“Well, my mind is goin’ through so many changes”
Buddy Miles: 1969
“BUZZ Newspaper Article” July- Aug 2014 (#39-Mm)
By: RLSchwinden aka: MrZer0
One of my favorite LPs is Jimi Hendrix “Band Of Gypsys” yet another record my friend Eric turned me onto just after high school, I was fully aware of Jimi, but unaware of this “Live” LP from 1970. It was such a different record for Jimi & the key to this, is the rhythm section of Buddy Miles & Billy Cox. So I looked into this Buddy Miles, turns out he was from my area near Sioux City. It would be impossible to cover all of Buddy’s accomplishments, so I am going to cover the ones, I found of the most interest to me & hopefully you.
“Buddy” George Allen Miles, Jr. (5 Sep 1947 -26 Feb 2008: Austin, TX.) started playing drums at an early age, in his home town of Omaha, but moved to Sioux Falls, SD. while he was still in grade school, to live with his Aunt, who gave him the nickname “Buddy” after the famous jazz drummer Buddy Rich. My friend Bobby Berge (drummer for Zephyr, Tommy Bolin Band) went to grade school with Buddy in Sioux Falls & eventually became the backup drummer for “The Buddy Miles Express” from 1976- 1977. Buddy was a natural on the drums, so much that he eventually joined his father’s jazz band before his teens. Buddy’s father George Sr. was a bass player to many famous jazz legends such as Basie, Ellington, Gordon & Parker, Buddy once described his own style of drumming as “Gut Bucket” but much more than that, Buddy was a fabulous R&B vocalist, worth noting, while Buddy played Drums right handed, he played guitar left handed.
> Electric Flag: 1967 <
Buddy was a backing musician for a variety of big names in the early 60s including "The DELFONICS" & “Wilson Pickett", in 1967 Miles moved to Chicago & joined Mike Bloomfield's "ELECTRIC FLAG" along side; Barry Goldberg, Nick Gravenites & Harvey Brooks, The band made their debut in 1967 at the "Monterey International Pop Festival" as well as providing the soundtrack to the 1967 film "The Trip". The band released 2 LPs "A Long Time Comin" in Mar 1968 & "An American Music Band" later in 1968, however the band also broke up in late 1968. There was a "Best Of" released in 1971 & a reunion LP in 1974 "Band Kept Playing" the band also released three 45 Singles.
While still in the "Electric Flag" Miles became friends with Peter Tork of "The MONKEES" though mutual friend Stephen Stills, Miles sat in on drums for a recording session with Tork in Jan- Feb 1968. The MONKEES were planning a 2 LP record with 6 songs from each MONKEE. Miles played drums on these, 1st recorded & "Un-used" MONKEES songs
“Do I Have To Do This All Over Again”, “Can You Dig It”, “Lady's Baby” & “Seegar's Theme”. Later after the breakup of "The ELECTRIC FLAG" Miles sang Lead Vocals & played Drums on "Listen To The Band" for a live for TV broadcast "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee" recorded in Nov 1968, Miles can be seen in this film.
> Them Changes: 1968 <
In late 1968 just as the "ELECTRIC FLAG" had broken up Miles formed the "Buddy Miles Express" with guitarist Jim McCarty, this band released 6 LPs on Mercury Records starting with "Expressway To Your Skull" in 1968, followed by: "Electric Church" in 1969 with 4 songs produced by Jimi Hendrix (27 Nov 1972: Seattle -18 Sep 1970 London). Buddy had met Hendrix at a show in Canada sometime in 1964, when both were still backing musicians for other artists. This production lead to Miles joining Hendrix to form the "Band Of Gypsys" with Hendrix's fellow 101st Airborne Division pal Billy Cox (William Cox; 18 Oct 1971: Wheeling, W. Virginia) on Bass, who Hendrix met in 1961 at Fort Ord, CA., the 2 played with Larry Lee in "The Casuals" before Hendrix was discharged from the military in Jun 1962.
