Budos Band has long been one of my top bands to listen to and see live. They’ve just released their sixth studio album “Long In The Tooth” and in a longstanding tradition, it’s thematic and terrific. Listening to the Budos is always an adrenaline rush.
They started out as a superb Afrobeat band on Daptone Records. There always have been dark undertones in their music as you can see from the album covers below starting with the volcano, then scorpion, then cobra. The Budos Band morphed their sound to be especially dark and edgy with their fourth album “Burnt Offering” (the Wizard) and continued on “V”.
Now I typically describe them as dark funk or metal funk. Every time I listen I feel like I’m either on a mystical, epic adventure or in imminent danger. Long In The Tooth’s fully lives up to that with a Western theme, with several of the titles reflecting that throughout. Here’s my track-by-track take on the album.
Long in the Tooth starts with a few bars of Mike Deller on organ with percussion sounding like you’re entering the vortex and they’re joined quickly by the horns setting the tone of severity. By the time Tom Brenneck’s guitar sets in, it already feels like a horseback ride through the Wild West. The horn’s severe tones along with the organ-guitar coupling signals the beginning of an adventure. The fade leads right into the next…
Sixth Hammer also starts with some swirling organ and guitar meshing and then there’s the thunderous timpanis in the back played by Moon Bancs. It’s a subtle but highly effective addition to the Budos arsenal. Brenneck’s one of the band’s founders and his style is all over this album. There’s a nice short break solo by Brian Profilio on drums and then some cool back and forth between him and the horns. Jared Tankel takes one of his classic, but short, bari solos. His sound at the low end is always a key to the Budos sound.
Snake Hawk has one of the spookiest openings with some repeating organ chords before the horns carry the main theme. The percussion actually can sound like horse hooves clapping in – like riding into that western town for the showdown. The fade out has that eerie warped sound that Budos has perfected.
Dusterado opens with a drum solo very reminiscent of the beginning of Ravel’s Bolero. Brenneck is up second along with Mike Deller sustaining on organ. Of course the horns smack with a a six note repeat head before ceding back to Brenneck-Deller with a classic ride. There’s a terrific clarion call trumpet after the horns reenter that feels like it must be the Dusterado, presumably a character out on the dusty plains.
Silver Stallion slow rolls the horns in the opening with some sweet organ and guitar interplay following. Jared interjects some of his trademark horn squeals in the background. The horn only fadeout echoes into the next tune.
Haunted Sea once again starts with Brenneck on guitar but there’s a cool rattlesnake sounding percussion popping in early. The full percussion section enters next and then it feels like a gunslinger them. The high pitched horn squeals signal trouble afoot. Towards the ending break there’s a slowdown section that sounds like we’re heading to the gallows before a complete silent pause and then the closeout.
The Wrangler has Deller on organ and the horns dominate the main melody but Brenneck adds darkness in the fills. There’s a nice but short trumpet solo around the midpoint and then the head rolls out right to the end but with an organ only fade.
Gun Metal Grey leads with guitar and the horns come in with the longer overall theme. It definitely feels like two antagonists are facing off in a duel with the whole town watching. At around the 2-minute mark Tankel takes the first semi-long bari solo, something I enjoy so much on each album. His range is incredible of course from the deep end up to squeaks, squawks and screams at the top end that provide a lot of the scary sounds to Budos.
Mierda De Toro translates literally to “bullshit” but this song is anything but. It definitely has a Spanish flair starting with a dramatic pounding intro. It’s another one where a poncho-wearing hombre could be facing off with another desperado at twenty paces. Worth mentioning here, and throughout the album, is the stellar bass worth of Dan Foder, another key to the menacing sound. His playing live is a site to see, holding the bass in front of him like an upright among other positions and slashing around on stage. He’s definitely one to keep your eye on live.
Budonian Knight opens with some very dark themes from Foder with Brenneck and Deller joining quickly followed by the horns.Brenneck’s sustained chords can be downright scary and the pulsing horns make this a memorable tune, including the squeals sounding like horses braying.
Renegade starts with some almost mystical, churchy organ and bass combo. The tune is definitely a Dellar showcase. Brenneck takes a nice solo up to the middle of the song when a blurring, vortex affect takes over and it sounds like we’re skipping through time, in a tunnel or underwater with just guitar and some scratching sounds before the band recovers to the opening theme but with the blurring and scratching right to the end. Then there’s the final left to right speaker vortex psychic closeout.
Long In the Tooth is a great addition to the Budos catalog. For me, it is less about their original Afrobeat sound although that is still present, and less about the dark metal funk sound of Burnt Offering and V, and really driving on the dark aspects of a spaghetti western theme. No matter what type of music you like, this one will tickle your eardrums.
Purchase Long In The Tooth here
The Budos Band:
Brian Profilio -Drums
Dan Foder – Bass
Tom Brenneck – Guitar
Mike Deller – Organ
Bobby Lombardo – Conga
Jared Tankel – Baritone Sax
Andrew Greene – Trumpet
Dave Guy – Trumpet
Rich Terrana – Cowbell
Moon Bancs – Timpani