Bud Solo (Audio Only):
Bud Dashiell & The Kinsmen Live At The Ash Grove On The Skip Weshner Show, KRHM 102.7 FM, 1961
All Files in MP3 format
- Skip Weshner Introduction
- Introduction To the Far Side Of The Hill
- The Far Side Of The Hill
- Introduction to Malaguena Salerosa
- Malaguena Salerosa
- Introduction to Pom Pa Lom
- Pom Pa Lom
- Introduction To I Talk To The Trees
- I Talk To The Trees
- Introduction to Guadalajara
Sound quality on this "album" is admittedly pretty poor. More than anything, the volume is very low, so one has to crank it up just to hear; however, the higher one cranks, the more noise and distortion one hears. I am able to find a somewhat comfortable setting, though, and when you do, as well, I think you are in for a treat.
These recordings are of tremendous importance historically. The year is 1961, and Bud had temporarily parted ways with Travis and formed a new group, The Kinsmen (C. Carson Parks and Bernie Armstrong, formerly the Steeltown Two). The material they play is taken directly from their debut LP on Warners, with two notable exceptions taken from the B&T ouvre: "Guadalajara" (which I see as the Kinsmen's rousing, Spanish-language set-closer a la "La Bamba" for B&T) and the chestnut "Malaguena Salerosa." It's more than a little interesting to hear Bud do "Malaguena" without Travis. I am biased, of course, but at the end of the day, I prefer B&T's versions. And don't worry, Bud fans: I say the same thing about Travis' many solo versions of the song. I don't know for sure, but both "Guadalajara" and "I Talk To The Trees" may have been introduced to the B&T repertoire only after Bud's stint with the Kinsmen, so it may well be more accurate that these two songs were lifted from the Kinsmen ouvre! No matter the case, B&T never recorded "Trees" for a studio LP, which is a shame, but you can see the somewhat shaky video of B&T performing the song on television here.
Speaking of Bud fans: these performances are also notable because of the presence of host Skip Weshner, the Los Angeles disc jockey of KRHM who originally brought Bud and Travis together. We B&T fans are surely and eternally indebted to Mr. Weshner for uniting our musical heroes, and for being the first to broadcast them on his show, before the duo had even secured a record deal. Still, I personally believe that Mr. Weshner had a strong "Bud bias" when it came to B&T, and to be honest, there are times when I find this bias to be grating and off-putting to say the least. To his credit, Bud never seemed to join in or agree with Mr. Weshner when he said some of his more questionable, if not egregious, things about Bud and Travis. To me, this is especially revealing of Bud's character, given how personal and emotional both B&T breakups were.
Specifically, I can't help but cringe when Mr. Weshner describes Bud as "the front half" (rather than simply "one half") of Bud and Travis in his introduction; I think if Mr. Weshner had ever been called on it, he would have argued that he was simply referrring to nomenclature, ie, that "Bud" is the first name in "Bud and Travis." But surely, Mr. Weshner couldn't possibly believe that his listeners were and are dim enough not to recognize the many negative implications of referring to the duo this way. We all know "front" half at least implies the "better" half, or at the very least, the "leading" half. Even worse, I think we all know that a "front half" implies a "back half" and all the double-meaning therein. Am I overreacting? Maybe, especially if this comment is taken in and of itself. But when taken in the context of a full range of other comments Mr. Weshner made over the years about Bud's two stints with Travis--many of which are about as subtle as a kick in the privates--I can't help but come to the conclusions I am stating here.
But let me be clear on a couple of important things. First, by taking Mr. Weshner to task, I don't at all mean to say or imply that I think Travis was the "better" artist of the two, either, or the "leader." My argument is that Bud and Travis transcended silly crap like that. They were about chemistry--perhaps better put, alchemy. Truly, in the case of B&T, the whole was much, much, greater than the sum of its parts. Secondly, in a purely emotional sense, I can hardly blame Skip Weshner for having his own strongly held biases, prejudices, opinions, and beliefs, any more than I can be blamed for having my own. I believe that Mr. Weshner was a good person, and he helped a lot of non-mainstream artists have a voice in a mainstream radio outlet; furthermore, he had tremendous taste in music and refused to alter that taste to suit the needs (and probably even demands) of a music and radio market that was becoming ever more commercial and unforgiving of "niche" artists and genres as the 1960s progressed. And while I believe he should have been more sensitive and careful in he ways the chose to express his feelings about B&T, I also believe that all remarks he made were primarily designed to "build up" his old friend Bud rather than to denigrate Travis.
