DVD review: Photos show Butler’s private side
Besides the stellar concert, the DVD “Live at Moulin Blues Ospel 1998 — Lester’s Legendary Last Gig” boasts a photo gallery totalling about 80 pictures, many of which are never-before-seen personal images of Butler and his family.
Over a music bed of 13’s “Pray for Me” and “Way Down South,” the images on the DVD extra scroll across the screen in a rough timeline, beginning with Lester as a young, tow-headed boy with a girl assumed to be a sister. He’s wearing a tie and a red vest, with an angelic smile. It’s a great way to start this tour of Lester’s life.
Those close to Butler have for years talked about his love of surfing and the ocean, and here you see pics of an athletic looking Lester in surf gear at the ocean, looking like anything but the crazed harmonica player we’re used to seeing on stage. Pictures of Butler on a boat, or playing with children in a tent or gathered with his family at Christmastime show a more human side to the mythical “Lester Butler.”
Many of the candid photos look to have been taken between the Devils and 13 periods — Lester is thin and healthy, but missing his sleeves.
And fans will also laugh at a couple of photos showing a young Butler dressed in full blues-geek uniform: Short, slicked-back blond hair, poofy bowling-style shirts tucked into his pleated pants. Looking underage and scrawny, it’s easy to forget that Butler was just a blues fan like so many others, and did take some time before he found his own voice and style.
Less essential are still grabs from both 13’s and the Red Devils’ Moulin concerts. They are generally repetitive, especially given the moving images on the DVD’s concert footage. More interesting are backstage photos of Butler at Moulin, partying with Paul Size, signing autographs for fans, and intently watching another act from the audience.