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Bubbadinos Reviews

Los' Bubbadinos Reviews


The Bubbadinos,
We're Really Making Music Now
(Zerx 014)

...... The Bubbadinos call what they do "honky tonk music," but don't expect ragtime here. This isn't the music of the honky tonk brothels of the deep south, or even music of the city at all, but deliberately rural, "pure American" redneck music which intends to make you squeal like a piglet. "It's 'bad' awful," explains The Bubbadinos' Mark Weber in his helpful sleeve notes. "Seriously, if you've got a jones for correctness, such as metrical rhythms, proper intonation, western ideas about harmony, then this band is definitely not for you."
Well, that might be going a bit far. These boys -- Mark Weaver (tuba), Stefan Dill (guitar, trumpet), Bubba D (lap steel, bass flute, piano, drums), Mark Weber (covals, guitar, violin, harmonica) and Ken Keppeler (violin, mandolin, banjo, accordion, harmonica) -- know the chords to old songs like "Oh Bury Me Not On The Trail," and not-so-old ones like "Fading Into The Sunset," they do indeed mostly have nice 4/4 metrical rhythms and Weber's voice is pure moonshine. What they do manage to do is create something very special within those parameters.
Their songs seem to struggle with a wall of reverberating, slightly dissonant violins and feedbacked weirdness, and the recognizable world of blues and cowboy songs is delicately balanced against the band's tendency towards strange textures and noisy outbursts. Far from a what-will-they-do-next experience, however, listening to this disc has a satisfying gestalt quality which is not at all easy to achieve.
Don't believe a word of their appeals to "front porch style" music, and certainly not "the blood songs of the American working class" (thirteen of the twenty tracks are original compositions). This is a highly electrified, very contemporary band creating an image of America which is extremely sophisticated but which isn't to be taken for the real thing, which it rather self-evidently isn't, and which is all the better for it. One of the most puzzling and fascinating of recent releases, this is also very enjoyable, and can even be played at parties (the sedate sort where you can get away with Tom Waits, I mean). ........

Rambles Magazine


The Bubbadinos
We're Really Making Music Now
(Zerx 014)

This oddly magnificent curio, while helpfully categorized on its back cover as "Honky Tonk Chamber Music," actually defies -- and quite possibly defiles -- such handy self-categorization. From no less than its very opening benediction ("Lone Prairie" --Residents-style, that is) through its continuous wilding loops from surprise (Ernest Tubb meets Leon Redbone) into sonic surprise (Johnny Paycheck by way of the circa 1972 Magic Band even!), these here Bubbadinos have concocted nothing short of a carnival-glass journey through the deepest, dankest reaches of the Far, FAR West, yet in doing so never ever fail to keep the ear both interested and fascinated -- despite all notions to the contrary, it sometimes seems.
Its twenty tracks sequentially sliced 'n' diced in all the right places by composer Mark Weber's delightfully whacked li'l Uneasy Listening interludes (with Mark Weaver's ubiquitous tuba employed more sparingly -- and thus effectively -- than a whole posse of Brave Combos), it's a danger at times to pass off these here entire proceedings as nothing more than mere Zappaesque gut-bucket novelty. But one listen to the oddly luscious "Pastoral In Open D" (which scouts uncharted territories even the "Aereo Plain"-era John Hartford passed by) and especially the truly magnum "Albuquerque Nocturne" (like some cruelly cast-off "Smile" experiment, it's no less than "Cabinessence" times Ten, I kid you not!), "We're Really Making Music Now" certainly demonstrates there's some, uh, serious music-making -- and genre-breaking -- going on within the Bubbadinos' ranks.
Hopefully, these merry mavericks are at this moment busy stirring up their next hour's worth of digital wonder. They should also "seriously" consider getting their marvelous work either out there on the road and/or up into the nearest Cronenberg film score as soon as is humanly possible. Okay, guys?

By Gary "Pig" Gold , In Music We Trust


The Bubbadinos
The Band Only A Mother Could Love
(Zerx 021)

As it sez right there on the slip cover, "Ultra Americana Deluxe." And may I just add to that, here and right now, that these here Bubbadinos continue to explore the EXTREMELY-alt.Western kinda canyons even Johnny Dowd merely peers down every now and then.
Focal point, as always, is the slip-jawed Tom Waits-ery of Mark Weber's lead vocals, not to mention covers of traditional slices of, yes, Americana ("Clementine" and "Yankee Doodle," f'rinstance) which you're surely not about to hear filling pre-newscast holes on NPR anytime during our particular lifetimes. Speaking of which, the "You Are My Sunshine" included rivals even Dennis Wilson's "Smile" treatment of same, while "Singing The Blues" and Steve Earle's "The Mountain" can quite possibly even be considered definitive.
Check out each bandmember's solo spots as well (especially the Jimi-thru-the-spooking-glass "Goin' Home" and, I kid you not, "Amazing Grace" gone flamenco!) Only during this disc's concluding minutes do "The Big Offramps Of Life" and "Party Line" hint at the band's big, cinemascopic-wide "Sgt. Bubbadino" sessions to come, but the other fifty-odd minutes provide more than their fair share of Uneasy Listening Pleasure as well.

Turn it on, tune in, drop far out.

By Gary "Pig" Gold, In Music We Trust


Los Bubbadinos
Yup, We're Beating a Dead Horse
(The Sgt. Bubbadino Sessions)

(Zerx 034)

The latest dispatch from this New Mexico band is another fascinating collection of songs, most of them by Mark Weber, whose vocals continue to have an appeal that a listener not yet jaded by the ways of the commercial world might even assume might have a place on Top 40 radio. He certainly is charming, and the varied and sometimes intricate backup from his musical associates doesn't hurt a bit. As seems to be the way with this group, some of the tracks depart from the song norm completely in order to present performances such as a multi-tracked collage by J.A. Deane, himself a well-respected performer on the avant-garde scene as well as seeming to be a member of this band, although a secretive one. Choices of covers are good, including a fine tune by the underrated songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Several tracks of poetry also show that the group is aiming at a sophisticated, intelligent audience, which all those interested in creative American music surely hope the group will find.

Posted by Eugene Chadbourne | Jun 18, 2004 @ Music.com

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