Mojo Buford

& The Donkey Biters

Of all the excellent harp players who’d played with Muddy Waters from the 50s to the 80s, Mojo Buford is probably the one who undeservedly receives the least attention. The reason for this is he’s only present on a few of Muddy Waters’ albums. Buford lived in Minneapolis, yet always someone from Chicago was hired for recording sessions. In 1998, however, “Paris 1972” (Pablo Records), a first-class live CD from Waters was released (with Louis Meyers on guitar), on which Buford shines with great harmonica playing.

Mojo Buford is deeply rooted in the tradition of the Delta and early Chicago blues. His style is not based so much on technical virtuosity as on powerful, earthy and unpolished expression. Vocally as well, he’s presented his blues with impressive vitality, and inspired his audience with stylistically rarely heard authenticity.

On three of his European tours Mojo Buford was accompanied by the Donkey Biters with Benno Rupp and Chrigel Burkhard on guitars, Koni Eisenhut on bass and Kurt Bislin on drums. He got to know the experienced musicians from Switzerland through Larry Burton, the great blues guitarist from Chicago, whom they accompanied for almost ten years. Buford was then a guest on two of these tours. He appreciated the musical competence, the tight teamwork and the style of the Donkey Biters, which was strongly based on the traditional blues of the 50s and 60s.

Mojo Buford said about guitarist Benno Rupp, who died way too early: “He is by far the best guitar player I’ve ever worked with … and that includes all of Muddy’s players, too. I call him 'Mister Dangerous', he’s scary!”


Mojo Buford & Muddy Waters


Mojo Buford & The Donkey Biters

Blues Crew Oberschan – January 12, 2000

(Photos courtesy of Stef Tischhauser)

George “Mojo” Buford

* November 10th, 1929
† October 11th, 2011

Mojo Buford was born near Hernando, Mississippi in 1929, where his parents owned a small farm. In 1943 they moved to Memphis. At the age of five he began to practice on the harmonica and at seventeen he played house parties and fish fries out in the country for money. “I sure remember the first gig,” said Buford, “it was a house party in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and I made five dollars. I never played the clubs and bars on Beale Steet. It was a pretty rough area. I looked at Chicago. There it really went off in the early 1950s."

Having arrived in Chicago in 1954, Buford formed his band "The Savage Boys". They eventually caught Muddy Waters’ attention, and he booked them as The Muddy Waters, Jr. Band for clubs like Smitty’s Corner at 35th and Indiana when Waters played outside of Chicago. Buford was working as a janitor for the University of Chicago in the late 1950s when Muddy Waters sent his driver Vestie Sanders to pick him up. George Smith had just left the band and Waters wanted to go on tour. Buford toured with him for three years.

“I was only making about $100 or so a week with Muddy and I had to think about my family. So I moved to Minneapolis to make a name for myself in the booming blues scene there, which I ‘discovered’ touring with Muddy Waters. The blues fans up there really appreciated us”, Buford recalled, who got his nickname “Mojo” from audiences at Madison Bar-B-Que on the 29th and Nicollet in Minneapolis in the early 60s. “They wanted to hear ‘Got My Mojo Working’ all the time. They asked about it three or four times a night."

Back in Chicago, Mojo Buford joined Muddy Waters for the second time to replace James Cotton. They toured the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. On a European tour he was finally able to record with Muddy. After two years he returned to the Twin Cities. He toured twice with Waters during the 1970s but remained in Minneapolis.

In the late 80s Mojo Buford signed with Blue Loon and released the hit single "Champagne & Reefer" / "Early One Morning" which then led to the critically acclaimed album "Harpslinger" in 1993. "Still Blowin 'Strong" followed in 1996 and "Home Is Where My Harps Is" in 1998. In 1999 his live album “Champagne & Reefer” was released on Fedora Records. He recorded it with Bob Margolin, his bandmate from Muddy Waters times, and Chico Chism and band in Phoenix, AZ. 1998, during a European tour as a guest with Larry Burton, Mojo Buford took part in a live recording in Switzerland. The Larry Burton album “Live At PJ’s Blues Stop” (Babylon Records) was released the following year. Buford is singing three songs and is playing harmonica throughout the entire recording.

The Donkey Biters

The Donkey Biters have paid their dues playing countless concerts, including appearances at Montreux Jazz Festival, Palèo Festival in Nyon and Burghausen Jazz Festival in Germany. Performances and recordings as a competent backing band with people like Larry and Aron Burton, Zora Young or the outstanding German pianist Christian Willisohn have provided excellent education and plenty of rich experience for the band.

Mojo Buford

& The Donkey Biters

Live At “GRUETLI The Club”


Mojo Buford (Vocals, Harmonica)
Benno Rupp (Guitar)
Chrigel Burkhard (Guitar, Vocals)
Koni Eisenhut (Bass)
Kurt Bislin (Drums, Vocals)


Recorded January 14th, 2001, at ”GRUETLI The Club” in Ruethi SG by Patrick Gächter with a portable DAT recorder and a stereo mikrophon.

