A package intended to whet the appetites of U.S tastemakers and prep American audiences for his next album, This Right Here Is Buck 65 is an assemblage of new songs, b-sides, and re-recordings from Buck 65’s Canadian catalogue. Born Richard Terfy in Nova Scotia, Buck 65 is a storyteller in the tradition of Beat writers like Jack Kerouac, musicians like Johnny Cash, Woodie Guthrie, and Tom Waits, and…David Lynch? Yup, and he gives the American director a nod on “B. Sc.,” formerly known as “Bachelor Of Science.” While This Right Here might sound groundbreaking to some (and it is, in its own way), the hip-hop twang thing is nothing new (Beck, Everlast, and Timbaland via Bubba Sparxxx immediately come to mind). The album will be most disappointing to Buck’s longtime fans, but for a completely different reason. This Right Here is by no means a sell-out record (the suits at Clear Channel wouldn’t know what do with Buck if he was handed to them wrapped in an Exxon logo), but reworked tracks like “Pants On Fire,” which exchanges the word “coke” for “that stuff” (Jesus!), ridiculously pander to a primetime demographic. The re-recording of “Centaur,” a track originally from his 1999 album Vertex, strips the song of its disturbing intricacies (the original version included a sample from the score of Carrie, the absence of which makes the song go from creepy to just normally amusing), but the fact that the lyric “My cock is so big and the end of it glistens” has been flipped to “My clock is so clean and the hour hand is missing” indicates that the intended audience is not fans of 50 Cent. So for whom has this been tailored? Hipsters aren’t likely to be offended by the word “cock.” I should add, though, that Buck’s new, huskier voice is preferable to the higher-pitched whine of his earlier work. So, in a way, This Right Here holds promise for Buck’s upcoming summer release; the best songs on the album are the ones grafted from his most recent effort, 2003’s Talkin’ Honkey Blues, namely the guitar-heavy “463” and “Roses & Bluejays,” which displays an endearing vulnerability beneath Buck’s gruff voice: “I’m a lot like my dad, I would have to say/He’s been wearing a beard since Mom passed away/(She would have hated it).” There’s much more to Richard Terfy than what’s evident here (he once appeared on Sesame Street! he doesn’t drink!), so be warned that This Right Here might be a strange place to start.
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