Blues for Buddy Miles

Jim Hendrix and Buddy Miles.jpg

Submitted by Michael Williams

Buddy Miles was born George Miles in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sept 5th, 1947. His father was a bassist with Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Dexter Gordon and Duke Ellington.  Buddy was surrounded by music and musicians; he hit the road as a teenager.

In 1964 in Vancouver, Buddy Miles, who was backing up Ruby and the Romantics, met Jimi Hendrix who was backing the Isley Brothers. Later he played with The Delfonics, The Ink Spots and Wilson Pickett. In 1967, Buddy Miles was part of a band called TV Mama - an American RnB band playing at the Montreal’s Esquire Show Bar.  After the gig Buddy Miles hung out in Montreal for two weeks with Wally Rossunolo (aka Walter Rossi) jamming. Then Buddy Miles suggested Walter Rossi for Wilson Pickett’s new band which changed Walter Rossi’s life and music forever. Buddy Miles joined Michael Bloomfield in Electric Flag, the first rock soul blues horn band and blueprint for Blood, Sweat and Tears later formed by Al Kooper.  Buddy Miles then joined with Walter Rossi for his classic 1970 release “Them Changes”.

While Buddy Miles was on his death bed, Stevie Winwood and Eric Clapton paid tribute to him by performing “Them Changes" every night of their tour together. A call was made so he could hear it via cell phone.

Buddy Miles continued to record till his death and worked with Jimi Hendrix Family member, Henry Brown from Vancouver, and HB Concept, Bill Laswell and Bernard Fowler.

Buddy Miles was a great musician, a talented producer, writer, guitarist, vocalist and drummer. His arrangements of the Allmans Brothers "Dreams" and Neil Young's "Down by the River" are classics covers. His work with Band of Gypsies, Carlos Santana, Bill Laswell, and Wilson Pickett is brilliant. Unfortunately his biggest success is the "California Raisins".

Buddy Miles was a role model and hero...he personified the term crossover and never stole a beat to eat, he was a true original. Go to 7:20 in this clip to find out what happened really to the Band of Gypsies.

Reading this you may be thinking “how I could have missed the music of Buddy Miles?” If you did, blame it on race, radio and the American way.

Buddy Miles Playboy After Dark:

My short, tribute to the great Buddy Miles.

Michael E. Williams