The album "BUZZY'S buzzy" is the first solo album by this critically acclaimed singer-songwriter who came of age in Greenwich Village in the hey-day of folk-rock during the Sixties.
Upon being discharged from the Navy in 1963 Buzzy went to Coconut Grove, Florida, where he and other gifed young musicians of all kinds infused folk music with rock'n roll and created a new genre that came to be called "folk-rock."
He soon moved to Greenwich Village where he sang and played guitar and vibes with other singer-songwriters such as Tim Hardin, David Crosby, John seastian, Buffy st. Marie, Fred Neil, Bob Dylan, and many other gifted musicians who were in the process of engendering a new genre that came to be called "singer-songwriter."
According to Rolling Stone, the release in 1968 of Tom Rush's album "The Circle Game" marked the beginning of the "singer-songwriter" movement. The original tracks for the album "BUZZY'S buzzy" were recorded in London during October of 1968 on the same four track machine that the Beatles used for their album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." This places Buzzy as one of the progenitors of the "singer-songwriter" genre. These tracks include various other sub-genres that Buzzy participated in creating, including "jazz-rock" and "raga-rock."
"Veteran of the coffee house early folk rock sing for your supper and sleep where you can living. Traveler of unexplored and hostile areas peopled with longhair hating finger-pointing audiences that wouldn't even listen. Learning his craft on battered broken guitars and antique amplifiers and writing songs about joy even when a tear outweighed a smile. Standing out in a music world overflowing with look-a- likes and sound-a-likes, like a peacock at a pigeon party. A one of a kind singer songwriter musician and human type being that feels the notes he sings." -Steve Denaut on Buzzy Linhart.
Buzzy Linhart was born in Pittsburgh in 1943. By the age of seven he was already interested in music. He started as a drummer and soon was playing the vibes, marimba, guitar, harmonica and some piano.
By eighteen he had enlisted in the Navy and was playing in the Navy Band. Upon discharge in 1962, Buzzy went straight to Florida, where he met and jammed with the legendary Fred Neil. But the place where the music scene was really happening at that time was in New York, where the folk-rock phenomenon was germinating, and Neil and Buzzy agreed to meet in Greenwich Village that next summer.
Buzzy moved to New York in 1963 and shared an apartment with John Sebastian, who will become a pivotal part of the Lovin' Spoonful. By this time, Fred Neil was serving as a kind of master of ceremonies at the Cafe Wha?, and was attracting Bob Dylan and other wandering minstrels of that time, including Buzzy.
Ravi Shankar was having a big influence on American musicians during the 1960s. Buzzy was inspired by Shankar's improvisational virtuosity and was drawn to the raga form. Buzzy, joined Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, and others in experimenting with long improvisational jam sessions at the Night Owl and other clubs in the Village, sharing with audiences a new and developing kind of raga-rock style of music. Robert Shelton of the New York Times wrote in 1964 that Buzzy was one of the first American musicians to successfully blend rock and Indian raga. As Buzzy puts it, they were searching for that point where "telepathy ends and making music begins."
Jessie Colin Young tells us that after hearing Buzzy sing the Dino Valenti song GET TOGETHER at the Café Au Go Go, he was so moved that he went backstage and asked Buzzy to teach it to him. Buzzy did so, the song became a monster hit and a mainstay in the Youngbloods' repertoire. Young recalls this story in an excerpt from Famous The Buzzy Linhart Story.
Circa 1966, Buzzy formed a quartet called the Seventh Sons with Serge Katzen, Steve Denaut and Max Ochs. They recorded on their own many of the songs from their live set. The group received offers of recording contracts from Capital, Electra, and others. However, the record companies in those days usually insisted upon using one of their regular session drummers for recording session. The group's manager/drummer Serge Katzen would not hear of it, Buzzy chose loyalty over ambition, and no recording contract was formed.
Around this time, Doug Rodrigues and John Siomos brought Mitch Ryder to see Buzzy play live in New York. Ryder was impressed, and hired Buzzy to open for him on his upcoming U.S., German and British tour.
While in London, Buzzy landed his first recording contract, a one album deal with Phillips, and produced his first commercial release, the eponymous "buzzy" album, recorded at Chappel Recording Studios, during October of 1968. Buzzart has completely remade this album and we have entitled it "BUZZY'S buzzy" to account for the fact that wtih the help of Bill Black, our adio engineer extraordinaire, we have made substantial improvements to the original recordings, recompiled the order of the tracks, and created a brand new cover with current liner notes. This album contains a good example of Buzzy's contribution to raga rock in the track entitled SING JOY, co-written by Buzzy and Dona Calles. Buzzy included two Indian instruments in the mix with Keshav Sathe on tabla, and big Jim Sullivan on sitar, plus a Mellotron, played by Phil Ryan, for good measure. Our sound clip on the Website is an unreleased recording of SING JOY.
