Anticipation was in the air Wednesday evening as the Savoy crowd prepared themselves for what has become a semi-annual, must-attend laugh fest. For those who had seen Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellas before, they knew that once the boys hit the stage, there was no telling what kind of absurd and wacky shenanigans could take place throughout the two hour show. And for newcomers who weren’t quite sure what all the hype was about, but wanted to check it out for themselves, none would be disappointed as they found themselves grinning from ear to ear or singing along to songs they didn’t even realize they knew!
I mean, who else could rival Johnny Cash with an incarceration original like “I Can’t Take You to the Prison Dance Tomorrow Cause They’re Hangin’ Me Tonight” ? Or how about “Blue Spanish Eyes”, beautifully sung, but with Buddy as the “human percussion”. And I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Procol Harem’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” played on a fiddle. Songs like “Stunned Earl”, “The Colorectal Surgeon”, “The Stretching The Neck Routine”, and an opening “Ode to Playing in Glace Bay” had them rolling in the aisles.
Made up of Kevin Blackmore (aka Buddy), Wayne Chaulk, and Ray Johnson, all three deliver the perfect blend of slapstick humour, heavy on the Newfoundland content, as well as phenomenal vocals on several beautiful original and borrowed songs and instrumentals, including the “Castor Lullaby”. Add to this stories, hilarious recitations, impersonations, and it is the most enjoyable evening in every way. The wide range in ages in attendance certainly speaks to the appeal this show provides across several generations.
One particular monologue was simply over the top, even for Buddy, as he lamented the changes in increased airport security over the years for the band. “Will someone tell me what a terrorist is going to accomplish in a Dash 8 plane with enough gas to get from Gander to Labrador?” This prolonged description of the delays and procedures during check-in was a standout as people held their sides and wiped tears while Buddy stood bold-faced and determined, to get his hilarious point across to a hysterical audience! Not to be outdone, Ray Johnson played an excellent toe tapping button accordion solo and recounted how, many years ago, just starting out, he would play for square dances beginning at 8pm that carried on ‘til 4 in the morning, was paid $40, and sent on his way! Wayne Chaulk can not only carry a flawless vocal solo, but demonstrates his writing ability on many pieces penned both for himself as well as his performing buddies.
After a rousing standing ovation, the boys returned for what was definitely the icing on an already scrumptious cake. No Buddy Wasisname event is complete without their incomparable rendition of “Sarah” and the lovely and appropriate “Salt Water Joys”.
Needless to say I’m a huge fan, and never grow tired of the shtick. You just cannot beat it as an opportunity to forget all of your worries as you witness the results of the outrageous, clever minds of Buddy Wasisname and The Other Fellas!