Bux


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-74)

- Rocky Isaac (RIP 2020) -- drums, percussion

- Mickie Jones (aka Mickey Jones (RIP 2009) -- bass

- Edwin "Punky" Meadows -- lead guitar

- Ralph Morman (RIP 2014) -- vocals

- James Newlon -- rhythm guitar, vocals

 

  supporting musicians: (1973)

- Paul Chansky -- keyboards

- Wiley Crawford -- vocals, keyboards

- Angel (Mickie Jones and Punky Meadows)

- Cherry People (Rocky Isaac)

- Creatures Inc.

- Daddy Warbux

- The English Setters (Punky Meadows)

- The Fallen Angels (Rocky Isaac and Punky Meadows)

- Punky Meadows (solo efforts)

- The Outcasts (Ralph Morman)

- The Joe Perry Project (Ralph Morman)

- Savoy Brown (Ralph Morman)

- Sweet Mama from Heaven (Punky Meadows)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  We Come To Play

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST 11469
Year:
 1976

Country/State: Washington, DC

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $55.00

 

Daddy Warbux formed in 1972, featuring a line-up of drummer Rocky Isaac, bassist Mickie Jones, lead guitarist Edwin "Punky" Meadows, singer Ralph Morman and rhythm guitarist James Newlon.   Collectively these guys had plenty of music experience; long term stalwarts of the local music scene having played and recorded in a variety of bands including The Cherry People (Isaac), The English Setters (Meadows), and The Fallen Angels (Isaac and Meadows).

 

 

Daddy Warbucks spent several years playing clubs throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and around Boston.  In 1973 the band's constant touring paid off when they scored a recording contract with Capitol. Teamed with producer Jack Douglas, the band headed up to New York where the album was recorded at the Record Plant. For whatever reason Capitol decided to shelve the collection, subsequently dropping the band from its recording roster.  Playing throughout the DC areas under their Daddy Warbucks name (briefly morphing into Foxie), within a year infighting saw the band call it quits. Jones and Meadows subsequently reappeared in the Washington, DC-based Angel.  With Angel signing with Casablanca Records and starting to attract critical attention, in 1976 Capitol elected to posthumously release their shelved LP.  One of the mysteries I've never figured out - if they were working under the name Daddy Warbucks, who decided to release the collection credited to "Bux"?  Sure it was shorter and the cover photo showing them posing in front of the New York Stock Exchange kind of made sense with that name, but was it any better from a marketing perspective when nobody knew who the hell they were?   Someone out there will have the answer ...

 

You've heard the phrase "damn with faint praise"?  I think that's pretty apt for "We Come To Play."  With Morman and Newlon responsible for writing the majority of the nine tracks, this was a workman-like set of '70s hard rock and boogie rock. Anyone who enjoyed a weekly dose of early Aerosmith (blame producer Jack Douglas), Bad Company, Back Street Crawler, Kiss, etc. was likely to find the album entertaining.  As reflected on tracks like 'Crosstown Girl' and 'If You Want Love' Morman had a voice that was well suited to this musical niche - powerful, if slightly shrill.  Meadows was clearly a talented lead guitarist, if much of his work seemed formulaic. There were occasional moments of sunlight.  'When Your Time Has Come' was a nice Free-styled slice of blues-rock.  The close 'Next Train' found the band slowing things down with a melodic mid-tempo ballad.  Finally, the only song to feature Newlon on vocals, 'It's Your Baby' had a great melody and an interesting lyric relating to one of the threats of the rock and roll lifestyle.   The other standout was Meadows.  True, a lot of his work was formulaic.  You could have easily have mistaken something like 'White Lightening', or 'If You Want Love' for a Joe Perry solo.  Still, check out his voice-box effect on 'It's Your Baby'; or his slide guitar on 'Come on Down.' To their credit, Bux didn't waste any effort on studio sophistication, rather this must have captured what their live bar band, bread-and-butter sound was like. I'm sure that with a couple of cold beers it got even better.  The end result was an album that was perfectly listenable, but time after time if felt calculated.  I kept finding myself playing "where did I hear that before?"  

