Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
John Buck and the Blazers - Chi Chidotdotdot
artworkJohn Buck is one of those frustrating artists for me, like Buddy Merrill, who clearly had talent, could play with rock'n'roll edge. and yet nearly always put out commercial pop fair with only a hint of bite. His stuff appears from time to time on off beat comps. This CD has moreorless everything from John Buck and the Blazers.
Picks: Chi Chi, Forbidden City, Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair, Cantina, Jalisco, Spanish Farewell, Big Valley

Track by Track Review

Chi Chi dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

"Chi Chi" is an easy flowing sax instrumental that has a Mexican flavor, presented principally by the dual saxes that ape mariachi, along with the saucy percussion. While it's on the adult pop side of the street, it's also quite genuine.

Forbidden City dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bongos, grode low-E rhythm, vibrato chords in the lead generally in the "Rumble" mold, and horn-like guitar licks, plus a chorus. There's no doubt this is a studio creation. "Forbidden City" is one of those tracks you can't decide whether you hate or find oddly intriguing.

Egal O.K. dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very faceless light pop rock instro. There were hundreds of tracks like this in the early sixties. While very well played, it doesn't rise above the herd at all, and the chorus is just to "Lolita Ya Ya" cutesy.

Last Dance dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

There are some very nice touches here, from the slide intro notes to the Mexican dual horns. "Last Dance" is an easy going track, and is hampered by a middle of the road pop chorus, yet it's very well arranged and mixed.

Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The muted dry rhythm guitar and tremolo lead are just a few steps away from surf. The classic melody of "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair" is well suited to the arrangement, which is catchy and genuine. The dual horns play a verse or two, and at times there are bold hints of spaghetti western. Very cool!

Kibaba dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

"Kibaba" is all about after dinner dancing in a coat and tie club. The horns dominate, and the bass and drums are a perfect backtrack. The chorus is kind of annoying, but otherwise, this is a very pleasant track.

Nan-Je-Di dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

A great melody is delivered mostly in mariachi reference horns over a very cool rhythm track. If you're a fan of The Tijuana Brass and don't mind a cheesy chorus, "Nan-Je-Di" just may fill your bill.

Cantina dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

With all the evening cool groove you would expect from a song called "Cantina," John Buck and the Blazers glide atop exotic percussion with cool dual horns and guitar licks. The chorus keeps it from being more than pop.

Jalisco dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

This is a traditional Mexican song that used to be covered quite a bit during the rise of interest in all musical things Mexican in the late fifties and early sixties. Every one from Trini Lopez to TJB made it sound like it was their own. Manuel Esperon's "Ay! Jalisco, No Te Rajes" is particularly nice in this arrangement, which leans heavily on mariachi.

Lola dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

This is like a lighter version of what Paul Buff's studio project The Pretenders were, but with chorus added. The dual horns and Mexican flavor are really nice, but the chorus detracts from the genuineness of the track.

Copenhagen Carousel dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

Mexican horns and eastern European holiday imagery are an odd combination. This is forgettable.

La Bamba dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

This rejuvenated traditional mariachi song from Jalisco is part way between Herb Alpert and Bert Kempfert. The drums and bass and rock guitar are very cool, even have bite, while the chorus drive it south.

Spanish Farewell dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

With big drums right out of Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem," and a melody that is part "Spanish Harlem" and "You Better Move On," this is romantic and haunting and relatively engaging. The chorus holds it down most of the time.

Vaquero dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

Dual horns play a soft and lovely melody, accompanied by vibes, percussion, and a tasteful backtrack. The chorus once again detracts.

Midnight dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very soft number that's all easy listening. The production and arrangement are very nice, but it's just not memorable.

Big Valley dotdotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

Is this the theme to that cheesy TV western? I don't know. Great spaghetti western drums, bass, and sweeping melody in a different setting. The strings give it a film quality.

Stacy's Theme dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

"Stacy's Theme" is a soft flowing number that's squarely on the easy listening charts. Pretty and forgettable.

Letkiss dotdot
Light Rock (Instrumental)

This track is a slightly goofy version of Roberto Delgado's 1965 European hit, based on the early sixties pop dance craze (Letkajenkka). It's poppy and fun, but you won't remember it in the morning.