After his return to New York, Buzzy formed the Buzzy Linhart Quartet, consisting of Doug Rodriguez on lead guitar, John Siomos on drums, and Douglas Rausch on bass.
The Website bio page contains a 1969 studio recording of Buzzy's version of Tim Hardin's YOU'VE GOT A REPUTATION featuring Buzzy on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, along with the rest of his quartet. Later-on, Ronnie Cuber, who occasionally had played with the Seventh Sons, joined Buzzy's new band, which he renamed "Music."
During the 1960s Buzzy was learning his craft by listening to, playing with, and being influenced by, some of the finest songwriters of that decade. We are pleased to present on the Website unreleased recordings of Buzzy's covers of songs by Fred Neil (BAG I'M IN), Bob Dylan (OXFORD TOWN), Tim Hardin (YELLOW CAB), and John Sebastian (GOOD TIME MUSIC). We have included a video clip on the Website of Buzzy performing BAG I'M IN at the Videofreex Loft in 1968. With this foundation, Buzzy will come into his own as one of the finest songwriters of the next decade and beyond.
Buzzy came into his own as a songwriter and recording artist in the decade of the 1970s. In 1970, he and Eddie Kramer produced Buzzy's next album, MUSIC, at Electric Lady, Sound Exchange and Vanguard Studios in New York. It was released on the Eleuthera Records label and distributed by Buddha Records. The record company did not offer the band much support and eventually the Music group disbanded.
Buzzy's capacity to write in a variety of genres continues to bear fruit. Among the unreleased recordings of these outstanding songs are the pop hit FRIENDS, which he co-wrote with Moogy Klingman, and which became Bette Midler's signature song. He ventures into the spiritual realm with HEAVEN, his gospel inspired homage to his musical ancestors. Buzzy continues to explore the raga-rock that he began in the 1960s with THE LOVE'S STILL GROWING, which Carly Simon recorded in 1971 for her eponymous album released on the Electra label.
During this period, Buzzy was hanging out with many of the singers from that era who would achieve enormous fame and fortune. In 1971, his friend Carly Simon had formed a recording contract with Electra and was looking for a studio and an engineer. Buzzy took her to Electric Lady Studios and introduced her to Eddie Kramer. They hit if off and were soon in the recording studio working on her first commercial album, called "CARLY SIMON." Buzzy made important contributions to the production as a player (guitar, vibes, and marimba), as a writer of one of the tracks, THE LOVE'S STILL GROWING, and as a back-up vocalist on that tract. A Carly Simon fan who was taken with this song recently asked on her official website in the section called "Ask Carly" about this song and why she hadn't recorded other material like it. She replied: "THE LOVE'S STILL GROWING is a Buzzy Linhart song. Yes, my voice is doubled, tripled, whatever. Buzzy's voice is also on there. He's a haunting creature. You've given me an idea. Maybe it should be on an anthology. I guess it's one of those 'overlooked gems.' I do love it. I think I'll listen to it now…."
Bette Midler was another one of Buzzy's close friends during this time. While rehearsing for a producer's audition for a Broadway show called "Mirror Cracked" he sang her a song that he and his songwriting collaborator Moogy Klingman had just written, called "Friends." Buzzy recalls that "Friends was the first song I sang to her on the first day I met her. We didn't talk much. I just figured singing that song would show her where I was coming from. When I met Bette she said, "you have got meet my boyfriend, Luther Rix, he is the best drummer." One day Bette came to rehearsal and asked Buzzy if she could sing Friends at an upcoming gig that she had at the Continental Baths that next Saturday night. Moogy and Buzzy went to see the show and all of the sudden it felt as if she had some direction to go in now. She recorded FRIENDS on her first album, THE DIVINE MISS M, and has been her signature song ever since.
In 1971, Buzzy, his new drummer Luther Rix, and the great bass player Bill Takas, produced and arranged Buzzy's next album, THE TIME TO LIVE IS NOW. The album was recorded at Media Sound Studio B, in New York City, and was released by Kama Sutra Records. Buzzy has come into his own as a songwriter, producer, and arranger and some of Buzzy's finest songs are on this album.
