“13 featuring Lester Butler” reissue due in March

Long out of print, “13 featuring Lester Butler” appears to be headed back to stores.

Copies of the 1997 album, first issued on the now-defunct HighTone label, are scarce, and often sell for nearly $100 on eBay.

Now, almost exactly 14 years after its debut, “13” looks like it’s being reissued through Rockbeat Records.

There is not much information on this record yet, as it has just begun appearing on sites such as amazon.com, bn.com and others. Here are a few things we do know:

  • It’s most likely a reissue. The name of the disc and notes that the original release date was 1997 indicate that this is a re-issue of the HighTone record.
  • Most sites say the release date is March 8. Amazon.com lists March 22.
  • There isn’t much info on Rockbeat Records. The only other record we can find being released on that label is a best-of from Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. Both Lester and Sandy were on HighTone — coincidence?

Interesting to see a different cover for the reissue, but that’s not surprising; Butler’s original “13” cover was unorthodox to say the least, and putting his face out front will certainly mean more to hardcore fans. That it appears to be an outtake from the photo sessions that yielded the back-cover and tray pics from the original “13” makes it all the cooler. Maybe the sleeve will have more rare photos?

Even more tantalizing is the possibility of bonus tracks, though we have no reason to suspect more songs even exist. We were told by HighTone several years ago that they had licensed the album as-is, and there weren’t more tracks. If there are any bonus cuts, they probably won’t have come through HighTone.

Regardless, the reissue of “13” is a milestone for Lester Butler fans. His music will again be affordable and readily available, at least for a short time. A disc like this could spark more interest in the harp player and The Red Devils; if it does well, maybe we could see further reissues or repackaging?

Published by J.J.

Drums and barbecue ribs. Blues music.

5 thoughts on ““13 featuring Lester Butler” reissue due in March

  1. Yeah, I know it’s probably just a reissue, but I can’t wait to see it. It’s about the only thing that passes for “new” in a long while. Would LOVE to see some new cuts, and there just has to be some additional material out there.

    I…I want…*sigh*…I want to hear the second Devils album, dammit! I KNOW it exists! ARRRRGH!


  2. Don’t hold back Tom!

    As long as we’re dreaming … rather than the second album, I’d rather here a couple of outtakes from King King.

    It was that combination of band/club/production by Rick Rubin that we all fell in love with. To hear one more song with *that vibe* — that no one has been able to capture since — would be tops for me.


  3. Yeah, man, I do believe you’re 100% correct there. Even if Rubin seemed to totally lose interest in the band after a while (understandably, in some respects), he still just flat out *got* what they’re sound was all about and did a damn good job capturing it. I have only heard one other recording that approached that sort of fevered, packed-room, live attack, and that’s from the Paul Butterfield Strawberry Jam album.

    So, two votes for King King outtakes.


  4. more than a little curious to see, and hear this! From the inside view, to me the record was mastered poorly in the first place, and could sound a lot better. Let’s say there definitely are outtakes and extra tunes from the sessions that yielded 13 featuring L.B. (his choice of title and billing, by the way) and the raw, roughs sound in a way a lot better than the finished disc.
    I’m guessing these folks (Rockbeat Records) will just do a straight re-issue instead of a full re-master that the material deserves. At least it’ll be out there. The original copies will probably be worth even MORE now!
    Sorry, I can’t help you guys on King King extras…. Alex


  5. Alex and I both have out takes from the 13 sessions and the masters do exist somewhere. As to whom has them is a mystery wrapped in a shroud as Lester would have liked it that way. Alex and I have digital copies of those sessions and it would be nice some day for them to come to light. We have no idea who Rockbeat records is either but it would be at least nice to get some promotional copies!


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