Shagg | Buh Ba Ba Ba

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United States - NY - New York City

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Rock: Acoustic Pop: Pop/Rock Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Buh Ba Ba Ba

by Shagg

Pop/rock that gets a groove on. Two finalists in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and a CMJ editors' pick for the American Music Awards.
Genre: Rock: Acoustic
Release Date: 

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  song title
1. Walk Through Me
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3:34 $0.99
2. Peach
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3:40 $0.99
3. Just Ain't Enough
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3:15 $0.99
4. Between Words
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4:16 $0.99
5. Michael Thought He Could Fly
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5:41 $0.99
6. Shade of Melancholy
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4:33 $0.99
7. Renewal
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3:02 $0.99
8. Your Golden Rule
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3:38 $0.99
9. Butterfly Kiss
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3:15 $0.99
10. Leila Rose
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4:20 $0.99
11. Buh Ba Ba Ba
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4:21 $0.99
12. City in the Sky
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3:40 $0.99
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Album Notes
BUH BA BA BA is the first full-length recording from Shagg, a band originally formed in Brooklyn in 1997. Shagg's award-winning songs combine catchy pop/rock with a 1970s funk and soul aesthetic -- think Al Green fronting the Dave Matthews Band.

Shagg started humbly with apartment jams and coffeehouse performances. As the band added members and acquired new fans, their writing evolved from folksy, roots-based songs to full-blown compositions borrowing liberally from jazz, funk, soul, and world music. (The song "Between Words" dates back to those early jams.)

The band recorded their first demo in early 2000 with producer Stephen Shirk (Marc Ribot y los Cubanos Postizos, Michael Maxwell), who was eager to bring a little studio magic to Shagg's homegrown sound. Those sessions resulted in the Peach EP, featuring "Shade of Melancholy" and "Just Ain't Enough," both finalists in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest that year. Updated versions of these and other songs like "Peach" and "Your Golden Rule" appear on BUH BA BA BA.

After a string of New York City club dates, the band returned to the studio with producer Joe DeVico (Joe Elefante, Dave Murphy), best known for his work with jazz ensembles. The goal was to make a record that captured the band's live sound, with a minimum of overdubbing. The result is BUH BA BA BA, 12 songs ranging from the exuberant funk of the title track to the aching "Shade of Melancholy." The album art represents the seven musicians who collaborated to make each song a unique performance.

Based on rough mixes from the BUH BA BA BA sessions, Shagg was selected by the editors of CMJ to compete for the Coca-Cola New Music Award, which is the unsigned artist category of Dick Clark's American Music Awards. Shagg didn't win, but they knew they were on the right track.


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All Music Guide

Tasteful and tight ... a seamless and highly recommended soul-rock mélange.
The accent's on the second syllable in the awful title of a remarkably good album. Shagg's melding of blues, jazz, rock, and funk elements is a winning combination, the piercing sax work of PJ Loughran making Buh Ba Ba Ba particularly recommended to Dave Matthews Band fans. Loughran's playing especially stands out on the patiently mid-tempo tracks "Peach" and "Just Ain't Enough." But it's "Shade of Melancholy," a smoggy-jazz whole-group effort, that is the album's must-hear track. Its smoky vocals and uplifting vibe suggest a close affinity with Ben Harper at his best. On the remainder of the album, several individual performances stand out: guitarist Michael Preston offers the same smartly restrained melodic backing as he did in his work with fellow N.Y.C. band Mimi Ferocious, saxophonist Loughran lends many tracks just the right balance of smoothness and tartness, and guest player Mike Brown enlivens the closing ballad "City in the Sky" with a gorgeous flute solo. Vocalist Aaron Mitchell, though, is clearly the centerpiece of this record: he comes at notes from unexpected angles, delivering hits like a sneaky boxer, sometimes overly melismatic in his emoting but always disarmingly soulful. Buh Ba Ba Ba peters out in its second half with a few filler tracks, but its musicianship is tasteful and tight, and the songs that click are a seamless and highly recommended soul-rock mélange.