Miles took some time away from the "Express" to work with Hendrix on "Band Of Gypsys" though the "Band Of Gypsy's" only performed 5 concerts; 2 shows on 31 Dec 1969 & 1 Jan 1970 for another 2 shows & then a 5th show on 28 Jan 1970, & released only 1 "Live" LP on Capitol Records to fulfill a lawsuit Hendrix had lost to Ed Chalpin of PPX Productions, this was last LP to be released while Hendrix was alive, “Band Of Gypsys” did release one 45 Single "Izabella b/w Steppen Stone” in Apr 1970, Reprise Records #0905, (a Non-LP) personally I feel this was a great move for Hendrix & Miles, while the drums were toned down from Mitchell's jazz style, Miles added the vocals I felt lacked in previous “Experience” recordings. There was a 2nd LP "Band Of Gypsys 2" released in 1986 & "Live At Fillmore East" CD released in 1999 & a 2nd CD "Baggy's Rehearsal Sessions" in 2002. Here’s the set list for the 4th Show performed by: “BOG”
> 1 Jan 1970 @ Filmore East, Manhattan, NYC: 2nd Show <
Power to Love
Message of Love
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
We Gotta Live Together
From about Mar 1969 to Mar 1970 Hendrix, Miles & Cox recorded some 16 tracks that were intended to be released as “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” however only the 1 single was released. Here are those tracks listed in alpha order as it would be impossible to predict what the running order would have been for this Double-LP.
Hear My Train A Comin
Hey Gypsy Boy
Let Me Move You
Message To Love
Power Of Soul
Room Full Of Mirrors
In Nov 1969 Miles & Hendrix recorded a backing track for “Lightnin Rod” titled “Doriella Du Fontaine” however this song was not released until 1984.
> Easy Greasy: 1971 <
After Miles was fired from the "Band Of Gypsys" by Hendrix's manager Michael Jeffery, allegedly, because Miles & Hendrix were ‘too close’ of friends. Miles resumed with his 3rd release that came out in 1970 "Them Changes" with Billy Cox on Bass, also in late 1970 "We Gotta Live Together" the 5th LP released was in 1971 "A Message To The People" followed later in '71 with "Live" completing his 6 LP contract with Mercury Records.
Miles then teams up with "SANTANA" to perform @ The "1972 Sunshine Festival" 1 Jan 1972 in Honalulu, HI. A live LP is released from this show "Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles: Live" later this year in Jun '72. On 21 Jan 1972 Buddy Miles performs @ the Met Center in Bloomington, MN. I am uncertain if it was with the “Express" or with "SANTANA". This collaboration with "SANTANA" leads to Miles being signed to Columbia Records for a 3 LP deal starting in 1973. the 1st being "Booger Bear" in early 1973, followed by "Chapter 7" later in 1973, followed by the 1974 release "All The Faces" completing his Columbia contract.
> More Miles Per Gallon: 1976 <
In the mid 70s Miles signs to Casablanca Records (the same record label as KISS) my friend Bobby Berge, Mile’s grade school friend is hired to play drums while Miles comes out front to sing lead & play guitar. "More Miles Per Gallon" is released in 1976 followed by "Bicentennial Gathering Of The Tribes" in 1977. It was shortly after this time that Miles did a stint in the California penal system on drug related charges, from the late 70s to the early 80s. Miles did release 1 LP while incarcerated @ the CIM prison in Chino, CA. as the "Buddy Miles Regiment" the LP "Sneak Attack" on Atlantic Records in 1981.
Miles did return to the music scene in the most unusual way in the late 80s as the Lead Vocalist & Drummer of the "California Raisins" from 1987 - 1988 where he provided the Lead Vocals for 4 LPs on Priority Records beginning with "Sing The Hit Songs" in 1987 followed by "Sweet, Delicious, & Marvelous" in early 1988, the 3rd CD (as vinyl was stopped in Jan 1988) was "Meet The Raisins" in summer of 1988 & the final CD "Christmas With" in Dec 1988.
> Blues Berries: 1994 <
Miles went on to release some 6 other CDs from 1994 to 2005, & was the headliner @ the Annual “Tommy Bolin Festival” held in Aug 2000 in Sioux City, Iowa, (coming up again on 2 Aug 2014 Sat once again in Sioux City) however I was informed due to continued occasional drug use & poor health, Miles recorded & toured intermittently. When I was working for Wax Works, our Electra Records Rep. was Jaron K. from Omaha, NE. who happened to be very close friends with Miles, due to the fact Jaron’s father played in Miles band in the 90s. When Miles played on 13 Jan 2001 in MPLS @ Cabooze as mentioned in the article “Buddy Miles Live Review – Blues On Stage” by: Al Rohweder, Jaron introduced me to Buddy, I was able to get my copy of “Band Of Gypsys” signed & ask Miles about his session work with The MONKEES.
I was at work when I received the news that Buddy had passed, I was sad but not surprised as I knew Buddy was in poor health the last few years of his life. To this day “Them Changes” is still one of my all time favorite songs, in fact I played on the last radio show I was a guest host on earlier this year on KFAI.
See you on the other side … MrZer0