His big break came in 1964, when he won the Tip Top Bread Talent Contest at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater. Performing "I've Got Tears in My Eyes" with Henrietta and David Buchanan, Buster won the $750 prize and came to the attention of Steve Blaine, whose father, Jerry Blaine, ran the Jubilee and Josie record labels. Buster's composition, "Lookin' for a Home", was released on Jubilee in late '64 and became a radio hit in many local markets. As a result of the record's success, Buster went out on the road, appearing in venues such as Philadelphia's Uptown Theater. Al Kooper, a lifelong fan of Buster, covered "Lookin' for a Home" on his "Kooper Session" album.
Buster continued to perform and record for Jubilee and its sister label, Josie, throughout the 1960's. His biggest hit was with "Young Boy Blues", released on Josie in 1968. It met with a great deal of success in places like Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and Buster again travelled in support of the disc. Doc Pomus, the song's writer, preferred Buster's version of "Young Boy Blues" to other recorded versions, including the Ben E. King original. After the Jubilee/Josie label began to decline, Buster cut one final single in 1970 on the Minit label, "City of Blues", backed with "Cry Me a River". Arranged by George Butler with orchestral arrangement by Horace Ott, the single is another "lost masterpiece" of the era, but barely sold at the time. Around the same time, Jubilee collected many of Buster's single recordings and other tracks and prepared an LP, entitled "Looking for a Home", for release, but few if any copies were actually issued by the faltering label.
With his recording career on hold, Buster turned his attention to performing. During the early 1970's, he taught himself how to play blues guitar and added more blues to his live repertoire. The nucleus of the Soul Brothers band also began to take shape, and Buster started entertaining a new generation of Long Islanders and New Yorkers with blues, soul classics, and original material. Little Buster & the Soul Brothers paid their dues as the opening band for artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, James Brown, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Albert King, Al Kooper, and many other musical greats. While making occasional out-of-town appearances, the band mainly played the bars and clubs of Long Island and New York City, expanding their playlist, working up new original numbers, and tightening their sound.
After numerous false starts, Little Buster & the Soul Brothers finally recorded an album in 1995, primarily featuring Buster's originals. "Right on Time!", released on Rounder's Bullseye Blues label in July of that year, received critical acclaim from around the world and was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award in the category of "Best Blues/Soul Album". The CD was alwo a runner-up for "Best Soul/Blues Album of 1995" in the Living Blues Magazine Critics' Awards. The album's release also created new opportunities for the band, leading to appearances on "CBS This Morning", "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", "The Chris Rock Show", and Dan Ackroyd's "House of Blues Radio Hour". Buster and the Soul Brothers have also been featured in magazines such as Juke Blues(UK), 20th Century Guitar, New York Music Guide, Newsday, and Voices from the Shadows(UK).
Since the release of "Right on Time!", the band graduated to headliner status at clubs such as Tramps, Terra Blues, and Manny's Car Wash in New York City, and played at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival in Saratoga, the Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Park Tower Blues Festival in Tokyo, Japan. As a change of pace, Buster also performed "solo" from time to time, for the first time in his career. The members of the late-90` era Soul Brothers were:
For many years, Buster dreamed of re-releasing his old 45's, which have become extremely difficult to find. Finally, in late 1996, he learned that Sequel Records, England's premiere reissue label, had obtained the rights to release all of the material Buster had cut for the Jubilee and Josie labels during the 1960's, and were preparing a CD collection. The cover and track order was taken from Buster's ill-fated Jubilee LP, and the collection was entitled "Looking for a Home". Released in the United States in February, 1997, this collection finally made these rare tracks available to the public.
During the late 1990`s, Buster continued to perform at clubs in New York City and Long Island, toured regularly on the East Coast and in Canada, and performed at festivals throughout the world. Subsequent CD releases included "Work Your Show" in 2000 and "Live Volume One" in 2004. Following a series of strokes, Buster passed away on May 11, 2006.
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