Friday, May 22, 2009

Buck D.D. Black - Mississippi Bluze Mass (Greene Bottle, 1972)

I can't really tell you too much about this album or even Buck D.D. Black for that matter. Mississippi Bluze Mass has been classified as southern soul as well as funk, and I think that it occupies a space somewhere in between those two genres. As for Black, just about the only thing I could find out about him is that his true identity is Dave Dixon (thus the "D.D.") and that he has some sort of New Orleans connection with his name having appeared as a songwriter and/or backing vocalist on LPs such as Dr. John's Gris-Gris and Jessie Hill's Naturally.

This is a fine record, although I was expecting something a little more tripped out based on the artwork and song titles such as "Miss Veegalopps." There are no guitar freakouts to be found here or anything that will cause you to mistake this for a lost Funkadelic album. But any disappointment that I may have had was tempered by the minuscule price I paid for this combined with the fact that the music it contains is excellent on its own terms. This is a horn-intensive album that features a flawless rhythm section and Black's solid vocals and keyboards. "Love Is All" contains some socially-conscious lyrics typical for the time, while the aforementioned "Miss Veegalopps" (who's "a real humdinger, a real righteous swinger") features some sweet harmonica. "Only a Fool" is a morose, jazz-influenced number that showcases Black's singing at its finest. "You No Longer Care for Me" sounds like something Swamp Dogg could have done, and "If I Had You" demonstrates how well the horn and rhythm sections mesh together. "Stuff I Uze" is one of several songs where he mentions "Mississippi green," but whether this is a reefer reference or not, I just don't know. Is that sound Black makes supposed to be the simulation of him taking a hit from a joint? Anyway, this song has a great groove. "Something I Never Had" is pretty much in the same bag as "Only a Fool," and "You Ain't Smart" is a nice put-down song. "Back Home to You" features more of Black's smooth vocals and some nice piano. The closing track, "That's Why I Love You," is the album's strongest cut in spite of the unimaginative title. The band is in great form, and one of the backing vocalists lays down some good contributions.

I've seen Mississippi Bluze Mass described as a concept album. Indeed, Black's notes state, "Hencetoratherforthright, the Black Kross conception was the chief property of the original vision which presented this idea; the individual players were assembled through the direction of the vision invisioned (sic). The harmonic bind of souls can best be determined by the unified expression of the transcribed effort contexted herein." After listening to this LP several times, I'm still not sure what the concept is. To be honest, I'm not even sure I understand the significance of the title. I guess I'll just have to keep playing it, and maybe one day I'll figure everything out.

1. Love Is All
2. Miss Veegalopps
3. Only a Fool
4. You No Longer Care for Me
5. If I Had You
6. Stuff I Uze
7. Something I Never Had
8. You Ain't Smart
9. Back Home to You
10. That's Why I Love You


  1. Vinyl rip

    320 kbps



  2. Starting from the bottom of your funk vault..Well done. Thanks.

  3. Totally intriguing! Thanks for digging up these interesting and unusual records.

  4. "Mississippi Green" was the first tenor sax player on the album. He gets a few shout-outs just like trumpeter "Wee Willie Skin". On the album jacket you can see that everyone in the band has some kind of nickname, some of them pretty bizarre.

    I'm going into my stacks and pulling out my copy of 'Gris Gris' now, thanks for that tip.