Archive for September, 2011

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.”

“Better Cut That Out” lyrics

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , on September 5, 2011 by J.J.

While the closer “Better Cut That Out” is a favorite on the “King King” record, one question remains: Just what is Lester Butler singing?

This song is a little rough — Butler sings the second verse twice — and even the album credits are confusing. On the first Def American pressings, the song is called “Cut That Out” and attributed to Junior Wells, whose version obviously inspired the Devils. Subsequent American Recordings versions call it “Better Cut That Out,” with credit going to Sonny Boy Williamson (likely No. 1, John Lee Williamson), which is a much more accurate designation.

The lyric that causes the most trouble is the second line in the first verse. Butler sings the cuplet,

Yeah when you get drunk you wanna fuss and cut
Sure to get drunk you know a rock and roll hearse

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USA Today: “King King” raw, rootsy blues

Posted in red devils with tags , , , on September 3, 2011 by J.J.

A glowing “King King” review from USA Today’s Oct. 28, 1992, edition. Is this one of the earlier, mainstream notices of that album?

RED DEVILS LIVE ALBUM BLASTS RAW, ROOTSY BLUES
by Edna Gundersen
USA Today

"King King"

Hellbent for blues, the red-hot Red Devils have cranked out the year’s most electrifying live album, a stunning debut. Even a band this sharp and spirited will be hard-pressed to top it. The raw and rootsy “King King” (***1/2), produced by sonic sharpshooter Rick Rubin, was recorded at L.A.’s King King club, where the Devils served as house band for six years. Whether blasting their own “Goin’ to the Church” or breathing new fire into Sonny Boy Williamson’s loping “Cross Your Heart,” the band outshines any contemporaries with its lean, high-powered and nasty approach to Chicago blues. Catch their opening act on Los Lobos’ current tour (tonight, at the Varsity in Baton Rouge, La.)

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