J.D. Buhl Band | Some Are Still Not Free

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Some Are Still Not Free

by J.D. Buhl Band

"How can you think of returning to sea when some are still not free?"
Genre: Rock: Rock & Roll
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Burn It Down, Bernadette
4:39 $0.99
2. Wrong from the Start
2:30 $0.99
3. My Favorite Shadow
3:59 $0.99
4. Everything Is Temporary
3:00 $0.99
5. I Gave Up
4:55 $0.99
6. She Moves Me When She Moves
1:55 $0.99
7. Baby
2:15 $0.99
8. Some Are Still Not Free
4:34 $0.99
9. Going Back to Cassie
3:47 $0.99
10. Nothing
3:59 $0.99
11. Crackup Time
3:28 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A real Berkeley all-star aggregation, the J.D. Buhl Band is where members of the Jars, the Believers, and the Psycotic Pineapple meet to rock 'n' roll. The rhythm section of drummer Andrew Broadbent (Believers, New Critics) and John C. Berry (Psycotic Pineapple, Tearjerkers) is the driving wheel. First brought together for the "Esmeralda" single in 2014, this nowhere-else team powers ten new songs with lyrics by J.D., and one sizzling cover of the Sorrows' "Baby." The band is completed by Mik Dow (Jars) on guitar and keyboards and Mark Ungar (Gravelspreaders) on guitar. Guest vocalists and instrumentalists make each track shine while the songs coalesce into a satisfying whole. Intelligent, instinctual and authentic!



to write a review

James Marinovich

Here Comes Everybody
At the heart of this, JD Buhl’s first album of all-new material for nigh-on 20 years, lies the song, “I Gave Up,” and most likely you have not heard so visceral a litany of disavowals since John Lennon proclaimed the end of his own dream on Plastic Ono Band. “I gave up on magic,” Buhl sings, “I gave up on romance, I gave up on ‘let’s try again,’ I gave up on symbol, I gave up on metaphor, I gave up, then I gave in.”
And with what are we left, when all such values have been tossed? Only music, music and songs, and as metaphor and symbol are among the jettisoned, these songs will not portray any single individual’s life or struggles, expressed in idiosyncrasy or solipsism, these will reflect all our lives, in a voice that could belong to any of us.
I recall Greil Marcus writing in Invisible Republic something about a certain kind of song that has the feel of being discovered under a rock, songs so universal they are as natural as flowers growing in fields or clouds floating across the sky. The songs on Some Are Still Not Free strike me like that.
J.D. Buhl wrote them with his band (aside from one cover, The Sorrows’ “Baby,” a piece of rock n roll minimalism that fits in perfectly with the proceedings) and he sings them, but they speak for all of us, you don’t need any kind of metaphysical key to open up their meaning, the songs are keys themselves, and that which they access is already ours. Oddly enough, these must be the most difficult kinds of songs to write, because there are not many of them being produced these days, not that I have heard, anyway (you may have had better luck), which makes an album like this, when it comes around, something quite special.
When, on the opening track, he implores “Burn it down, burn it down, burn it down, Bernadette,” with a voice trenchant as Van Morrison’s singing about TB Sheets, we have all known the person he is addressing, perhaps we have even been her.
Neither transcendence nor even the intimation of transcendence is promoted here, these are very much songs of this world, epitomized by the sublime title track (for my money, one of the very finest JD Buhl has produced over his long career) where, amid haunting melodica, ukelele and fretless bass, he sings “We are driven by our fear and our love, There’s no below, and no above.”
Throughout, the band provides not only the perfect accompaniment for these songs, they very much participate in articulating the message. The keyboards and lead guitar on “Wrong from the Start” capture perfectly the sense of an ill-starred relationship, the lead guitar on “My Favorite Shadow” augments the moral freefall of which Buhl sings, and the manic slide guitar on “Everything Is Temporary” expresses exactly that sentiment.
“Going Back to Cassie” would not have been out of place as a drunken sing-along on Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes, and “Nothing” has the lyricism, guitar attack and relentless rhythm of a Neil Young and Crazy Horse tune.
The album closes with the powerpop rocker “Crackup Time,” and the song is neither a closing statement nor a poignant finale--the album just ends there, with a rock n roll fadeout, that’s all. The music, the songs, will go on, they never leave us, it is us that leaves them, in time.