Finnish guitarist/vocalist Jussi “Jo’ Buddy” Raulamo has garnered praise from such kindred blues spirits as Junior Watson, Kim Wilson, Doug McLeod, and Rick Holmstrom, and it’s easy to see why. His blues is so raw, heartfelt, and lowdown, the effect is hypnotic.
Though he is also known for his group outings with Groovy Eyes, Tiny Tones, and others, this is his second CD with percussionist Down Home King III. This two-man band – just guitar and drums, recorded live in the studio with only occasional harmony vocal overdubs – proves they don’t need any additional window dressing; they’ve got everything they need.
From the Hooker-esque opener, “Howlin’ These Blues,” to the soul-strutting “Everybody’s Got The Right” and the dead-on Jimmy Reed sounds of “Have Yourself A Ball,” Raulamo hits the nail on the head time and again on this set of originals. “Thank You Mr. Lockwood Jr.” reveals one of his influences, but Louis Myers, Muddy Waters, Guitar Junior, and Jimmy Rogers are also in evidence, along with Hound Dog Taylor slide on “Way Back Rag.”
The “low” in “lowdown” comes, in part, from Jo’ Buddy’s 1959 German Klira electric arch-top, which he tunes two steps down from standard – a low C for the sixth string. The other components of his killer tone are a 1953 Finnish Salora tube radio (three watts) fed through a new Epiphone Valve Junior slave amp (five watts), with a reissue Fender Reverb tank and Schaller tremolo pedal as his only effects. Vocals go through a Finnish Cream Sound guitar amp, because, as he explains, “I want my vocal and guitar tone to be the same without being too loud.”
He may be from Finland and sing in English, but Jo’ Buddy’s first language is the blues.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jul. ’08 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.