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Rasta slinky


Two Sundays ago I shoehorned The Buddhahood --- the whole Buddhahood --- into the 98-9 BUZZ studios for a cacophonous, polyrhythmic, sexy, super-shimmy-shakedown boogaloo on The Sunday Night Shakedown (my Rochester-music show). The band mixed New Orleans jazz with Afro-Cuban joy. When the band hits the stage and the electric stuff gets plugged in, they get a little Rasta slinky. Talk about world beat. The sound was unavoidably huge and mesmerizing.

Preceding the Buddhahood's on-air blast was father-son guitar duo Shared Genes. Sam and Teddy Nicolosi rely heavy on the acoustic alchemy of Acoustic Alchemy as an influence. Teddy's just 13 years old and exhibits a fresh yet studied approach to a fairly complicated fingerstyle. It's amazing how flawlessly he plays now. Just give the kid a few years, and there's no tellin' what he'll be able to do.

And speaking of kids, I braved the thruway last Friday down to Verona, New York, to catch The Fabulous Thunderbirds rock the Turning Stone Casino Showroom. The T-Birds have had a revolving door as far as guitar players go ever since co-founder Jimmie Vaughn split. The ranks have been filled by cats like Duke Robillard and Kid Ramos. And now it's 28-year-old Nick Curran, former lead picker for the late, great Ronnie Dawson. Once Curran left the Dawson fold he dug into his blues roots, resurrecting the loud 'n' tight twang of cats like Pee Wee Crayton, T-Bone Walker, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. But within all that gabardine slickster cool you could hear a little Jimmie Vaughn.

Well now Curran's in The Thunderbirds and the band hasn't sounded better. It's pretty much a new band now --- kids playing the music they were raised on alongside the ones who actually wrote it. Singer-harmonica player Kim Wilson and legendary piano man Gene Taylor led these greasy pups through the T-Bird catalogue, frequently dipping in to pull out some gems from their earlier LPs, some recorded when Curran was in diapers.

But Curran proved to be too strong to be merely led. Looking like Joe Strummer, he pushed the band with his ferocious twang and grinding shuffle. When he took the mic to sing "You Really Torture Me" while pickin' like Magic Sam, you could see the dream had come true.

--- Frank De Blase