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Crate Digger’s Gold: Buddy Miles – Them Changes

March 25, 2015

I first discovered Buddy Miles on Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys LP.  Buddy sings “Changes” (a title variation on the titular song on this album) and bangs the skins on that album.  The live album is Hendrix’s most soulful and funky LP in his catalog and Buddy is a big reason.

Buddy’s background was playing in jazz and R&B bands. He met Hendrix when they were in different bands on the same tour circuit.  They struck up a friendship and jammed together. Buddy was just 16 when he first met Jimi. He managed to jam with rock and roll royalty over the years: Hendrix, Santana, Stills, McLaughlin, George Clinton, Bloomfield, etc.

Them Changes opens with the titular track.  It is much more traditional soul (lots of horns) than what I was first introduced to with Hendrix, but it still rocks hard.

“I Still Love You, Anyway” would not sound out of place on a Stevie Wonder album or as an acoustic ballad on Led Zeppelin album.

“Hearts Delight” has a Motown feel, but with delightfully rough edges.  It then segues into a James Brown ballad to close out the song.

Side one ends with a brilliant cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Dreams.”  The song opens with the classic guitar riff but it is spiced up by a horn section giving the song a great Blood Sweat & Tears feel.

Side two launches with another great cover, Neil Young’s “Down By The River.”

Next is “Memphis Train” which is pretty conventional Memphis soul – think Otis Redding.

“Paul B. Allen, Omaha Nebraska” is an instrumental work out reminiscent of what a blues band would play to warm up the crowd for the featured performer. I can imagine hearing this jam at an Allman Brothers’ show.  Nice foundation for the players in Buddy’s band to step out and solo.

The album concludes with “Your Feeling Is Mine” another piece of classic Memphis soul.

The LP is a nice synthesis of soul and acid rock.  This album is pretty easy to find in the crates.  I picked up mine in fair to good condition for a buck.  Recommended to Allman Brothers, Otis Redding and more recently Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fans.


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