Buzz Martin : A Logger's Reward
12″ LP Album
It was lightly snowing that January afternoon as we entered the Ripcord Studios in Vancouver, Washington. The playback speakers were blaring so loud it would have put a hundred-piece marching band to shame; although there were only five musicians in the main studio. As the tape stopped, I yelled, “Hallelujah!” over the talkback intercom. “Hallelujah”, the musicians answered back. “If you’ll whistle the bridge, we’ll have an arrangement for you in five minutes,” said Bobby Gibsonthe owner manager of the studio who was directing the session. “What I mean is”, I said, “That last chorus has a ‘Hallelujah’ feeling. You ought to play it that way.”
It was the last of a series of recording sessions of the album you are now holding. The Star of the session is one of the Northwest’s finest poets, although I doubt he considers himself a poet. A singer he “ain’t”, anymore than Johnny Cash is a singer. Both get so involved in telling a story that they plow straight forward and forget the little and pretty nuances anyway, Bobby was taking care of that part in the arrangements.
Don’t get me wrong. I dig the Buzz Martins – the Johnny Cashes – but let’s face it; they are more than singers. I think they are both blessed with the God given talent of complete communication. They somehow convey the emotion, the message with no effort whatsoever. Maybe after thirty years as a D.J. I hear this more than others, but, one thing for sure… You can’t be a Martin or a Cash, and be a phony at the same time. The modern term is “Tell it like it is”.
As you look at Buzz Martin, it’s hard to think of him as a poet; this brute of a man whose arms measure more around than most men’s thighs, but a poet he is. It’s not so much that Buzz writes poetry, He sees everything around him as a kind of poetry – not unlike Robert Service. Buzz has worked in the timberlands of the Pacific Northwest all his life, and the stories he sings for you in this album are a sort of love affair, a love of the land and the people of this region.
How do you become as gentle and knowing a person as a Buzz Martin? Well, quite often you get hit with personal tragedy, as Buzz did, at an early age. You learn when others offer love and understanding, such as did his brother Cliff, and his sister “Nellie” with husband Bill Woosley. You learn it when you leave your first love, the hard and harsh timberland you know and love so well to strap a parachute on, and sky dive over the Oregon valleys to put on a wet suit and search the hidden valleys of the Pacific Coast.
Bobby Gibson first brought a tape to me several years ago to see if these weathered ears would dig Buzz Martin.
Radio Station KWJJ
Produced by Bob Gibson and Rick Keefer.
(All tracks written by Buzz Martin)
1. A Logger’s Reward
2. The Road Inspector
3. Cat Skinnin’ Gypo Logger
4. Goin’ Home
5. Different Kind of Breed of Truck Driving Man
1. Since They Repossessed My Used Log Truck
2. A Language I Don’t Understand
3. Message From Home
4. Too High On The Stump
5. Strong Winds and Widow Makers