Archive for the lester butler Category

1995: Inside Lester Butler’s ‘lost year’

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , on March 23, 2014 by J.J.

In the wake of the Classic Rock article, there seems to be more talk and memories about The Red Devils than there has been in years. Much of it is happening on Facebook, and nofightin.com has seen a surge in visitors.lester_moulin_promo

One story that has come back around is by Rob Neighbors, called “My Time with Blues Legend, Lester Butler.” It was posted last week on the Delta Groove website, but was first posted on Neighbors’ site, Hollywood or Die, in October 2011.

The account fills in the day-to-day about what could be thought of as Butler’s “lost year,” 1995 — lost at least in terms of national prominence. It was clearly after the heyday of The Red Devils, and before the formation of 13 and his renaissance in Europe. Time when he was playing pickup gigs and local shows.

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Welcome to nofightin.com

Posted in 13, lester butler, red devils with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by J.J.

For those coming to this site for the first time, welcome to nofightin.com.

We have been here since 2009, cataloging the short but stellar career of The Red Devils and Lester Butler.

Wander around and find rare music, videos and reviews, and meet other fans — and some of the musicians who made the records we love so much.
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To get you started, here are some of the most popular and essential posts and pages on nofightin.com.

Lyrics: Everything on “King King,” most of “13,” live stuff and more.

2 Meter Sessies: In lieu of a second Red Devils record, this live radio set from 1993 can fill the void.

“Lester’s Legendary Last Gig”: Full coverage of the DVD release of 13′s classic 1998 Moulin Blues performance.

“Lousiana Blues”: The story behind one of the most rare songs in the Devils’ discography, released on a promo tape before “King King” came out in ’92.

“Blues in the Morning”: Hear The Red Devils rock KCRW in 1992, including their rare take on “Shake ‘Em On Down.”

VPRO: Famous & rare Lester Butler TV appearance, blowing a little acoustic harp, talking Little Walter and jamming with G. Love.

Inside King King: Pictures from what is believed to be The Red Devils’ last King King gig.

MTV Europe: The band shuffles through a pair of tunes on the music video channel.

Finally, a pair of ruminations on the band we love: Memories of hearing the record for the first time in 1992, and a more recent take on just what makes “King King” so special.

Thanks to Paul Rees for the mention in Classic Rock Magazine.

Blue Cafe posters ’95-’96

Posted in lester butler with tags , , on January 10, 2014 by J.J.

blue_cafe_posters_1995_1996

Our friend Vince Jordan provided these posters from his Long Beach, Calif., club the Blue Cafe. Lester Butler bands, in various configurations, were regulars there.

Even if you never visited the club before it closed 10 years ago, check out the Blue Cafe Facebook page. There are all kinds of great blues photos and memorabilia there.

Dave Alvin remembers Butler and Red Devils

Posted in bill bateman, lester butler, red devils with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2013 by J.J.

Dave Alvin posted his thoughts to Facebook Dec. 4:

Got to thinking today about the late, talented Lester Butler and the short lived but tough little blues outfit, The Red Devils, so I found a good clip of the guys playing some European festival over a decade ago. Yeah, that’s Blaster Bill Bateman on drums and Knitter Johnny Ray Bartel on bass backing up Lester as he blows the hell out of his harp. In those days they battled their demons while dancing damn close to the edge but for a few shining hours they played some great damn rocking blues. I’m glad some film remains of Lester and the guys before things ended as ugly and sad as anything could.

Alvin, of course, is essential to The Red Devils, basically a spin-off band to The Blasters. Dave Alvin played in the original Blue Shadows trio with Bill Bateman and Jonny Ray Bartel, and teams still with Bartel in The Knitters.

As of this writing, the post has 422 likes, 64 comments and 86 shares.

And he posted this video, from PinkPop, more than 20 years ago:

Burnside/Butler remix: “It’s Bad You Know”

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , on October 13, 2013 by J.J.

Found on YouTube: A new remix of “It’s Bad You Know” from R.L. Burnside’s “Come On In” record. Lester Butler played the harp lick, which became famous in promos for “The Sopranos.”

The video was posted June 3, 2013, by Russ Stevens, with the description: “THIS IS AN EXTENDED VERSION, BY MARE AND SOLARIS, GIPSY BALCAN BOOGIE.”

It’s different, a little repetitive — even for a remix — but interesting to hear Butler’s harp do things you don’t expect. That makes it fresh, and worth a listen for fans.

Spare bands & one-and-dones

Posted in 13, lester butler with tags , , , , on September 2, 2013 by J.J.

Blues musicians will know … get a group of guys together, come up with a name, and you are a “band” for a night. Might have those same four guys another night, new name. Use a different drummer for a pickup gig, and that’s three. One of those bands, likely, was called the Blues Meisters. Law of averages.

The Red Devils had a fairly monogamous relationship during the prime ’92-’93 years: Butler, Size, Bartel, Bartel and Bateman — save for Mike Flanigin taking North American duties for Dave Lee Bartel in late 1992. But once Paul Size left the band in mid-’93, all bets were off.

