British Blues – Events – Gigs – Mojo Buford

Mojo Buford – at the Borderline, London, 26th June 2003

A small but highly enthusiastic crowd witnessed the welcome return of a bluesman who, for some years, blew harp in Muddy Waters’ band and, indeed, there were a few tributes paid to the mighty Muddy this evening by the star of the show, George “Mojo” Buford. Buford looked, sang and played well tonight, but the backing band called, I believe, the Union, were often messy in their mid-to-uptempo accompaniments, none more so than in the case of ‘I’m Ready’, where artist and band played in different keys throughout. Easily the most enjoyable songs played tonight were, for me, the slow blues items, most of all a gutsy take on Jimmy Rogers’ ‘That’s All Right’. As mentioned earlier, George frequently plundered the repertoire of his former boss (as many ex-Waters sidemen are prone to do these days) and, although ‘Hootchie Coochie Man’ and ‘Dope Blues’ sounded reasonably good, I was disappointed by the sound of the set closer, ‘Mojo Working’, and so, I felt, was Buford; accustomed to playing the song in a busy, urgent 32 manner as true bluesmen play it he had to tolerate the band limping away in a disco-like tempo. There were also a couple of standards thrown in (not quite thrown away), these being ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and ‘Messin’ With The Kid’. Encoring on Little Walter’s ‘Off The Wall’, it was time to hit the road. A show with mixed feelings for me personally; had Big Joe Louis and the Blues Kings been behind Buford rather than the band chosen tonight (here’s one Union that wasn’t 100% strong) this would have been a cracker. But, of course, that would have meant standing in the broom cupboard that is ‘Ain’t Nothin’ But’ for an extended period of time (time they knocked a wall down, innit?); thanks to the rather more spacious Borderline for putting on this show; may there be more to come at this particular venue.


Keith Woods


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