Saturday, January 19, 2013


Buzz Martin
Where There Walks a Logger There Walks a Man
Ripcord Records 1968

Referred to in the liners as "the fellow with a pen in one hand and an ax in the other," (a description I wish somebody'd apply to me), Buzz Martin was born in a tent somewheres in Oregon (how many in your archives can claim that?) and overcame childhood blindness to become the Red Sovine of the timber industry. Actually, that's a libel on ol' Buzz, as he's less of a sap than Red and, near 's I can tell, the only times Red ever touched the handle of a semi's door were for sleeve covers; Buzz spoke[-sung] as an insider. I reckon this, his 5 other LPs and assorted Ripcord singles all feature session dudes, but on tour he enlisted his extended family for extry "aw shucks" points. Though a fistfulla cuts can be gripped here and there digitally and there's an AllMusic entry, I feel a twinge of guilt writin' bout the guy with anything other than the last nub of a grease pencil. But Imma do my part to make sure he ain't historically mislaid.

Where There Walks A Logger, Buzz's first, is top-to-bottom classics ("Used Log Truck," "Whistle Punk Pete," "Sick of Setting Chokers," and "Fire Danger," bein' the standouts), but the returns steadily diminish the deeper ya get into his body of work. ("Butterin' Up Biscuits" in particular always brings on the quease for me.) Though this'll induce plenty of smirks & chuckles, Buzz was quite skilled at parlaying sawdust-flecked anecdotes into broader themes. Right now, eBay is teeming with leeches, trying to get 40 bucks outta ya for much of Buzz's catalog, but in amongst them are perfectly serviceable copies for single digit ducats. Go forth and harvest, whistle punks, and leave Phantom 309 in the buck bin.

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