Here are some of the random situations featuring Lester Butler, primarily between The Red Devils and 13.

THE BACKSTREET CRAWLERS: “Tonight at 9 [at the Blue Cafe], the Backstreet Crawlers, featuring Lester of the Red Devils on harmonica. The Crawlers are an L.A.-based blues outfit who often have non-musician celebs dropping by to jam.” — Long Beach, Calif., Press-Telegram, July 25, 1992 Continue reading

Block in memoriam: Lester Butler

Posted in lester butler with tags , , on April 10, 2012 by J.J.

The introduction page of the April/May/June 1998 issue of Dutch blues magazine Block read, “Daarbij kwam het schokkende nieuws rond het overlijden van Lester Butler, een week na diens spirituele optreden in Ospel.” (“It came the shocking news about the death of Lester Butler, a week after his spiritual appearance in Ospel.”)

The magazine pages have come from our friend Feelgood. The translation — rough as it is — from Google Translate with some contextual editing. Some of the facts here are unverified by No Fightin’, and may be unclear or incorrect because of the translation. Any help with a better English version is appreciated.

In memoriam: Lester Butler

On Saturday, May 2nd the Moulin Blues festival closed with the most exciting and impressive jam that I experienced since North Sea ’83. Lester Butler ruled with a firm hand members of his group of 13, half the James Harman Band, ex-Red Devil Paul Size, Joe Louis Walker and Billy Branch. In addition, he sang and played like he was possessed by the devil.
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Lester Butler memorials 1998

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , on October 8, 2011 by J.J.

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Not long after Lester Butler died in May 1998, I received a package from Enrico Crivellaro, who was Butler’s touring guitarist in 13 in 1997. We had kept in touch after meeting in Kentucky and Indiana, and now he had sent along a memorial flier for Butler, along with a prayer card and short biography (the text of which became the introduction text of Jasper Heikens’ Lester Butler tribute site).

Last year, in a trove of archives sent by 13 drummer Eddie Clark, we received the backside of the memorial flier, with directions to the May 24, 1998, event, as well as a mailing for a “Bad Ass Birthday Blues Bash” for Butler on Nov. 12 and 13, 1998.

Outtakes from famous Lester Butler photo session

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2011 by J.J.

Photographer Rens Horn sheds light on how he captured an iconic image of Lester Butler.

Based in The Netherlands, Horn shot Butler during his 1997 tour through Europe. The photographer has posted some outtakes, and explained to us how the elements came together, from concept to session:

The pictures were taken in Rotterdam on Sept. 10, 1997, just across the artist entrance of Nighttown where 13 would perform that night.

The first time I saw Lester play I had this picture in my mind: While playing you couldn’t see his face, and while singing you couldn’t see his tattooed arms the way you would when playing, and I wanted to see both at the same time. … (D)ays before this portrait was made I took some pictures at a concert in Tegelen, on stage with Lori’s backstage pass. After the concert I asked Lester if I could take his portrait when he was playing in Rotterdam and he agreed.

I brought my own harp (the one in the picture is mine) and prints of the pictures I took before, just average concert pictures but “messed up” in the darkroom (I call it “rensomatic”). He loved the way they looked as did Alex Schultz who happens to love photography as well and was actually related with some of my photographer heroes through his dad. So he was willing to pose and we shared a couple of minutes in front of the garage door.

After a few frames it occurred to me that the holes in the door resembled that of the holes in the harp so we shot two or three more and that was it. He liked the picture a lot and on one occasion, years later, he gave me his T-shirt and said “thanks for the pictures and your friendship.”

Lester Butler remembered at Simi Valley Cajun & Blues festival

Posted in lester butler, related music with tags , , , on June 2, 2011 by J.J.

For one afternoon only, Lester Butler was back on stage.

A portrait of Butler — blowing harp, arms covered in tats — by artist Theo Reijnders rested on an easel stage left May 29 at the 22nd Annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival for a performance by Big Pete and his Lester Butler Tribute Band.

It was the American coming out party for Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, and he was tapped to pay tribute to his primary inspiration, as he has done numerous times in Europe. It was clear there was anticipation to see this big blond kid from Holland everyone had heard so much about — the area in front of the stage was filled with musicians, Lester’s friends and family and serious music lovers.

Big Pete

Alex Schultz

Johnny Morgan

[All photography by Tina Hanagan]

As Delta Groove CEO and Butler friend Randy Chortkoff said when he introduced Big Pete, “When I close my eyes, I hear Lester Butler.”

Pete and his band — 13 veterans Alex Schultz on guitar and Johnny Morgan on drums, along with Willie J. Campbell (replacing Rick Reed) on bass — used Butler’s music as a jump-off point to showcase their own incredible talents, performing a series of songs and grooves unlike anything else heard all weekend. That the music sounded as fresh Sunday as it did 14 years ago is testament to Butler’s foresight.

More photos and video after the jump  Continue reading

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