Buffalo Nickel, American Recordings CD 430372-2, 1996
Right on the dime
If you've ever pounded the dashboard of a 1965 GTO, keeping time with
the classic rock blaring from a KRACO 8-track, then this Baird's for
you. A driving force behind the Georgia Satellites ("Keep Your Hands to
Yourself"), Baird left over the usual artistic differences in 1985.
Buffalo Nickel, his second solo album, packs a swagger that harkens back
to classic '70s bands like the Stones and the Faces. Producer Brendan O'
Brien's four on the floor guitar sound is the perfect complement to
Baird's solid songwriting and dirty ass rock'n'roll vocals. "On My Way"
takes a page from Rod the Mod's "Stay With Me" and adds an awesome
guitar break. "Younger Face" is a telling look at the fate that awaits
musicians who don't die young. "Wake Up Jake" comes off like a Dixie
fried AC/DC, melding guitars set on 11 with honky tonk lyrics and a
cowbell. And Baird's update of "Hush" (you do remember Deep Purple,
right?) is the definitive version, with original songwriter Joe South
himself contributing backup vocals. Albums this pure and honest are as
rare these days as, well, buffalo head nickels. -- Scott Boggan