Finnish singer/ guitarist/ composer Jussi “Jo’ Buddy” Raulamo has played with just about every bluesman to pass through Finland and more on his pilgrimages to the States. Howard Armstrong, Eddy Clearwater, Maceo Parker, Lazy Lester, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Junior Watson, Carlos Guitarlos, Rick Holmstrom, Larry Taylor, Chris Thomas King, Lynwood Slim, Paul Senegal, Jim Kweskin, Doyle Bramhall, Sr., Gene Taylor, Doug MacLeod, Lurrie Bell, Diz Watson – you get the idea.
Among other adjectives, his bio describes his music as laid-back. But if this is what passes for laid-back in Finland, one has to wonder what’s considered wild. To be sure, there are loping shuff les a la Jimmy Reed, like the title track, but “Elevator Boogie” sounds like a stripped down Junior Parker, and at times this duo (just Raulamo and drummer Down Home King III) stirs up as much racket as Hound Dog Taylor’s trio. “Wonderin’ Blues” recalls Howlin’ Wolf, and, with Veli-Matti Jarvenpaa and Tommi Laine guesting on accordion and rubboard, Buddy and King whip up a “Zydeco Ball” so vivid you can almost smell the crawfish boiling.
Having retired his ’59 Klira archtop and ’53 Salora tube radio amp, Raulamo now plays a hollowbody Höfner Club with P-90s through a ’41 Gibson EH-125 – but he’d probably sound just as raw and lowdown through any setup. As Charlie Musselwhite states, “There’s something about him that really reminds me of Magic Sam – the same personality and humor and the way he plays. If he had told me he grew up in Chicago next door to Magic Sam, I would’ve believed him. But, in reality, somehow Jo’ Buddy just ‘got it’ – all on his own. That’s a very cool thing.”
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.