Down Beat - 11/94, p.613 Stars
- Good - "...Buddy's over-the-top, soul-sincere vocals...win grins..."
Buddy Miles Express: Buddy Miles (vocals, guitar, drums); Kevon Smith, Nicky Skopelitis (guitar); Crispin Cioe (alto & baritone saxophones); Arno Hecht (tenor saxophone); Larry Etkin (trumpet); Bob Funk (trombone); Jeff Levine (piano, organ, Clavinet); Joe Thomas (bass).
Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York.
Buddy Miles Express (Drums): Buddy Miles (drums); Kevon Smith, Nicky Skopelitis (guitar); Jeff Levine (Clavinet); Joe Thomas (bass instrument).
Personnel: Uptown Horns (horns).
After recording only sporadically for more than a decade and following stints in both Santana and the California Raisins (!?!), Buddy Miles convened a new Buddy Miles Express in the mid-'90s. Producer Bill Laswell was given the (short-lived) Black Arc imprint of Rykodisc, and Hell and Back was one of two initial releases to feature Miles (the other was the power trio Hardware with Bootsy Collins and Steve Salas). The production is excellent, with the standout tracks coming at the end: the instrumental "The Decision" and the funky closer, "Nothing Left to Lose." Miles' mixture of rock, soul, and blues has not changed much over the years, but this album doesn't quite reach the heights of his earlier Mercury material. ~ Sean Westergaard