James ‘Buddy’ Rogers is Vancouver-based blues guitarist with a long history of playing the blues. He has been gigging with a band since age 11, over 25 years ago. He is a veteran bluesman and his new album, My Guitar’s My Only Friend, reflects his lifelong love of the blues. The album features 10 original compositions by Rogers and producer Tom Lavin and showcase his blend of blues gained from years on the road and by legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the three Kings.
The album opens with the title track, a blues song with traditional lyrical content: somebody with nothing in the world. This type of blues song could have been in the canon of B.B. King 60 years ago, the lyrics are timeless blues. It is one of many traditional blues tunes on the album. Other examples include: “I’m On The Road Again,” “Disappearing Baby Blues,” “Sweet Little Girl,” and “Blame It On The Blues.” In addition to the fine lyrics, the guitar playing is top notch modern blues. The whole band is strong, but this is Rogers’ album and he is the star musically. He stretches out his playing on several cuts, only one song is less than three minutes and it is the best showcase of his playing, “Buddy’s Walk.”
The other songs on the album may not be steeped in classic blues content but everything on this album is solid and easily relistenable several times. “Let’s Get Loose” is a nice relaxed party song. “Guitar Sue” is a fine song that sticks in your head. “Lovin, Kissin, Huggin,” likewise. The best song on the album may be “Dawg,” a peppy number to get your feet tapping.
The only issue with this album is an unavoidable one, his voice. It just does not seem to be suited for the blues. It is clear he has a passion for the blues. Listen to any of the instrumental portions of the songs and that is instantly recognizable. His guitar playing is stalwart and reminiscent of his blues heroes. He can write a blues tune, that becomes indisputable when listening to the title track. His voice just leaves something to be desired. It lacks a certain emotion and feeling necessary for the blues. Despite the one flaw, the album is solid and worth a second or third listen.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- My Guitar’s My Only Friend
- I’m On The Road Again
- Guitar Sue
The Big Hit
- My Guitar’s Only Friend
Review by Charlie DuMez