What Might Have Been
Therefore, if I am scolding anyone here, it is Bud Dashiell and Travis Edmonson. I do so lovingly, but I do so all the same. I have spoken to many people "in the know" over the years, and I firmly believe that both of these young men were too eager to listen to friends and confidantes who were too willing and too quick to tell either one of them he was the "leader" of the group or its "better half"--even when these friends might have been saying these things with the best of intentions. Just my opinion, but there it is. Had it been otherwise, maybe we get a few more albums and a few more tours. I am not naive enough to predict B&T world domination post-1965. Aside from the combustible clash of B&T's volatile personalities, the world (at the very least, the music world) changed forever the moment The Beatles touched down in America in 1964. Really from that point forward, the folk boom, or the pop-folk explosion, or whatever you want to call it, was dead in the water, commercially. But if any pop-folk group were capable of re-inventing themselves artistically, and doing so in a credible manner, without a doubt that group was the great Bud and Travis. I have heard many people--even some people who worked in the music industry at the time--say that had Bud and Travis never broken up, there might never have been the need for a Simon and Garfunkel. Barring that, certainly in the late 70s and early 80s, when PBS started airing nostalgia shows featuring "old" folk artists, maybe B&T could have been right there with the Kingston Trio and others, throwing it down like only they could and reminding us one last time, before Bud left us far too young and far too soon, that they were the very very best at what they did, and that their music was truly timeless.
Sure, I'll cop to some selfishness here. I am well aware of the fair argument stating that Bud and Travis gave us everything they possibly could, and that we are lucky that they could stay together for as long as they did, cumulatively. And I agree. But as someone who loves the music and can't get enough of it, I also can't help but wonder what might have been. -TPS
Thanks to my friends Frank Blau and Jörg Saretzki for making these MP3s possible.
Bud Dashiell Live On The Skip Weshner Show, 1967
All Files in MP3 format
- Talk Part One
- Her Majesty
- Talk Part Two
- Talk Part Three
- A Quiet Girl
- Talk Part Four
- She Was Too Good To Me
- Talk Part Five
- Chicken Road
- Talk Part Six
- Sin Remedio
- Talk Part Seven
- Friendless Mary-O
- Talk Part Eight
- Nobody's Heart Belongs To Me
Much, much better than the Ash Grove LP above! I am no audiophile, but I have little doubt these recordings sound good enough to make a commercially released CD. Since that ain't ever gonna happen, here they are on my site! Enjoy!
I can't imagine any fan of B&T, let alone a Bud Dashiell solo fan, not jumping for joy about these recordings. What a treasure! Aside from the excellent sound quality (these tracks were made from a reel-to-reel transfer--ie, direct from the source!), you have Bud singing relatively obscure, but astoundingly beautiful and accessible material. In between the songs, Bud and Skip Weshner talk about grown-up topics intended for a grown-up audience. I won't say they 'don't" have programs like this any more today, but they sure are few and far between!
To my knowledge, the only track from this listing ever released by Bud commercially (as either a solo artist or as member of Bud and Travis) was "Lullaby," his beautiful Jesse Colin Young cover which he dedicates on air to his two daughters. Other than that, you really get to hear a side of Bud Dashiell you've never heard on record, whether live or in studio. Don't be fooled by the silly-sounding titles of "Chicken Row" or "Friendless Mary-O": I have scarcely heard more haunting vocal performances, or more haunting songs. You might never be able to hear ninkampoops like Simon Cowell praise "moving vocal performances" on American Idol ever again--that is, assuming you can stomach it to begin with!
I can hardly contain myself when I hear Bud sing boleros like "Sinceridad" and "Sin Remedio." Ah, just the thought of what these tracks would have sounded like with Travis! (Not that they're anything to squawk at here!) "She Was Too Good To Me" and "Nobody's Heart Belongs To Me" are coffee-house crooning in the most complimentary, delicious sense of the term. At the beginning of this album, Bud describes his voice as "tattered," but man, do I beg to differ! I think these performances might be his finest hour as a vocalist. It's not about hitting high or low notes; instead, it's about cutting through the plastic and getting right to the soul. Bud sings like he's channeling ancient ghosts on these songs; it's that powerful.
Skip Weshner, Redux
Just in case you think I was hard on Senor Weshner above, listen to him throughout this album, and just try to tell me I'm not right! Of course, no matter his obvious "Bud bias," Mr. Weshner's knowledge of music is encyclopedic, his tastes impeccable, and even on other topics (as long as he veers away from slamming Travis--always obliquely, of course--or B&T), he is inarguably interesting and intelligent, as is Mr. Dashiell. Only in "Talk Part Eight" do the proceedings get a little anguished. But I do mean anguished. Aside from describing B&T's live music and stage patter as "d-da dumm d-da dumm d-da dum", along with, "chit-chat", "slick", and "up and bright" (have you ever heard anything as patronizing?), Mr. Weshner's fawning over Bud in these and some other moments on the show veers toward the creepy. As I listened to it again while posting, it finally ocurred to me exactly whom Mr. Weshner reminds me of (and this is not--entirely, anyway--intended as an insult): David Dye of the current NPR music-related radio program, "The World Cafe." Given the chronology, though, perhaps I should say Dye reminds me of Weshner, but you catch my drift. Anyone who has heard Dye will know exactly what I am talking about: a very intelligent man, great knowledge and love of music, but a guy who in his effusiveness towards guests, can sometimes make James Lipton sound aloof and laconic by comparison. Mr. Weshner concludes his laughable assessment of the B&T act by stating flatly that he prefers Bud solo to B&T any day of the week ("more soul," he expounds), and of course, "nothing more need be said."