 

"Bux" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Crosstown Girl (James Newlon) - 3:29 rating: ** stars

I can't say 'Crosstown Girl' was great.  Musically it offered up a patented mix of hard rock and more commercial moves.  Powered by Morman's slightly shrill voice, it was all very professional, but felt kind of calculated.  I couldn't help but feel I heard this somewhere before.  

2.) Highway (James Newlon - Ralph Morman) - 4:30 rating: *** stars

The opening sounded like it could have been borrowed from an early Kiss album and from their 'Highway' seemed to be a headlong dash into AOR anonymity.  The 'Highway' refrain has bugged me for years as I've tried to place where I'd heard it before.

3.) Itís Your Baby (James Newlon) - 3:34 rating: **** stars

Written and sung by Newlon (he had a great voice), 'Itís Your Baby' found the band momentarily stepping away from their parented hard rock/bar band sound. Sporting the album's best melody the lyrics sounded autobiographical, highlighting on one of the risks of the rock and roll lifestyle.  Meadows voice-box guitar solo was certainly cutting edge in 1973.

4.) If You Want Love (Paul Chansky - Ralph Morman) - 4:45 rating: *** stars 

With 'If You Want Love' the band dove right back into "swagger rock."  Kind of a Paul Rogers and Band Company vibe on this one.  Yeah the song placement was ironic coming after 'It's Your Baby.'

5.) White Lightning (E.L. Meadows - Ralph Morman) - 5:06 rating: *** stars 

Another example of a song I actually liked, but didn't score very high on the originality scale.  For goodness sakes, song lyrics that include the phrase "here I come ..."   How clever.  The rest of the tune was on the same par.  Forgettable boogie rock.  A revamped version, including alternate lyrics, appeared on Angel's third album - 1977's "On Earth As It Is In Heaven."

 

(side 2)
1.)
Come on Down (James Newlon) - 3:30 rating: ** stars

Who knows why they thought adding a touch of country to their sound was a good idea.  It wasn't. 'Come On Down' had the authenticity of a bad nose job. The only redeeming quality here was a nice Meadows' solo.  Imagine a crappy Black Oak Arkansas tune.

2.) Buy Me a Bottle (James Newlon - Ralph Morman) - 4:32  rating: ** stars

Opening up with a slightly jazzy Meadows solo, 'Buy Me a Bottle' slowed the temp down, but missed the mark. Once again Meadows' solos provided the only redeeming qualities.

3.) When Your Time Has Come (James Newlon - Ralph Morman) - 4:52 rating: **** stars: **** stars

The opening combination of Isaac's drums and some nice Meadows work pushed the band into a Free-styled blues-rock direction.  The genre suited Morman' well and even though there wasn't a shred of originality in the next five minutes, it still stood as one of the album highlights.  

4.) Next Train  (James Newlon - Wiley Crawford - Ralph Morman) - 5:32 rating: **** stars

Simply because they let up on the rock accelerator, and didn't sound like the were trying as hard, the mid-tempo 'Next Train' offered up another standout performance.  It also showcased one of Meadows best solos.  Shame Capitol wasn't interested in releasing a since this would have been a sterling candidate.  

 

Capitol dumped the album on the market with little promotion.  No single was released.  The album  attracted a little attention from Angel fans, but quickly appeared in cut-out bins (which is where I found my copy). 

 

  • As mentioned above, before his 2009 death, Jones and Meadows joined Angel.  

 

  • Meadows also released a 2016 solo album that I've always wanted to track down and hear: "Fallen Angel" (Main Man catalog MMR 06060).

 

  • Morman went on to sing on the debut Joe Perry Project album followed by a pair of albums for Savoy Brown - "Rock and Roll Warriors" and "Greatest Hit Live."  Suffering from various medical issues he passed away in a Kentucky hospice in August, 2014.

 

 

 

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