Reconditioned, mixed and mastered in November 2020 by Little Konzett at LITTLE BIG BEAT STUDIOS in Eschen, Liechtenstein (www.littlebigbeat.com)

Produced by Kurt Bislin for BurroBeat


Set 1

Chicken Shack
(Walter Jacobs/BMI)

High And Lonesome
(Jimmy Reed/BMI)
Chrigel Burkhard, Gesang

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
(Walter Jacobs/BMI)

Everyday I Have The Blues
(Peter  Chatman/SACEM)

Hoochie Coochie Man
(Willie Dixon/BMI)

Mo’s Stroll
(George Buford/BMI)

Woke Up This Morning
(Riley B. King/BMI)

That’s Alright
(Jimmy Rogers/BMI)

Big Boss Man
(Luther Dixon/Al Smith/BMI)


Set 2

Hide Away
(Freddie King/Sonny Thompson/BMI)

Bright Lights Big City
(Jimmy Reed/BMI)
Kurt Bislin, Gesang

Blues With A Feeling
(Walter Jacobs/BMI)

In My Younger Days
(Sonny Boy Williamson/BMI)

I’m Ready
(Willie Dixon/BMI)

Sweet Home Chicago
(Trad. [R. Johnson]/Arr. Mojo Buford/BMI)

Got My Mojo Working
(Preston Foster/BMI)


All rights of the production reserved
© 2020 – SUISA



The Second Cousins -
«Bloody Tears»

BurroBeat | Ser.Daia.Songs | SDS-002

Deep Blues from Switzerland

By Richard Koechli

«Deep Blues», that’s what nowadays the traditional music from Chicago, Louisiana or Mississippi is called, and it’s a very rare thing for this kind of music to come out of Switzerland. So, even more pleasant, every now and then such a credible marvel surfaces, and deep it is from the first to the last note! A quite proper mix of electric Chicago Blues, rough Mississippi tones, swampy Louisiana feel and lively New Orleans grooves. Swinging, sweaty, mesmerizing. Nett and Bislin take turns singing and playing guitar, the entire quartet harmonizes splendidly. Idiosyncratic the two singers tell their stories ... taken straight out of long life experience and miles apart from any parody.

Concert schedule

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Bislin & Forlin

The Genuine Blues Duo

Kurt Bislin  vocals, guitar
Tino Forlin  piano, organ

Genuine Blues [genuine = authentic, real] ... Kurt Bislin and Tino Forlin are harking far back to the roots of the Blues, devoid of all echoes of today's modern forms of this genre. In their understanding, Blues has very little to do with three chords, fast solos and dark sunglasses ... all the more with the soul and rhythm of this music, which finds its way so directly and sincerely into the innermost part of the human being. Mojo Buford, Muddy Waters' harmonica player, once said: "Blues might be simple in its musical form, but just that makes it possible to create it spontaneously, all new again and again, while playing together with your fellow band mates." ... and that's just how "Bislin & Forlin" deliver ...

The repertoire of “Bislin & Forlin” includes songs from the rich catalog of the blues of the past hundred years, original compositions, and even a couple of Southern Soul trouvailles. Delivered in guitar and piano duo, the music comes very close to the audience, the setting is intimate, the volume is moderate.

For some time Kurt Bislin had been tossing around the idea of getting closer to his musical roots, solo or in a duo, and exploring the depths of his beloved blues. In Tino Forlin he found a fellow musician and notabene companion from the old days who was ready to be involved in the project.

In the early eighties the paths of Tino Forlin and Kurt Bislin crossed for the first time. For many years they toured rather successfully in mainly Switzerland with «Bluecaster». After the band broke up, the contact remained. They met again musically in 1991 at the recording session for Larry Burton's album "Hustler’s Paradise" at Soto Sound Studios in Chicago.

Concert Schedule

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Doug Legacy & Kurt Bislin

Doug Legacy - vocals, piano, accordion
Kurt Bislin – vocals, guitar

Doug Legacy and Kurt Bislin have been close friends for a long time. In the 1990s, Kurt Bislin was the tour manager for Doug Legacy and his Zydeco Party Band on their European tours. The two stayed in contact and finally met again during a three-week solo engagement Doug Legacy had in Central Switzerland. Legacy was performing nightly at a hotel on Lake Lucerne, and asked Kurt Bislin to come over with his band and accompany him at his weekend club shows. The arrangement worked out well and the two musicians decided to continue their collaboration, which led to several tours in Europe in the early 2000s.

In 2005, Doug Legacy and Kurt Bislin, with Bislin’s band Donkey Biters, recorded the brilliant album "Sittin 'On Top Of The World" at the legendary Powerplay Studios, near Zürich. A few of Legacy's music colleagues back in Los Angeles contributed solo work to some of the songs. Along with other great players, Waddy Wachtel (Keith Richards, Bob Dylan), Lee Thornburg (Tower Of Power), Jimmy Z. (Rod Stewart, Eurythmics) and Doug's former bandmate, slide guitar wizard Mark Shark, all came together on this album for Legacy and Bislin, as did Cla Nett, the Swiss blues veteran and winner of the first Swiss Blues Award.

Now, Legacy & Bislin are on the road as a duo. In this small but effective line-up, the charismatic friends and bandmates get closer to their audiences and present their songs in a more intimate setting. Doug Legacy with his outstanding, irresistible voice, rousing piano and accordion playing, and Kurt Bislin with rough vocals and authentic blues guitar present a gripping, varied program of Blues, New Orleans style piano tunes, Voodoo Soul, Zydeco and Cajun music.

Concert Schedule

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