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Instrumental stars finally gel as team

Travellin' Tracks
Travellin' Tracks
By Roy Rogers & Norton Buffalo

Blind Pig Records: 1993

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This review first appeared in the Spring 1993 edition of Blues Revue Quarterly magazine (now Blues Revue).

The second outing by the duo of Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo is far more rewarding than its predecessor, "R&B."

Guitarist Rogers is best known for his years opening for and backing John Lee Hooker, while Buffalo first gained fame playing harmonica with rock star Steve Miller.

On this release, the material is closer to Hooker than Miller, with a more focused emphasis on the blues than their first album (which tends to wander from style to style).

"Travellin' Tracks" is half acoustic studio recording and half life performances, where they're backed by a rhythm section. Both settings offer rewarding performances, although perhaps the studio setting seems more interesting if only because it is as instrumentalists that these two shine most: neither Rogers nor Buffalo has a particularly strong singing voice. Still, their live rendition of Elmore James' "Shake Your Moneymaker" would be a winner anywhere.

The majority of the songs here are originals, with Buffalo's "Buffalo Cajun Mambo" and "Big Jake" and Rogers' "Down in Mississippi" the best of a very strong set of compositions.

This is an excellent album by a pair of virtuosi who combine their technical prowess with artistic vision and taste for a complete musical statement.