By this time, Buzzy has written in many genres and has developed his own style of songwriting. Buzzart has many unreleased recordings of these songs that appear on the website, including TALK ABOUT A MORNING, a haunting kind of folk-rock song and a number of lyric driven rock songs such as IF YOU LOVE ME; DON'T YOU KNOW; and EVERYBODY'S GOT TO GET ALONG.
Throughout this period Buzzy was a guest player and singer for many well know acts, including vibes on Buffy St. Maries TIMELESS LOVE produced by Felix Papalardi, vibes on his friend Jimi Hendricks' DRIFTING, and guest vocals on Zyphers THE RADIO SONG.
Buzzy produced his next album in 1972 on the Kama Sutra label, entitled BUZZY (not to be confused with his 1968 album of the same name but in lower case, "buzzy"). It was recorded at Bell Sound Studios, NYC, and the Record Plant, NYC, and was mixed at Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York, by Todd Rundgren.
The culture war that coalesced in the 1960s continued into the 1970s and was not confined to the U.S. In 1972, the London obscenity board took criminal action against writers and publishers of the London underground magazine, OZ. The case became a cause celebre in the free speech arena, and the likes of John Lennon and Yoko Ono joined in many public protests in favor of the defendants. In the U.S., a musical was created based upon the transcript of this trial entitled THE TRIALS OF OZ, for which Buzzy wrote the songs. The musical had a brief run on Broadway, but the lyrics of the songs were too much for the critics. Available on the website is an interview of Buzzy in 1973 on the ALEX BENNETT RADIO SHOW. Buzzy talks about the musical and the circumstances leading to its demise. The show included some of Buzzy's funniest songs such as THE JUSTICE GAME. We have two versions of a ballad from the show entitled MASQUERADE BALL, one performed by Buzzy and the other produced by Buzzy featuring the great Leata Galloway, one of the cast members.
Buzzy's next album, PUSSYCATS CAN GO FAR, was released on the ATCO/Atlantic label in 1974 and produced by Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. The website contains an unreleased recording of the title track, PUSSYCATS CAN GO FAR, a gentle, pop-fantasy song.
Throughout his career, Buzzy collaborated with some of the best in the business, and this album contains a song co-written by Buzzy and Carole Bayer Sager entitled SEE YOU AGAIN. The album also contains a rhythm and blues song entitled SHOO THAT FLY, which has a Motown kind of sound and feel evoked to great effect by Aretha Franklin's back-up singers.
In 1976, Buzzy ventured into the soundtrack world when his songs and recordings were used for the movie RUSH IT!, produced by Gary Youngman and starring Judy Kahan and Tom Berenger. Some of Buzzy's finest work appears in this movie, including an all-inclusive kind of universal pop-rock song entitled FREE SOUL SPIRIT SYMPHONY (which he co-wrote with Marty Kupersmith, Peter Anders, and Danny Mehan), love ballads entitled CALICO and SOMEONE,SOMEDAY, and an up-beat blues entitled HAPPY BLUES.
Buzzy wrote a lot of rock 'n roll during these years. The website contains unreleased recordings of a number of up-tempo hard-hitting rock and roll songs including TORNADO and EYE 1-2-C-U SHUFFLE, and a mellow, folk-rock song entitled ROLLIN' ON.
Buzzy wrote many songs during the 1970s that did not find their way onto commercially released albums, including some very funny songs such as the hilarious sneeze song HAY FEVER, the tongue-in-cheek, country-western cartoon TWELVE BLACK CABS, and the over-the-top, punk-rock parody DEATH CAN BE FUN. All of these songs can be heard on the website.
Although Buzzy is best known as a songwriter, singer, musician and lyricist, he also appeared in the cult film classic THE GROVE TUBE. He is the naked guy that doesn't get the girl. He appeared in "Modern Problems," starring Chevy Chase. He was a regular in Bill Cosby's 1976 ABC TV comedy series "COS," serving as both chief songwriter and as a regular on screen co-star, performing with the likes of Betty White, Artie Johnson, Abe Vigoda, Jeff Altman, Willie Bobo, Pat Delaney, Lola Falana, Marion Ramsey, Tom Tomerson, and others.
Buzzy's period of fame and fortune during the 1970s flamed out after this, and he became a kind of Buddha-like music master thereafter, bouncing from place to place, always seeking truth through music, always uncompromising in that journey, always searching for new ways to express his obsession for great music. He had much more to write, including some extraordinary explorations in contemporary styles, and in future Buzzart will bring this musical adventure to present.