Reviews Zone

Buddy’s Garage Vol. 1: Various Artists (Buddy’s Garage Records)



4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



Back in the day, samplers from record labels of the various artists and bands on their label – usually a selection of one track per band/artist – were regularly pressed up in vinyl and sent out to club and radio DJs, magazine and newspaper music journalists and a select mailing list of VIPs. Including me.

That approach pretty much fizzled out a few years ago with the advent of the internet and email. I blame Tim Berners Lee and Ray Tomlinson!

I love to hold a physical recording in my hands, put it on at home or in my office and listen track by track and in the order on the tape, CD, LP or EP . Necessity dictates I do have to also click into digital links to hear new music these days, but when the dull thud of a bunch of Jiffi packets drop through the letterbox, I still get a bit of an excited feeling of anticipation of what gold nugget may have just arrived.

Most submissions are expected after prior agreement with PRs, record labels, distributors, artist and band management and in some cases, from the bands and artists direct. We get stuff from literally around the globe on a daily basis.

But sometimes unsolicited stuff arrives out of the blue, and always piques my interests as to who it is from and if this is gonna be a great discovery or a mediocre dissappointment.

So….a CD arrives which is pressed up to look like a black vinyl record, complete with grooves. I get # 36 of 150 copies, so the felt tip marker tells me on the black card envelope the disc sits inside.

Couple of bits of paperwork and it’s not something I have requested or been previously pitched. This one comes from Buddy’s Garage Records in Spain. A new name to me. A hand written note attached: “Treat it right. Old sounds here. Kind regards, Adrian”.  Hmmmm………Let’s see what we have here then…..

What we do have here is one of those previously mentioned long discontinued record label samplers, and in this case a label celebrating its one year anniversary. With no live gigs and recording going on, the label folk decided to DIY a sampler CD while at home on lockdown. They dispensed with fancy printed materials and CD covers/booklets. For me, it adds to the retro “white label” mystique about the package.

We get to hear 11 tracks from six of the label’s roster. Two cuts from five of the acts and one track from one band. A pretty even listen and some real high points here. All names I had not come across before and in the main, I am glad I now have.

The label’s director and producer Adrian Carerra is a respected session drummer and plays with all of the artists here. Busy boy

The opening gambit of this set is from Madrid’s Alex Caporuscio & The Strats, with the rousing and feel-good “You’ll be Mine”. Top notch up-tempo modern blues, and the vocals from Alex match his skills on guitar for quality. SRV nods a-plenty. Held my attention from the off. Happy to receive his future album releases.

If you wanted more from him, then you get it on the second cut – a more traditional 12-bar blues and jump jive feel on “Let’s Have A Natural Ball”.

The 11 tracks shine the spotlight on music of black origin from r&b, to soul, gospel to blues and to some good ol’ rock and roll…

Tracks three and four give us Argentina’s Martin Burguez, a very tasty guitar player, innate jazz licks coming out of his pores. I bet he’s got a fair few Wes Montgomery albums in his collection. Love the mix on his two tracks, and in fact on guitar on all of these 11 – which cuts through like a hot knife in butter. His bassist Christian Morana and Adrian Carrera on drums deserve credit for their rock solid contribution.

Two from Seville’s Mingo Balaguer & the Red Hot Playboys – including the 1953 Junior Parker classic “Mystery Train”, which of course Elvis made his own. On this rockabilly-soaked version Mingo shows us his innate harmonica skills. He’s some player.

Then we get “Hickory Dickory Dock”, from Paris artist Cecilya Mestres. This one just didn’t quite do it for me. Cracking vocal from Javi Suarez (& the Fireballs) on “Cuttin’ In”. A slow r&b vibe, in similar territory to the brilliant Jackie Shane and also maybe the fabulous Little Willie John.

Now here comes Madrid’s Rachel Reyes with the Fireballs, and a sassy early Etta style vocal on “Watchdog”. She’d be a good fit for the kind of stuff the Dap Tone label specialise in.

Ms. Mestres is back for the penultimate track, “Good Looking”, where she delivers a raspy, growling vocal and guitarist Frankie Gumbo throws out a red hot solo.

The last word goes to Rachel Reyes & The Fireballs, who close proceedings with a pleasing cover of the Etta James classic “I’d Rather Go Blind”. Chicken Shack’s 1969 version with Fleetwood Mac’s Christine Perfect (later Christine McVie) is worth a listen, if you have not come across it as yet. Rachel and her band do a fine job here.

Buddy’s Garage is a 1934 US animation, of a car chase after a kidnapping from a garage. Not sure if this label took its name from that, but with music this good, no need for kidnap or breaking the speed limit to get me to listen to and thoroughly enjoy this refreshing compilation.

There is an ironic tongue-in-cheek saying: ‘Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!’ I disagree….There’d be a market for this as a limited edition vinyl LP, I am sure (maybe for ‘Record Store Day’ 2021).

Assuming with “Volume 1” in the title, that we are due a second volume at some stage….If so, please….Bring it on!


By Simon Redley




1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’





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