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Best Bud – Volume I

Excerpts from the Bud Green Band practice sessions, recorded 1981-82budgreen-feat

  • Before (or after) listening to these tracks, discover the truth about the lost Volumes, and who Bud Green really was, at The True Story Of Bud Green.
  • You will also enjoy Best Bud – Volume II, Bud Green in performance
  • Listening suggestion for these excerpts:  keep listening when the music wanders out of the groove, to have the pleasure of being there when it finds its way back in.

1 – Things We Said Today (Beatles) Of all the covers Bud Green did I think this excerpt, from the first time we tried this tune, captures the most interesting sound we came up with while playing together. It has a very different feel from the original song, becoming more jazzacious and reggoid. Around the 1:00 minute mark we find the groove and it really takes off.

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2 – She’s Not There (The Zombies) It was a warm Saturday night and we were practicing in the studio next to my house in Dixon.  As we played, people came in to listen, including friends sharing things to drink and smoke, even an anesthesiologist friend who helped keep us alert. Something good happened that night when we tried playing a song from the 1960’s by The Zombies.

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3 – Misunderstood (The Animals) One night, we played around with this classic 60’s tune by The Animals. When we had worked it out enough to try playing the song, David did what he often did at band practices: showed his gift for musical parody and sheer inventive craziness by making up lyrics on the spot, always funny and frequently outrageous.

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4 – Without Love (Doobie Bros) (fragment) Goofing around with guys who are as musically talented as Dick and David was more fun than anything else I can think of. They could sing so well together, with truly complementary voices, and much of the time the purpose of the vocalizing was pure foolishness. We did several Doobie Brothers tunes, and one night, when we tried playing Without Love (Where Would We Be Now), the fooling around was captured on tape.

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5 – So Lonely (The Police) (fragment) Another moment that catches Dick’s guitar skills in action is this little excerpt from So Lonely.

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6 – Left Out (Bud Green) Sometimes, instead of covers, we’d try things that David made up. David had musical ideas that he would play during practices, and sometimes the rest of us would try joining in, feeling our way. This tune, which never had any words except “I don’t want to be left out,” emerged like that one night. As with other tracks here, our voice and our groove seem to kick in approaching the 1:00 minute mark.

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7 – Trapped In The Country (D. Phillips, Bud Green) I want to close with an excerpt taken from one of the earliest versions of David’s song, Urban Solution. It was recorded in David’s living room in Ojo Sarco, when the song was still called Trapped In The Country. We had been hearing the basic changes of this tune at practices for a while at that point, but I’m pretty sure this is the very first time David sang any of the words.

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8 – Bonus track Long after midnight, practicing in the music room at Dick’s house, the door opened unexpectedly and a friend of ours came in with some people and a drum.

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  • You will also enjoy Best Bud – Volume II, Bud Green in performance
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    A tape glitch at the beginning makes the vocal warble a little, but David sounds a lot like Ray Charles when he sings the words things we said today. After searching for the groove we find it, then take off into a great jam behind David’s jazzy piano until Dick calls for the bridge. When we come back from the bridge we almost lose the thread, then get back into that syncopated reggoid rhythm we did so often. Then we’re just drunk on the rhythm – probably other things too at that point in the practice – and we keep going around until Howard hits a nice drum breakdown and it fades out. I don’t think we ever developed the tune further, or even played it in public. But looking back on it, I see this as a great example of the kind of original and creative music Bud Green could make.
    This is actually the first time we ever tried this song. I’m not sure we all remembered exactly how it went. We started out, as always, just goofing around, but quickly discovered a sound that I have come to think of as ours – a reggae-ish, syncopated style that crept into most of what we played. About a minute into this excerpt you can hear us catching onto something and it jells for a few moments, sort of a promise of what might be there. I like the way Dick is just vamping around on the guitar with a crazy feel that actually works for the tune! Things eventually get a little ragged, but we get it back together, with David really finding it on the organ at the end.
    On this occasion David cracked us all up singing a yiddish version of the words in his patented old-country accent, changing “Oh Lord” to “Oy Vey,” and singing “Oy Vey, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” You can hear us laughing in the background as we keep on playing the song, giving it the Bud Green sound. After playing it through you can hear David suggesting we run through the “other part” of the song, which we do, and after he sings/speaks the line “…that I love you,” he takes off on an organ solo that goes rolling up and down the keyboard, wild but in control and somehow in sync with the feeling of the tune. The band is satisfyingly together as we end up back at the hook. Then the track fades out as we lose focus and conversation starts…   
    After a bunch of vocal silliness that actually gives a hint of how well my two friends could harmonize when they tried, you hear how perfectly Dick can play the signature lick from this tune. But we just couldn’t stay serious, since it was clearly more fun to goof around than do the song. I put together three little segments from the tape to show how we kept getting sidetracked into silly. The last time, David makes up the crazy line “where would joosis jesus and the japtones be,” Howard hits a perfect cymbal, and Dick is nailing the famous lick as we fade out.

    In the brief bit of vocal I included at the start I’m singing so earnestly it’s a little embarrassing, but this excerpt catches Dick playing a cool little unrehearsed, throwaway guitar solo while we play the rhythm for him. As he gets into it you can feel it build, and he tosses off a few great little runs as the track fades. I really like this taste of Dick having guitar fun and showing some of the things he can do.

    After David sings the only line in the song, he plays a verse through on the organ and we take off wandering. Dick brings it together with a guitar lead that actually turns out to be a rephrasing of the melody in the upper register in a cool way, and then David realizes the song nicely with tasty variations on the piano and organ. I edited a couple of smaller segments to make this track, but there are still a few spots where we fall out of the groove – especially me – and still it all resolves nicely into something improvised that actually sounds like a song.
    I remember being knocked out hearing the outrageous lines “trapped in the country, I just want to see some cement, trapped in the country, I want to breathe some pollution again.” When we get to the part where David sings “I wake up in the morning, hear the chickens in the yard, but I have a yearnin’ for buses and cars” the band is feeling it and working hard to find the groove. When we do find it the song really takes off. I particularly love the way, near the end of this excerpt, Dick does the “chickens in the yard” on his guitar. The way he plays that still knocks me out, just like it did that night 33 years ago. The track ends with us in a groove behind Dick’s guitar, and if you listen for it you can hear David playing a tasty piano fill in the background just as the track fades out. I like this the best of all the recordings of us playing this song.
    The tape was running when the door opened and it recorded the moment. At first, we are clearly not excited by anyone showing up at that point. But the moment gets diffused with humor, and we spontaneously break into an original tune of David’s, complete with vocal, that actually went on to become the Bud Green theme song. I include this here because the excerpt contains one of the high points of my whole life: the moment at the end when you can hear David say “I like Les’s bass playing…” When my friend David, one of the best musicians I have known, says he likes what I am playing, then my life is basically complete.
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