George had another Uncle, Walter Buford, who owned a forty acre farm close to Memphis and he would often stay and help out on the farm. At the end of each week’s hard toil his uncle would drive into town and relax in the juke joints of Beale Street. When George grew older Walter began to take him on his forays into Memphis and one night he heard the blasting sound of Louis Jordan on the juke box and was immediately captivated by the exciting world of R&B.
In 1944 his family left Hernando for the good life in Memphis and George married Rosa Lee, sired two children, pretended to be older, and got a job as a dustman. Four years later B.B. King had his Memphis radio show and the local blues scene began to crank up. Joe Hill Louis, Sonny Boy Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf were hot and by the time Muddy and Little Walter shouted ‘All Aboard’ George was in the store, buying his first harmonica, and dreaming of the big time. He wandered over to radio WDIA and became B.B.’s chauffeur driving him to gigs and soaking up the atmosphere.
When he was 19 Rosa divorced George and he moved to Chicago and, almost immediately, formed the ‘Savage Boy Band’. This band easily found work in the clubs, lounges and bars which pumped rocking R&B twenty four hours a day. Indeed they became so successful that Muddy Waters persuaded them to become the Muddy Waters Jnr Band which filled in on Muddy’s ‘Smittys Corner’ residency
whenever the man himself was on tour. In 1962 he replaced James Cotton in the Muddy Waters (Senior) Band whilst also working as Little Jnr Buford when Muddy’s band was on the road. By then he had become very proficient on harp and his version of ‘Mojo Working’ rocked the socks off his audiences to the extent that they began to call him ‘Mojo’.
By 1963 George had re-located to Minneapolis and recorded a bunch of very fine tracks with Jo Jo Williams, Dave Copperfield and S.P. Leavy. These recordings were issued on two albums on Folk Art as Mojo and the Chicago 4 and bizarrely on Mount Vernon as Ray Charles. This latter imprint featured
two old Ray Charles tracks and ten by George. The following year he cut two excellent singles for Adell under the Mojo and Chicago 4 moniker and another for Sama as The Voodoo Man before settling down as Mojo Buford for the superb ‘Whole Lotta Woman’ on Bangar. Whilst touring with Muddy in ’67 he recorded a session with him for Chess in Chicago and later helped record a great album
featuring himself and other band members for Douglas Records in New York. In 1969 he was back in Minnesota working under his own name and recorded two singles for Twin Town. In the November of
that year produced the fantastic ‘Deep Sea Diver’ for Garret. All the Minneapolis recordings are highly sought after collector items and well worth searching out. 1971/72 was his last stint with Muddy and it was during their tour of the UK that I met him for the first time obtaining his autograph as Mo-Jo Buford!
Since then Mo-Jo has spent his time moving back and forth between Memphis and Minneapolis and has been recording and working regularly in bars, clubs and festivals
throughout the States and Europe ever since.