S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Bucky Adams

Born April 25, 1937 to a large family in Depression era Halifax, Charles “Bucky” Richmond Adams was fortunate to find himself in a musical household. Bucky Adams started teaching himself how to play instruments at a young age. By age 11, he entertained the Queen during a Royal visit to Halifax.

Adams played trumpet early on, until he literally blew his instrument to pieces mid-show. He replaced it with a saxophone he borrowed from his dad, after rushing home during the break. Adams formed a band with several of his professors at Saint Francis Xavier University before playing in a series of Maritime bands. These included The Rockin Rebels, an early-integrated band in the 1960’s.

He played with Toronto émigré Joe Sealy and they gravitated to performing more jazz. Playing jazz found him sharing stages with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and other stalwarts of the genre. Singer Linda Carvery toured the Maritimes with Adams and Sealy before working with The Nova Scotia Mass Choir, some years later. From The Lobster Trap with Louis Armstrong in the 1960’s, to The Middle Deck with B.B. King in 1974, Adams established himself in the Maritime music scene. In 1974, CBC released a 7” (45 rpm) record credited to Bucky Adams and The Musical Friends. The e.p. featured four covers, including one by fellow Maritimer Gene MacLellan.

The following he year he formed Basin Street, with whom he recorded his first full length album in 1976. The title “Bucky Adams and Basin Street at Privateers’ Warehouse” suggests a live recording, but was in fact recorded in a studio. Copies were presumably sold during their residency at the Halifax venue. This time, covers including a funky instrumental of the hit “Ain’t No Sunshine” were mixed with originals, all of which, including “Bucky’s Blues,” were credited to the band collectively.

In addition to numerous television appearances, Adams was featured on Canada Express, a weekly music television program which won him a Gabriel Award from the United Nations, for excellence in broadcasting.
Generations was a 1980’s band Adams worked with, but his recorded output picked up in the c.d. age. In 1996 he released “In A Lovin’ Way” featuring songs inspired by his childhood such as “Africville Shuffle” and “Maynard Street.” “Live at the Thirsty Duck” followed, recorded with Adams’ son Corey in Halifax. Adams joined forces with the Hungarian-Canadian Botos Brothers for his third release, and “Freedom” is Adams’ final disc.

Later in his six-decade career, Bucky Adams volunteered at the seniors’ home where he would eventually live. For over twenty years, the Northwood Centre in Halifax enjoyed weekly performances by Adams. He called it his “Wednesday night music therapy.” Corey described watching one such performance; people entered the room using canes and holding each other’s shoulders. Later, when they heard a song they recognized, they’d find the strength to get up, dance, and move to the music. CBC did a profile on Adams’ for his 70th birthday.

Charles “Bucky” Richmond Adams passed away at age 75 on July 13, 2012. He is survived by his partner Glenda, his wife Clara, five children and many grand children and great grand children. Several years later, the East Coast Music Awards announced the African Canadian Recording of the Year Award would be replaced by the Bucky Adams Memorial Award. It debuted at the 2016 ECMAs.

Don’t forget to check out these videos about Bucky Adams:

1.Charles “Bucky” Adams: A Celebration of Life Tribute in Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK89IoN0Id4

2.Bucky Adams – Basin Street – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMsNLu_bjlI

Performed by: Bucky Adams
Written by: Edwin H. Morris, Spencer Williams
Produced by: Russ Brannon
Album: Bucky Adams And Basin Street At Privateers’ Warehouse
Source: Discogs

3.Bucky Adams & Basin Street – Afro Minor (Canada 1976) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQk2YEPpa6E

Performed by: Bucky Adams
Written by: Basin Street
Produced by: Russ Brannon
Album: Bucky Adams And Basin Street At Privateers’ Warehouse
Source: Discogs

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