In the hands of a wise person, artistic freedom can be a beautiful thing. So often, artists signed to big record labels are obliged to create a recording in a manner acceptable to the powers that be. To some artists, this may be a good thing but to others it can truly stifle their creative genius. . Bugs Henderson is a man who has always done things his own way. His lack of a big record deal may have cost him to miss out on the sales and marketing power that a major label provides, but it has allowed him to stay true to playing and recording the music he loves best.

Though it may have cost him monetarily, the exercise of his artistic freedom has begotten a beautiful thing.
Bugs Henderson is a living encyclopedia of American music. His musical influences run from Link Wray to Hendrix; from George Jones to the Cream. Within most of his recordings, the listener will be treated to tasty offerings of blues, rock, 50s, rockabilly, country, and any number of other forms of music, all done with the flair and style that only Bugs can deliver. He is one of few performers who can work an audience into a frenzy with a Muddy Waters tune and follow it up with an instrumental medley of hits from the Ventures without losing momentum.

“Live at the Meisenfrei”, though not billed as such, is a greatest hits live set, of sorts. It is a two disc set of Henderson favorites, many written by him. Within this wonderful work, there is something for everyone. Bugs, long time bassist Keith Jones, and son Buddy Henderson on drums serve up classic blues numbers such as Freddie King’s “Hide Away” and Muddy’s “Got My Mojo Working” along with smoking blues/rock originals like “Heartbreak Gumbo” and “Honey Mama”. From instrumentals and cry in your beer ballads to hard driving ear busters you will find them all here. To paraphrase Bugs, this ain’t elevator music, so play it loudly. The CDs include Bugs’ trademark audio liner notes, by which fans may hear him personally talk about the songs and the CD. I always found this to be quite an added bonus and I have wondered why more artists do not follow after this practice.

“Live at the Meisenfrei” is a delightful sojourn of over 2 hours through not only an audio history of American music but the incredibly diverse works of one legendary artist, Bugs Henderson. I ordered my copy directly from Taxim Records in Germany, who delivered them to my door in a remarkably short time. It is also available though online CD stores such as Rockhouse Records.

The Band:
Bugs Henderson: guitar, vocals
Keith Jones: bass
Buddy Henderson: drums

Tracks:
Disc 1: 1. Hide Away 2. Heartbreak Gumbo 3. Big D Shuffle 4. Chain Me 5. Love Junkie 6. Lost in the Shuffle 7. Honey Mama 8. Blues in Reverse 9. Drug Store Blues 10.Daredevils of the Red Guitar 11.The Big Roar 12.It Ain’t Noboby’s Business If I Do

Disc 2: 1. Got My Mojo Working 2. Rocket in My Pocket 3. Ventures Medley 4. Outside Woman Blues 5. Blue Casino 6. Johnny Heat 7. Texas Ballbuster 8. Dance Till The Moon Go Down 9. Lucille 10.Big D Shuffle/Link Wray Medley 11.Audio Liner Notes

Taxim Records 2000

© Bluesrockers 2001

Reviewer

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