This is a sneak preview of the new Buggy Jive album The Ghost of Alexander.
It’s nine more weird soul rock songs written and recorded in a basement somewhere just outside of Albany, New York by the ever-reclusive upstate singer-songwriter.
“Ghost” is set to arrive at digital music services Thursday, Dec. 1.
For your convenience, you can listen now using the playing below, by streaming the songs at Soundcloud (or in the player below), or by downloading the mp3 files. Album credits and song notes are also below.
THE VIDEO. Be sure to check out the funky, Joni Mitchell-inspired video for the first single, “Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You.” It’s also embedded below in the song notes section.
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The Ghost of Alexander by Buggy Jive. Guitars and keys and vox and stuff performed by Buggy Jive. Songs copyright 2022 Bryan Paul Thomas. Beats courtesy YurtRock.com. Lyric inspirations and aspirations courtesy Ralph Ellison (1,8); Joni Mitchell and Prince (2); Virginia Woolf (6); F. Scott Fitzgerald (8). Mastered by Troy Pohl. The cover art by Hank Russo is based on a photograph of Alexander Twilight, courtesy the collection of Orleans County Grammar Schools, photographer unknown, public domain. Copyright 2022 WT3 Records and Radical Plastical Music. All Rights Reserved.
NOTES: TRACK BY TRACK
1. A Dream I Was to Remember and Dream Again
BUGGY: “A funky meditation borrowed from Ralph Ellison, in anticipation of themes explored throughout the record but especially on the title track, ‘The Ghost of Alexander’.”
2. Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You
BUGGY: “Do you remember the first time you heard a favorite song? Seeing so many first-listen reaction videos online inspired me to recall the first time I heard Joni Mitchell’s Blue album. “A Case of You” first entered my consciousness while reading about Prince covering it at the First Avenue club show where he debuted the songs he’d written for “Purple Rain.” It didn’t register that the “case” in the title was a metaphoric case of wine — I thought it was a case like a police investigation. So I expected something musically… sharper? Funkier? Whatever. When I finally heard the song, it blew me away in a very different way. The beat on this song approximates the song I heard in my head when I first saw the title.”
The video was produced in Final Cut Pro and After Effects using tools and tips and templates from MotionVFX, Creation Effects and Synthetik Software.
Here’s a link to a Google Drive folder containing encoded audio files for “Encyclopedia Black and the Case of You.”
3. Law of Averages
BUGGY: “I wrote the second verse first. Because it was true. Then I stumbled on a clip of Billy Porter quoting James Baldwin in an Emmy acceptance speech and BOOM! suddenly I had a first verse. And more of a concept.”
4. She Wants to Party While the World Burns
BUGGY: “A fake country song with a hip-hop beat. And the occasional Ringo fill. The news is awful these days and it keeps getting awfuller. Try to ignore it? Escape it? You can’t.”
5. Let the Words Reveal Themselves
BUGGY: “Not a hard and fast rule, but generally: if I don’t start with a musical foundation, the whole song suffers. Put that cool lyric or concept in a drawer until the right chords and melody come along. Don’t force it.”
6. Lizard Brains and Tingly Parts
BUGGY: “Why can’t these fools keep it in their pants?”
BUGGY: “Based on Virginia Woolf’s scathing takedown of Vivienne Haighwood Eliot (T.S.’s wife). ‘She refers to me as a bag of ferrets,’ says Vivienne. Sorry, Virg: I’m totally Team Viv.”
8. The Ghost of Alexander
BUGGY: “Come to find out all these years later that maybe ol’ Alexander Twilight wasn’t welcomed with open arms to a certain college campus as a fully acknowledged black man; much evidence now suggests he was white passing. Retcon, indeed.”
9. Make Me Water
The album closes with the studio version of “Make Me Water,” which was written for an April 2022 appearance at the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Waters at Proctor’s Theater as a love song to Zen and water and the city of Buggy’s birth, Schenectady,
Here’s video of that performance — a rare thing these days from the increasingly reclusive Buggy Jive.
Who is Buggy Jive?
PROFESSOR BUGGY JIVE is a soul rock singer-songwriter quietly uploading music from a basement somewhere in Upstate New York.
Equal parts Zeppelin and D’Angelo and Prince and Joni in sound and sensibility, his lyrics often mine the literature of the past to make sense of the present – from Ellison to Morrison to Eliot to Didion.
“Literary Kravitz,” as some say.
On rare occasions, he will come out of the basement to perform his songs live – armed with a Telecaster and a pedalboard that’s a bit too big.
But Buggy Jive does not come out of the basement often.
It’s a problem.
“I don’t play out,” he says. “I play in.”
This mantra has played out for the reclusive artist over the years, but never more so than now.
But wait: he did come out of his hole in the spring of 2022 to perform a new song, “Make Me Water,” as part of a rare, live appearance at the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards — and as a love song to Zen and water and the city of his birth, Schenectady.
But as expected, he went right back into the hole to record several more new songs, recently released as The Ghost of Alexander.
He has no plans to leave said hole in the foreseeable future.
As he proudly proclaims in song: “My black ass ain’t going anywhere.”
We know, Buggy.
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