Boozoo Bajou with Tony Joe White – Aspen Colorado

Two souls

Back when I started this blog, Boozoo Bajou’s album “4” was among the first to get a review. Ever since it was released I have admired their courage and creative spirit, moving their project forward, mostly leaving their loungy downbeat roots behind to create their own space in the world of Ambient music.

A lot has happened during the months that have passed. Another EP on Apollo, the formation of their own label Pilotton with a first digital single “Orfeu”, the re-release of their milestone debut “Satta” – and this little gem of a 10″, “Aspen Colorado”. After years of relative quiet, all of this happened in 2021. Looks like the Corona pandemic gave Florian Seyberth and Peter Heider plenty of time to be creative – and to make some big decisions.

At the same time, the two remind me of Goethe’s Faust who said the famous words: “Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast” when he mourns the realization that he is torn between emotion and reason, between simple pleasures of life and higher, scholarly aspirations.

It may seem a bit over the top to talk about a Faustian dilemma, but still – Seyberth and Heider created it themselves, first by coming up with their genre-defining first album and then by leaving it behind to aim for higher spheres. Their last (and maybe final) release on Apollo “Lambique” seemed like an attempt to bring both of these souls together, sometimes leaning towards the simple pleasures of their Downbeat soul and sometimes paying tribute to their more abstract Ambient soul.

The presence of Tony Joe White’s vocals on this track make it really easy to guess which of the two souls moved to the foreground on “Aspen Colorado”. After all, the duo had already remixed the late great Swamp Rock singer’s biggest hit “Rainy Night In Georgia” back in 2003. Big success. Which had to lead to a follow-up which happened on Boozoo’s !K7 debut “Dust My Broom”. The album’s opener “Keep Going” featured Mr. White.

After a remix and a guest appearance, this is a cover of another Tony Joe White classic. “Aspen Colorado” was part of what we would now probably call a double-A-side 7″ back in 1968, on the back of the nominal A-side “Polk Salad Annie”. And while Annie sure isn’t Boozoo Bajou material, “Aspen Colorado” virtually cried for a Boozoo Bajou treatment.

In fact, this lovely re-interpretation of “Aspen Colorado” was part of the 2005 sessions prior to the release of “Dust My Broom”. Which means, metaphorically speaking, back in a time when there was just one soul dwelling in the project’s breast. Apparently it wasn’t possible to publish this little beauty earlier, partly due to the tragic death of Tony Joe White in 2018, and it seems that his son Jody finally kind of gave the go-ahead.

Seyberth and Heider did what they did best in those days, giving the crooner side of White a supremely relaxed beat, the warmth and the inimitable musical humidity that goes so well with that deep Southern voice. White sang his old song again and played both guitar and harmonica. Super smooth, and if the summer of ’21 hadn’t been such a massive let-down this would definitely have been an ideal track to accompany a drink or two at sundown.

Even though this is Pilotton #001, it sort of is the second release on that label after “Orfeu”, and most of all it will have been the two producers’ duty to give us this track after all those years. Nevertheless, the question still remains, the one about the two souls, the earthly and the sublime, happy hour and ivory tower – the question where Boozoo Bajou will be heading next, after they have paid their respect to the past.

And if you ask me, they can gladly keep the two souls dwelling. We all have two.

Release for review:
BOOZOO BAJOU WITH TONY JOE WHITE – ASPEN COLORADO – PILOTTON – NO. 001

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