Buddy Miles has never been an easy artist to categorize. Is he is a rocker, a bluesman, or a soulster? Truth be told, he is all of those things rolled into one; over the years, his work has been influenced by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Muddy Waters to James Brown and Sly Stone. Recorded in Texas in 2000, Blues Berries is primarily an album of blues-rock with soul and funk references. Miles was 53 at the time, and the veteran singer/drummer is very much on top of his game on sweaty offerings like "Bayou Delta," "Compassion for the Blues," and "Texas Cannonball" (an ode to the late Freddie King). The impressive band that Miles leads, the Blues Berries, is quite mindful of the Texas blues and blues-rock traditions -- fans of King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, and Johnny Winter should have no problem getting into either the original material or an inspired performance of the standard "Tobacco Road." But at the same time, Miles and the Blues Berries do not escape the influence of Chicago blues. The soul elements are especially strong on "Come on Back," which combines rock with a strong appreciation of Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, and the Stax Records/Southern soul sound of the '60s. Back in the '60s, "Come on Back" probably would have been too rock-minded for most R&B stations in the U.S. -- even so, it's a great soul/rock track that recalls a time when a lot of Ike and Tina Turner and Sly & the Family Stone fans were also Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix fans. Blues Berries is not recommended to blues purists, but this excellent CD offers considerable rewards to those who hold rock, soul, and the blues in equally high regard.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson