Among the many hats that Terry Ware has worn are house-band leader at Okema (Oklahoma's Woody Guthrie Folk Festival; member of Ray Wylie Hubbard's Cowboy Twinkies; gigging or recording with singer/songwriters John Fullbright, Eliza Gilkyson, and Wanda Jackson; and leading his surf instrumental band the Shambles.
It's the latter style that's featured most on his eight solo albums, and the opener, "Buster's Escape," bolts out of the gate showing the influence of the Ventures, Duane Eddy, ad the Chantays. He proves that instro-rock is no pigeonhole, mixing energetic rockers with melodic ballads, both aided by interesting structures--not merely riffs in search of a melody (the case with too many revival bands). And he handles electric, slide, and baritone gutars with authority, accompanied by veterans like multi-instruentalist Jim Hoke and bassist Susan Hyde Holmes.
Buffalo invariably includes a few interesting cover choices, in this case Peter and Gordon's "Woman," penned by Paul McCartney and George Harrison's "Blue Jay Way" -- paying tribute to the British Invasion, which nailed the coffin shut on surf's heyday -- along with surf pioneer Paul Johnson's "Big Shot."
This is truly as good as any instrumental guitar album you're likely to hear for a long time.
Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar magazine
March 2020 Vol. 34 No. 05
(c) 2020 Dan Forte; all rights reserved
A sideman to John Fullbright, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and others, Oklahoman Ware's instrumental solo projects invariably showcase his knack for hooky originals, sense of humor, and interplay with a stable of topflight session players, like drummer Michael McCarty and multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke. As usual, there's an unexpected but brilliant cover choice to end the program, "To Sir With Love."
Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar magazine
October 2016, Vol. 30 No. 12
(c) 2016 Dan Forte; all rights reserved
Oklahoma-based guitarist / composer Terry Ware is firmly rooted in the spirit of 1960s guitar bands like The Shadows and The Ventures and he continues breaking new ground for the guitar with his 2016 CD Man With Guitar And Amp. The follow up to his 2011 CD, Reverb Babylon, the twelve track Man With Guitar And Amp features Terry at work in the studio with the aid of several fine musicians including Michael McCarty (drums) and Jim Hoke (pedal steel, vibes, bongos). Speaking about his 2016 album, Terry tells mwe3.com, "I got to work on the new one right after Reverb Babylon. I'm always writing and recording. Yes, I've been on some other albums since Reverb Babylon, including Joel Rafael's Baladista and Smokey and The Mirror's Thin Black Line. I also released an album with another Normanite, Gregg Standridge, who I've been writing with for the last seven or so years. It's called Everybody's Got One. It's an album of vocals, which Gregg and I both sing." The coolest thing, besides Terry’s impressive electric guitar sounds are the all-original songs which blend influences from every era of classic guitar instrumental music. Guitar fans will find sonic signposts throughout this immensely influential album, which closes things out with Terry Ware’s fab instro cover of the 1960s pop classic “To Sir With Love”. Guitar fans into the classic twangy guitar beat sound of the 1960s, must give Man With Guitar And Amp a few spins around the block.
Music Web Express 3000
Music News & Notes November 2016
Terry 'Buffalo' Ware and Gregg Standridge album traverses diverse themes and sound
This new disc (OkieMotion Records) from a pair of well-known and long tenured musicians is genuinely a Norman product. Its dozen original songs were written here, they were recorded at Buffarama Studio on Idaho St. and mixed and mastered by Carl Amburn at The Mousetrap.
The album was produced by Ware whose career has been based in Norman for decades. He has fans around the globe from his various projects and collaborations with dozens of other artists. Standridge is a similarly promiscuous collaborator with a loyal following. The pair are highly regarded on Norman’s music scene both by the professionals they’ve worked with and the many students they’ve taught and learned from. This record is a brilliant reflection of all that goodness.
Standridge and Ware wrote the songs together with some notable alliance that includes master lyricist John Hadley along with Debby Kaspari and Gabriel Scroggins. The compositions are remarkable for their diverse sound, theme and emotion.
“Sparrow” is a heartrending memorial dedicated to the outrageous, racially-inspired murder of adolescent African-American Emmett Till by adult Caucasian thugs in 1955 Mississippi. Norman was once a “sundown town.”
It’s touching that this protest song comes from a trio of white authors old enough to remember when African-Americans were institutionally barred from living here under threat of death. At the other end of the spectrum is straight-up radio Top 40 bubblegum “Adrianna.”
She puts the sunshine in your day. Similarly, “Hearts of Fire” is a booty bouncer designed for the dance floor. Salacious guitar hooks with all-star backing vocals by Mary Reynolds and Louise Goldberg make the song incendiary. “Darkened Empty Sky” is country as Checotah, America. It boasts memorable lyrics, “I would fizzle like a wet-fused Roman candle.” Ware and Standridge share lead vocals and guitars throughout the album. Get a copy so you’ll have one, too.
Doug Hill, Norman Transcript
January 16, 2016
Terry "Buffalo" Ware makes a welcome return to these pages with his fourth instrumental album Reverb Babylon (see Pipelines 54, 64 & 75 for the others). As before we are talking about guitar-led arrangements of mostly original material and a full line-up of supporting musicians, most notably Ray VanHooser on drums - a real drummer is always a good sign on solo projects. Marlin Butcher (bass) and Dennis Borycki (organ) are also regulars while John Fullbright adds some piano and accordion. The emphasis is on well-played melody without any flashy showing off or unnecessary dramatics. My recommendation for getting into this excellent album is first to play through tracks 3 to 10 a couple of times. Reverb Babylon Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 are short (1 12 minute) atmospheric links and the album comes alive with Pt. 1 followed Terry's stylish arrangement of Crying In The Rain. Tasty slide introduces Slidin' Into The Blue Door as mandolin, piano and electric guitar each take a solo on this rhythmic country romp. The smooth rolling Business As Usual features a ringing lead, eased along by backgorund organ it begins a five track sequence that is the album's highlight. Moody twang guitar rules on End Of The Gulch and Back Row Rendezvous before Tarnation Station kicks in with its catchy beat.
Alan Taylor, Pipeline Instrumental Review
Winter 2011, Vol. 87
... As on his previous efforts, Ware simultaneously illustrates that a landlocked Okie can play surf music with the best of them and that a broader frame of reference is a good thing. ...Jimmy Webb's "Skywriter" highlights Ware's thoughtful phrasing and acute expressiveness ... the Everly Brothers' "Crying In The Rain" is a briliant illustration of Buffalo's economical guitar style and arranging skills ... This is one guitarist who refuses to be pigeonholed -- thank God--.
Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar magazine
January 2012, Vol. 26 Vol. 03
Nice to have the talented Terry back and on a jolly guitar surfer to open "Subway Surfin" with a new, fresh sounding guitar. Title track is a three part opus beginning with an almost Arabian sound. The Everlys "Crying In The Rain" gets an absolutely magic treatment from Terry's fingers - lush. "Sliding Into The Blue Door" is a great guitar country honker with oodles of tricky picking. "Business As Usual" is a fine modern guitar big sound on a highly melodic and driving theme and "End Of The Gulch" is a strong deep throated guitar almost a target for a western theme. Far and away, Terry's best ever instrumental work. Terrific album all round with all the shades of slow, fast, rock and sensitive you could ask for. Loved it.****
Davy Peckett, New Gandy Dancer
Issue 101, September 2011
A most amazing place, Oklahoma has the tallest trees I’ve ever seen plus it’s home to genius rocker Dwight Twilley, who's from Tulsa. From Norman, Oklahoma, is one of America’s finest surf-rock guitar heroes, Terry “Buffalo” Ware. Perhaps it’s because there’s no oceans for a couple thousand miles, that Terry’s musical imagination gets a good workout on his fantastic 2011 CD Reverb Babylon. As you listen to this amazing 14 track instro rock classic, you can hear echoes of California surf-rock legends The Ventures and also The Sandals, yet there’s something cool about the landlocked guitar groove that really keeps things rocking throughout. Terry is capable of being a one man wrecking crew, yet on Reverb Babylon he gets excellent support from members of his group The Shambles, including drummer Ray VanHooser and more. Like Terry says, ‘We’ve got reverb and we’re not afraid to use it.’ Guitar fans lucky enough to have heard John Blakeley’s brilliant 2006 album Tan Mantis, will enjoy Reverb Babylon, which kind of cuts a musical rug from the same train of thought. Without a doubt, with one memorable cut after the next, Reverb Babylon is viably Terry Ware’s ultimate guitar instrumental statement.
Music Web Express 3000
Norman’s Terry “Buffalo” Ware is a cheater. He makes love musically to no less than 10 different guitars on his new 14 track album recorded between 2008 and April 2011.
Ware’s talented fingers intimately know their way around this stringed harem that includes a 1963 Gretsch Corvette, 1980 Fender Squire Bullet and 1956 Gibson Les Paul. The seven amplifiers used in the groove with these fine instruments are of a similar vintage. All this primo gear is catalogued individually in the notes.
The compositions are Ware originals, save one collaboration with Gregg Standridge and covers of Jimmy Webb, Carole King and John Fullbright. Several local musicians accompany Ware’s guitar sorcery on drums, piano, bass and organ.
Only one cut has vocals and fittingly Ware sings about the peril and punishment of infidelity. It has male back-up singers crooning along with a barely audible faux scratchy vinyl record hiss in the background.
Ware is at his best playing the upbeat surf guitar that could be the score for sexy spy movies with lots of chase scenes and romance on the beach. “Sliding Into The Blue Door” is a reference to OKC’s storied music lover’s room and manages to be a sonic amalgam of red dirt, folk and citified rock.
Ware may not be true to any one guitar but the love in his heart for reverberation is pure.
August 26, 2011
A trailblazing Cosmic Cowboy and Red Dirt music guitarist, Norman, Okla.-based Ware hit the Texas country-rock radar in the early '70s with Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Cowboy Twinkies.
The unflappable Ware twangs, rocks and shifts musical gears with ease, making him an invaluable sideman. When he takes the bandleader reins, he heads in an instrumental direction.
With Reverb Babylon, his fourth solo album, Ware put 10 guitars and seven amplifiers through their paces as he and a complementary troupe hit the tone, taste and talent marks. The disc features pop (the Howard Greenfield/Carole King Crying in the Rain), country-flavored slide (Ware's Slidin' Into the Blue Door), surf (Jim Hoke's Subway Surfin'), the three-part, atmospheric title track and Spaghetti Western-ready (Ware's Tarnation Station).
Ware and company mix up tempos and styles, building interest all the way. His guitars are the center of attention, but piano, organ, accordion and mandolin add very cool texture.
Bonus: The hidden track, I'm in Trouble, a song Ware wrote when he was 15, was the B side of a 1974 Cowboy Twinkies single. When Ware does album five, maybe he'll include the A side, Clovis Roblaine's Sweaty Betty.
Jim Beal jr.
My San Antonio
San Antonio News Express
September 13, 2011
Maybe it's because he's from Oklahoma, but the all-instrumental Reverb Confidential by Terry "Buffalo" Ware has a desolate, dark quality at times, reminiscent of John Blakely's "surf noir" Tan Mantis.
The majestic opener, "Bob, Meet Buster," recalls instrumentals by similarly land-locked Mississippians Webb Wilder and R.S. Field, while the Southwestern element is reinforced by the presence of Austinites-by-way-of-Oklahoma Dennis Meehan and Clovis Roblaine of the Plungers, on guitar and bass, respectively, and Susan Hyde-Holmes of Santa Fe's Milo De Venus (who plays bass on several cuts and penned the beautiful "Sleepy August Moon"). Another Austin connection pops up in songs by Emily Kaitz ("Sand Dune") and "Dangerous Dana" by the Explosives' Freddie Krc and Cam King.
The mood definitely brightens on a cover of Harlow Wilcox's "Groovy Grubworm," with Ware and Bob French trading solos over a "Memphis" groove.
Songs like "Our Man 008" prove our man Buffalo to be a contemporary instrumental rocker - like old schoolers Blakely and Paul Johnson and neo-surfers Laika & The Cosmonauts and The Plungers - capable of bringing the genre into the new millennium. As with the others, great guitar chops is a given; the secret is solid, melodic compositions exhibiting big, eclectic ears.
Dan Forte, Check This Action, Vintage Guitar,
This is Terry Ware's third album and it's another stirring guitar outing. He is aided by his regular drummer Ray VanHooser and a team of fine supporting musicians, the most significant being the tasty keyboard work of Dennis Borycki.
On the opening track things roll along very nicely with a thumping drum beat, a great rumbling riff and some tasty guitar work which rises from deep twang to crisp treble and then moves into a sustain solo before ogan takes a stirring break. All this and we're ony two minutes in. As the bass, guitar and drum riff rumbles on, Terry adds some contrasting delicate guitar touches to finish it off nicely. Like most tracks, this is an original from Terry and his team. The one exception is a meaty version of the Harlow Wilcox number Groovy Grubworm where Bob French shares lead guitar duties.
Sleepwalking Talk is an homage to the Farinas but is mercifully not a rewite of Sleepwalk. Instead it's a rich guitar ballad with a strong jangling electric guitar and organ swells beefing up the backing, and there's not a steel guitar in sight. Sleepy August Moon is another rich ballad, this time feauring Terry on baritone and slide guitar. The only let-down for me is the insistent lead guitar line on Turbo Wha?, but it is only two minutes long. Rumhogan Road, Dangerous Dana and Trigger Thumb are strongly rhythmic uptempo pieces and it's the varied styles allied to the rich sounds and fine playing which make Reverb Confiential such a satisfying listen.
Alan Taylor, Pipeline Instrumental Review,
Terry's chops are efficient, his pitch is clean and he has a flair for creating snappy hooks.
Guitarist Terry Buffalo Ware's main bag is traditional surf rock. But every now and then, he trims his instrumentals with some fancy accessories, which needless to say, adds a little something extra to the affair. The waltzing hum of an accordion can be heard on both "Sand Dune" and "Sleepy August Moon," while a chorus of handclaps surfaces on "Our Man 008." Terry's chops are efficient, his pitch is clean and he has a flair for creating snappy hooks. Jingly tambourines and chugging keyboards are also continually utilized throughout "Reverb Confidential." Further highlights included on the album are "Bob Meet Buster" and "Sleepwalking Talk (Homage to Santo and Johnny and Ann Farina)," which flicker and flow with space and emotion. Warm, sunny and rocking with life, "Reverb Confidential" demonstrates Terry's talent for writing and performing instrumental music to great effects.
Beverly Patterson, The Lance Monthly,
Very welcome return for the excellent Oklahoma guitarist Terry after his previously well received two earlier albums. Have to say this is excellent and will appeal to any guitar fans out there. Modern yet Ventures tinged; clean and with reverb; decent melodies on a mainly original set. "Sand Dune" is a lovely track with a bit of Duane sound floating in there and "Sleepy August Moon" is just gorgeous - almost cajun. "Sleepwalking Talk" is a tribute to Santo & Johnny and fun it is too. The 'Memphis'- like "Groovy Grubworm" gets a great treatment - better than the 1969 original we say. This is a cracking set to start NGD and with the production playing and arrangements being very decent, indeed, highly recommended. ****
Davy Peckett, The New Gandy Dancer,
Surf music from Oklahoma? Well, not exactly. Ware incorporates elements of surf (which has become a catch-all for any instrumental twang), but his palette is much broader. For instance, the majestic "Galactic Orphan" is subtitled "Meek's Shadow," and hearkens back to England's pre-Beatles scene with Hank Marvin and producer Joe Meek's spacey effects, while "Me And Mr. Z" is decidely unsurfy, recalling funky '70's jazz.
Travis Linville Chicken picks on a tribute to Buckaroo Don Rich; Mike Hosty cameos on slide; there's plenty of Dennis Borycki's organ; and Bob French supplies some appropriately dubbed "silky guitar." But it's Terry riding herd throughout, doubling (or quadrupling) on slide guitar, bass, and mandolin.
"Bustin' Surfborads" this is not, although rockers like "Snownado" and "Buster's Panic" get a little wet. But with eight Ware originals, a medley of Davie Allan biker tunes, a beautiful Duane Eddyesque ballad by the Plungers' Clovis Roblaine, and some spaghettin western from Milo De Venus' Susan Hyde Holmes, the overall mood is darker, more desolate. And Ware isn't timid about cranking it into sustained overdrive, as on his cover of Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" - a brilliant song choice.
An evocative sountrack in search of a movie. David Lynch and Quentin Tarrentino should check Buffalo out.
Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar Magazine
(c) 2004 Dan Forte; all rights reserved
Album number two from Terry "Buffalo" Ware finds him much deeper into the surf idiom while retaining his country roots. The writing seems much more developed to me, and the rhythms and melodies much more surfable. While this is not straight surf, there is a lot for a surf fan here, not the least of which is very fine playing and writing delivered through well thought out arrangements.
Phil Dirt, Reverb Central
Terry "Buffalo" Ware's first album received much praise from George Geddes in Pipeline 54 and his second is up to the mark too. It comprises mostly originals by Terry who provides nearly all of the guitar work on the album. He has a great bunch of musicians working with him, the rhythm section of Ray VanHooser (drums) and Marlin Butcher (bass) hold things together with a tight but rounded style. Terry brings others in to augment the sound on most tracks. Dennis Borycki is a frequent player, genrally filling out the sound on organ and most notably on the Davie Allan medley of Chopper and Fender Bender. This is atypical of the album's sound, but Terry's tastefully fuzzed sustain makes it a fine feature. The other well known non-original is a masterful and stirring arrangement of You Don't Have To Say You Love me, we're not talking limp copies here.
Mike Hosty joins the fray for the moody Belmont Blues where he adds some tasty slide to contrast with Terry's lead over Dennis' organ fills. Clear Bay Glide is a fine and proud ballad that is taken to a higher plane with its deft touches of slide whilst Snownado is an out and out rockin' twanger. There's another dreamy ballad in Desert Solitaire which Shads bands should investigate, a country break in Baffaroo, and more rockin' on Buster's Panic with its hints of surf.
Which brings me around to the album's opener, Galactic Orphan. This also has a slightly surfy feel but is remeinscent of so many rather average surf bands that, for me at least, it make poor introduction to the album. Ditch it and move straight into the meat, it's worth it.
Alan Taylor, Pipeline Instrumental Review 64
The flashiest guitarist in the roots rock movement indulges his penchant for '60s instrumental twang, a sort of red dirt-bike version of Davie Allan and the Arrows. Allan's "Blues Theme," "Telstar" by the Tornados and the entire catalog of Link Wray are the main inspirations.
Dave Marsh, Rock and Rap Confidential
One of the best kept secrets from the state of Oklahoma, guitar ace Terry Ware released his best album yet in 2004. The all instrumental 12 track Ridin' The Reverb Range finds Ware reviving the instro guitar field made famous by The Ventures, The Shadows, Booker T & The MG's, Frank Zappa and more recently by Los Straitjackets. With track titles like "Galactic Orphan (Meek's Shadow)" and "Bob Goes To Spy School", Ware keeps the spirits high and he even sums up fine covers of the Davie Allan classic "Chopper / Fender Bender" while offering his own instro take on the Dusty Springfield chestnut "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me". Featuring a range of originals, the CD establishes Ware right up there America's finest spy/surf guitar practitioners.
20th Century Guitar
Having played in a succession of bands since 1965, Terry Ware is no stranger to the scene. Based out of Norman, Oklahoma, this veteran guitarist is incredible, and that's an understatement. Terry's latest album, "Ridin' The Reverb Range," yields one striking instrumental after another. The disc exposes just how adept he is at performing an olio of different styles while still managing to parent a distinctive sound.
Splashed with dense structures, full-bodied melodies, and a rhythm section that's telepathically linked, tracks like "Bob Goes to Spy School," "Galactic Orphan (Meek's Shadow)" and "Buster's Panic" are first-rate surf rock specimens. Possessing the ability to make his guitar produce colors and emotions, Terry certainly has a mean set of chops. Each note he plucks resonates with personality. A cover of Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" shimmers and glimmers with beauty and grace, the rough and raucous "Buffaroo (Homage To Don Rich)" assumes a purebred hillbilly posture, and "Belmont Blues" adds a bout of soulful organ grooves to the party.
Beverly Patterson, The Lance Monthly
This is a gem of a find. An album of largely orignal compositions, and an assertion that "there were no drum machines or sequencing devices used" gets things off on the right foot. Terry Ware has been a working musician in the Southwest United States for over thirty years, working mainly in country rock, though he freely admits to influences such as Pete Townsend, Link Wray, the Beatles, Frank Zappa, Hendrix and Freddie King. The tracks here represent the instrumentals from his 1981 album Caffeine Dreams supplemented by tracks recorded in a home studio in the 80s. They are not in the least bit dated, however. With the exception of two Zappa numbers and a Bach three-part invention, all tracks are by Ware - and isn't The Battle Of Midriff Bulge just a great title? Terry plays guitar on all tracks, and contributes other instruments to several.
Terry manages to cover a fairly wide spectrum, the emphasis is on melody and there is much good instrumental playing without any showing off. The opening track gets things off in a fairly straightforward manner, but then the jaunty Bob's Funhouse changes the mood. Squirrel Patrol (love the titles) is a good solid melody which could have been cut by either Shadows or Ventures in their own styles. Hay Fever Waltz is a jazzy little number, and the same four piece line-up also cut the first Zappa track. Around The Block, the folksy Bob's Evil Twin and laid-back Cruisin' are multi-tracked as is Drizzle which is reminiscent of Sky in places.
There's still lots of nice pickin' on the Zappa vocal track which contrast with Rita Longhofer's vocal and Dave Coe's sax. On TheWing is back to the multi-tracking, and the CD is rounded off - if you'll excuse the term - with the afore-mentioned Battle...
which manages to be repetitive without becoming boring - there's even some sound effects in there. Given that these tracks were recorded over a period of time and some are over 20 years old, they do sound remarkably fresh. Enjoyable listening from a musician who is obviously highly professional. As you may have guessed, I liked it.
George Geddes, Pipeline Instrumental Review
Issue #54 2002
A local musical hero in his native Oklahoma, guitarist Terry Ware cut a number of guitar instrumental tracks back in the late 70s and 80s that for the longest time have remained unreleased until now. Recently, Ware took it upon himself to compile some of his unreleased pieces on a CD entitled "Buffalo Tracks," which he released on his own OkieMotion Records. Guitar-wise Ware's sound falls somewhere between The Ventures, Steve Cropper, George Harrison and Frank Zappa. The 13 track album features a number of fine Ware originals which he balances with a pair of Zappa originals including a cool cover of Rank's great "Peaches En Regalia" as well as a Ware version of the 3 Part Invention by classical icon J.S. Bach. Several artists lend a hand including Jim Herbst (drums) and Marlin Butcher (bass), but for the most part Ware skillfully performs all the guitar parts as well as mellotron, organ, snare drum and piano. "Buffalo Tracks" sheds light on Ware's accomplished, yet sadly uncelebrated musical background.
Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar Magazine