Buddy Miles was a massive presence in sixties and seventies funk and rock music.
His extensive CV saw him as one of the founding members of Electric Flag with Mike Blooomfield & Nick Gravenites, around 10 tracks with Jimi Hendrix and later being the drummer with Hendrix’ Band Of Gypsies, he played with John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana and even with the Family Stone. His solo career was also extensive, spanning around 14 albums before his untimely death in 2008.
‘Chapter VII’ was released in 1973, originally on Columbia.
So, relevance in 2018?
It is a great piece of soul/funk/gospel from beginning to end and I found myself completely captured by the never ending rhythms, stunning horns and guitar licks (courtesy of Adrian Gurvitz) that all go together to support the groove first and foremost.
There is tons of variation in the album from the guitar led Blues of ‘L.A. Resurrection’ through ‘Elvira’ which has a Family Stone strut and Jackson Five vocal groove and the soul/Blues of ‘Crossfire’; every track is driven by Miles powerful drumming, everything is built around the beat.
The other thing that comes across in track after track is a sense of freedom. In today’s world of Jam bands this would still stand out in its’ free expression and jamming around the theme.
A couple of the numbers do sound dated: ‘There Was A Time’ is a slow ‘hug your partner on the dancefloor’ number in a modern world where the concept is pretty well past.
But you also get the single version of ‘Them Changes’ – a live collaboration with Carlos Santana – as a bonus track and that more than makes up for it.
A damn good album and well worthy of a decent reissue.
By Andy Snipper
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