Buddy Miles — “The Segment”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — November 5, 2022


629) Buddy Miles — “The Segment”

Ah, Buddy Miles (see #112, 221, 366). As Jamie Ludwig says, he was a “force of nature as a drummer, vocalist, and bandleader. ” He moves my soul.

Ludwig goes on:

“The Segment” is a piece of rock ’n’ soul perfection, whether it’s the two-and-a-half-minute studio gem from 1971’s A Message to the People or the dynamic, nearly 13-minute version from the double album Buddy Miles Live released later that year. Cowritten with saxophonist Hank Redd, the song describes the aftermath a breakup, and Miles wrings every drop of emotion out of its sparse lyrics with his smooth vocal melodies, full-bodied falsetto screams, and soulful call-and-response interplay with the high-octane horn section. It’s sweet, heavy as f*ck, and timeless, with zigzagging rhythms . . . and a final sense of triumph—you get the impression that the heartbroken narrator will eventually be OK.


As to A Message to the People, Victor W. Valdivia says:

In the league of funk-rock albums, A Message to the People is top-notch. Buddy Miles was easily one the better bandleaders of the early ’70s, and his ability to unite a group of talented players around well-crafted songs definitely makes this one of his best albums. . . . [T]he album is so good, it’s mystifying why it barely clocks in at a meager half-hour. . . . [T]he clavinet-laden “The Segment” [is] over just as [it’s] barely begun. . . . Why Miles felt the need to edit the material so severely is bizarre, since the album could easily have been twice as long and still hit its mark. It’s a testament to Buddy Miles’ talent that, as first-rate as the album is, it will leave any listener wanting more.  Still, A Message to the People is every bit a funk classic.



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