Waltzing the Blues

On Wednesday, December 19th, the “Gudde Wëllen” convened a blues evening with Pugsley Buzzard.

The year of blues concerts has been closing with a good-humoured concert at the “Gudde Wëllen”, featuring several leading lights of the Luxembourgish blues scene: Australian singer and pianist Pugsley Buzzard, the star of the evening, was surrounded by his accompanying double bass player Klaas Wendling, Luxembourgish percussionist Tom Lehnert and singer Sascha Ley.

But first, Fred Barreto opened the show with songs like the funny “The Spider and the Fly” written by the Rolling Stones or the classic “Got My Mojo Working”. Barreto, well-known in Luxembourgish blues clubs, has a nice and strong voice, but it’s his guitar playing that is the most proficient. On Wednesday, he was soon accompanied by drummer Tom Lehnert, and the two did a nice warming-up job. The first floor of the “Gudde Wëllen” really filled with people however when Pugsley Buzzard and Klaas Wendling entered the scene. Buzzard is an impressive piano player, strongly orientated towards boogie, but also a great singer; Klaas Wendling is excellent on the upright bass.

As an experienced musician, Buzzard has a very relaxed and casual attitude when singing and playing the piano, which sometimes makes other musicians sound quite academic. As for the song selection, he also has a tendency to bring up filthy stuff like “Keep on Churning till the Butter Comes” or “Shake That Thing”, but he also plays gospel or jazz standards. He and Sascha Ley, who appeared as special guest, did some pleasant vocal duets, such as “Picking up after You” by Tom Waits, followed by “Papa May Have, Mama May Have”. Associations with Tom Waits are called up more generally by Buzzards characteristic deep voice and his singing style, or in the interpretation of the songs, like with the gospel song “Lay down The Burden of Your Heart”. And when, with his last song, Pugsley Buzzard offered his audience a beautiful “Waltzing Matilda”, Tom Waits’ spirit was definitely hovering over the vibes of the “Gudde Wëllen”.

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