke-joint (whatever that is), somewhere dark, dingy and bourbon-soaked (but without hipsters or singlet wearers)
Dream Lineup: Probably not Tom Waits.  Maybe Chuck E.Weiss, Truckstop Honeymoon, Serena Ryder… and then Sharon Jones to get us all dancing.
Worth a Second Look?: For sure.  He’s playing a residency around the corner (Grumpy’s Green) Wednesdays in March.  I’ll get down to one or two nights.
Give us a look:

120. Solomon Burke – “Don’t Give Up On Me”

As a music fan, you hold out for those moments when you are truly blown away by a live performance. Often these moments appear from leftfield.

Solomon Burke album cover Dont Give Up On MeJust such an event happened to me a few years ago at Bluesfest up in Byron Bay. On the program was one Solomon Burke, lauded as a soul legend but with whom I was unfamiliar.

He turned out to be some much more. Perhaps the largest human I have ever seen on stage, he presided over an ever-expanding entourage of singers and players, all while ensconced in an appropriately grand and gaudy throne. The music was perfectly constructed and rousing soul. Lots of call and response, lots of theatre, great muscianship, and best of all – Burke’s charisma and voice.

What was intriguing was the quality of the songwriting on some songs. It turns out these were his latest output (i.e on this here album) and penned specifically for him by such luminaries as Dylan, Waits, Costello, V.Morrison and B.Wilson. They are beautiful, slower-paced numbers that he wraps his super smooth vocal chords around. His timing is perfect, the songs elevating him above the soul pack.

Alas I can’t find you a decent video off the album, but here’s a short snippet of him performing a tune he had on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack:

File under: A huge voice on a huge man