Sorry, Skip. Love ya, bro, and I will forever thank you for essentially "discovering" Bud and Travis and putting them on the radio. But plenty--plenty--more "need be said." Actually, I take that back: very little more need be said, because I can say it in two words: "You're wrong." No, make that three words: "You're darn wrong." Not about having a preference, but about the "more soul," and that your "preference" constitutes a "case closed." I say this without the slightest intention of slighting Bud as a solo artist. I think he's great, and most especially on these recordings.
I am particularly floored when Mr. Weshner details how angry and confused certain segments of B&T's audience became whenever Bud performed one of his "serious" solo numbers like "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye" during concerts. Frankly, I cannot help but think that this "phenomenon" was largely a figment of Mr. Weshner's imagination. More exactly, I suspect that the audience "reaction" Mr. Weshner perceived was more related to his somewhat righteous, even sanctimonious preference for that sort of material rather than to a real experience of an adverse audience response. I base this not only on the effusive reaction I hear to those sorts of songs on the records (not just "Johnny," but songs like "Two Brothers," etc.), but on the first-hand testimony of dozens upon dozens of B&T site visitors who have attended B&T shows and wrote to me about their experiences.
In point of fact, it's amazing how often people single out poignant numbers like "Johnny"
specifically as their favorites! Moreover, never once has anyone written to me or said to me anything along the lines of, "Man, I was having a wonderful 'chit-chatty' and 'light and bright time' unti that Dashiell had to slay my buzz with that quiet, intellectual crap." What nonsense! Great live popular music (especially when played in auditoriums, in front of big crowds) is in large measure achieved by a good balance between light and shade--ie, between fast and slow, loud and soft, the fun and the poignant, etc. It's not a matter of the quiet being "real" and the louder being "fake." No one was better at striking this live balance than B&T. Giving Bud due praise doesn't mean having to slam B&T. To that, dear Skip, "nothing else need be said."
Anyway, don't let all this ruin your appreciation of these performances, or even of Skip Weshner's lively hosting and commentary throughout the rest of this show. I assure all visitors, you are going to love these MP3s!
Thanks to my friends Frank Blau and Jörg Saretzki for making these MP3s possible.
More Songs For The Skip Weshner Show, Date Unknown
All Files in MP3 format
- Variations Of La Empaliza
- Sin Remedio
- Nunca Jamas
- El Preso Numero Nuevo
- Vereda Tropical
- Sabras Que Te Quiero
- Cancion Mixteca
- Georgia On My Mind
- Long About Now - Fragment
- No Me Quieras Tanto
- Sin Ti
OK to fair to decent.
This is much looser than the other Weshner albums above, to be sure. Bud's voice cracks and wavers in places, but there is something so darn soulful about Bud's singing that the "imperfections" just don't matter. In many cases, they add to the feeling! I especially love "Georgia On My Mind." This is blasphemy, perhaps, but I like it better than the Ray Charles version! I miss Travis the most during the Latin numbers, and I often wonder how B&T would have handled a number as dark as "El Preso Numero Nueve." I don't believe they ever performed it, and my feeling is that it just wasn't a "Travis kind of song," no matter that it is sung in Spanish.
I have obtained many slightly different versions of these performances over the years via my trading circles, and the date listed for them is never the same twice; therefore, there is some doubt over the age and (even more interesting) the intent of these performances. Some have told me that these were demos Bud made for Weshner to shop around to labels or agents--some say during the first B&T breakup in early 1961, while others say after the "final" blowout in 1966. Others insist that these songs were simply meant to be taped peformances for the Skip Weshner Show, to be broadcast at a later date. We may never know the exact intent, but I do suspect that these recording were made in the late to very late 60s. Some of the dialogue between songs strongly suggests that, but for many, many reasons, I cannot publish that dialogue here.
No matter the date or the intent, I think you you will agree that this may be a somewhat rougher portrait of Bud, but a beautiful and worthwhile online "album," anyway. And, bonus: You don't have to listen to Skip cheapshot Travis!
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