Juzzie Smith – The One Man Band that will blow you away
Juzzie Smith is one of those happy coincidental discoveries. It just so happened that, while my mother was out in Australia visiting us on holiday, we took her up the Sunshine Coast for the weekend. While up there, we decided to take a trip to the Eumundi Markets, which always has some interesting stalls up.
Of course, it took me all of two minutes to grow tired of shopping, so I went off for a wander around the food stalls, as I am wont to do. (What, I was hungry and the German Kransky Sausages smell was calling to me, ok? Never mind that I’m still nursing a burn on my tongue from the hot, but oh-so-delicious cheese. Ahem… back on track)
So while I was wandering around, nursing an inflamed tongue, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a one-man-band playing. A lap slide guitar, some mean harp… I was instantly pulled towards the sounds. And what I found, when I reached the source, was one-man-band and one-man-smiling-machine, Juzzie Smith.
Juzzie is the quintessential busker. Talking to the crowd, he explained that this was his life: travelling the world with his wife and daughter, performing his music live for whoever will listen to it, and flogging his recordings when he can. Ultimately, Juzzie lives the romantic notion of the travelling musician that others of us only dream of. Not only did Juzzie rekindle that fire in my belly of what music can do with his tales, but his music itself was a sheer primal force.
Needless to say, I bought two of his CDs right there and then.
There is one, slight, downer here though. I have to say that Juzzie live simply does not come across in Juzzie recorded. I’m not sure what it is, maybe that grit that comes from hearing someone perform on the sidewalk is washed away in a steril studio… but while the recordings are great, they don’t quite stand up to Juzzie Smith live.
I’m not sure anything ever will.
That said, here’s a tune from Juzzie’s “happy Daze” release, called… you guessed it, “Travelling”.
Listen. Love. Support.
Listen: Juzzie Smith – Travelling