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Buffalo Killers (from the album Stay Tuff on Alive NaturalSound Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Buffalo Killers chose to open their vaults with a collection of heretofore unreleased tracks that further elaborate on a sound best described as a throw-back to the music made in the late ‘60s and ‘early ‘70s. In a more specific sense, it’s drawn from the bands that defined West Coast rock back in the day — Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape, and Grateful Dead being among the most obvious.
Yet even despite its disparate origins, the songs hold together remarkably well. The cohesive melodies, flush with their surging rhythms, synched guitars and anthemic refrains, provide each offering with the resilience and resolve Buffalo Killers typically ingrain in each effort.
While Stay Tuff implies some sturdy sentiment, the music retains an assurance and accessibility that’s well in keeping with the dayglo appeal that was once intrinsic to that iconic era which provides the band with its inspiration. Although the material was initially relegated either to B-side status or omitted entirely, the collection still stands up to the work found on their earlier albums. “Don’t You Ever Think I Cry” belies the sorrow the song’s title might suggest, courtesy of the perky rhythms and upturned attitude. The ballad “Love Is Gold” sounds like an outtake from The Beatles’ Abbey Road or White Album, just as “Huma Bird” might have been one of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s more obscure offerings. The solid stomp of “Still Water Runs Deep”, the semi-psychedelic strains of “Good Feeling”, and the spiraling refrain within the aptly-dubbed “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha Na Boom Boom Yeah)” elevated the enticement of a set of songs that often seem borne from another era, but even so, come across as fresh and resilient as well.
If Stay Tuff was meant to reflect Buffalo Killer’s drive and durability, suffice it to say it succeeds in more than name alone. As far as the overall scope of the band’s catalog is concerned, it might easily be considered an essential collection.
(by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Buffalo Killers from the Alive NaturalSound website
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