1/  Born Under A Bad Sign                      (Miles)                       5.07
  2/  The Change                                 (Miles,Hanson)                6.55
  3/  All Along the Watchtower                   (Dylan)                       5.02
  4/  Let It Be Me                               (KZ,Leroyer,Silly)            5.42
  5/  Come Back Home                             (Miles)                       4.34
  6/  Be Kind To Your Girlfriend                 (Miles,Levine)                4.43
  7/  The Decision                               (Miles)                       5.16
  8/  Nothing Left To Lose                       (Miles,Levine,Green)          4.26 

          Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
          Engineered by Oz Fritz and Robert Musso
          Assistants: Imad Mansour and Layng Martine
          Mixed by Jason Corsaro
          Drums and amp Maintenance: Artie Smith
          Produced by Bill Laswell
          Coordination: Tracy McKnight/Material Inc.
          Express Maintenance: Peter Wetherbee/ Bill Murphy (Axiom)
          Creative Realization: Steven Sapporta/Invasion Group Ltd.
          Mastered at Masterdisk by Howie Weinberg
          Re-issue digitally remastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtle Tone
            Studios, New York City
Buddy Miles: drums, vocals, guitar; Jeff Levine: organ, piano, clavinet; Kevon Smith & Nicky Skopelitis: guitars; Joe Thomas: bass; THE UPTOWN HORNS - Crispin Cioe: alto & baritone saxophones; Arnold Hecht: tenor saxophone; Bob Funk: trombone; Larry Etkin: trumpet.

          1994 - Black Arc/Rykodisc (USA), RCD 10305 (CD)
          2004 - Innerhythmic (USA), INR015 (CD)
Note: Bill Laswell does not play on this album.


On the decidedly rockier side of things comes the Buddy Miles Express with Hell and Back (InnerRhythmic). Produced by Bill Laswell, this crunchy outing by the former Band of Gypsys drummer and black-rock pioneer is a throwback to the funky, hard-hitting outings that Miles and the Express put out for Casablanca Records in the '70s. Included are potent remakes of Albert King's seminal blues-rocker "Born Under a Bad Sign" and Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," which recaptures some of the swirling psychedelia and wah-wah-inflected magic that Jimi Hendrix slapped on that tune back in the late '60s.

Elsewhere, Miles slams big-as-a-house backbeats behind an organ-fueled, gospel-flavored "The Change" and then resorts to the worst form of schmaltz on a soul-injected remake of the Everly Brothers' ballad "Let It Be Me." The Uptown Horns add a Stax/Volt punch to "Be Kind to Your Girlfriend" and provide a kind of Brecker Brothers meets Fela kick on the lone instrumental, "The Decision." In terms of sheer drumming technique, Miles is not even in the same league as any of the drummers mentioned in this roundup. But none of the others can throw down as nasty as Miles does on the ultrafunkified closer "Nothing Left to Lose."

Bill Milkowski (courtesy of the Jazz Times website)