P.O. Box 788
San Marcos, TX 78667-0788
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch
There is something special about debut albums-the freshness, immediacy and urgency of the music, the need to say everything and more in 12 songs, and perhaps the fear that the recording will go unnoticed all join for a unique experience. This is especially true when the artist is not in his teens and has been performing for a long time. Richard Buckner was 30 when he recorded this CD and he comes across as an experienced songwriter and musician. He performed with bands around San Francisco that had more to do with rock and punk than folk, but somewhere along the way he decided to go for the guitar sound. I have been living with this CD for almost two years now, and with each listening it just amazes me more. This is the best debut album of the 90s. I can only compare it to Steve Forbet's "alive on arrival". This was one of the influential albums of the seventies and Bloomed will probably go the same way.
Though he lived in San Francisco and Atlanta, Buckner is closer to the Austin spirit of singer songwriters. His lyrics are straight and individualistic, his use of instruments is minimal, and his voice is one of the instruments. He reminds me a bit of Gram Parsons. He is not only telling the song, his voice sings to the lyrics.
The album opens with the lines:
"I've been stunned and I've been turned I've been undone and burned..."
but this is not an album of a loser. Through a great deal of melancholy and difficulty, the singer wins. After hearing these songs there is a feeling of joy, a feeling of overcoming the sadness of life. Instrumentation underlying these ideas includes: dobro, pedal steel, acoustic guitars , banjo, fiddle, mandolin, fiddle, and harmonica (played by Butch Hancock). Most of the instruments are played by Lloyd Maines, who also produced this CD.
After Bloomed, which appeared in 1994, Buckner went onto greener pastures: a deal with MCA, and a new CD called "Devotion and Doubt" released in 1997. You will probably want the second one too, and it is a very good CD, but the real magic that only comes once in a thousand records is in Bloomed.
Edited by Kerry Dexter