Lester Butler memorials 1998

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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.

3 Responses to “Lester Butler memorials 1998”

  1. Keith Randall Says:

    Thanks to the YouTube posting of She’s Dynamite (which I play several times a day) and Time To Cry, I have (re) discovered the great music of Lester Butler and The Red Devils. I thank you for your good work.

    I say rediscovered…back when King King and Thirteen were new, I owned the CDs but I was not ready to hear them; the latter CD in particular seemed too dark in tone and spirit. Here’s my point regarding my incorrect perception – and the funeral service: I note with great interest Lester Butler’s comment about “…the healing force of the blues”. So: here’s a man living on the edge, addicted, seemingly very tough and street-wise and yet his aim is to spread that healing. I hear that that is true in every note he plays, in every line he sings.

    It is my conviction that death is an illusion and furthermore, no-one dies unwillingly! Yes, it may appear to be a tragic accident or incident; yes we miss them, yes we may feel anger at the mode of their passing – but they live on, as we all do!

    Evidence? I have lots of it but here’s a related example: The last time I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan was August 28th 2000, on stage at the Colne Blues Festival, England, plain as day and larger than mortal life, exactly ten years after he passed on.

    And lastly: Would Alex Schultz please send me an e mail? It’s been too long since we communicated and I have a CD for you!

  2. @Keith: Great observations. I think “13” holds up as something really different, but I think we’ve seen blues move today more toward what Lester Butler was doing back in the mid-90s. The “retro” look and feel of the ’80s and ’90s have given way to a lot looser style and look — how many blues guys in those post-T-birds years would have been caught dead in Converse and black T’s on stage? And the music has gotten rawer, too, even when it swings.

    Check out the interview on this site, “13 with a bullet.” Butler addresses that yin/yang thing many great artists deal with, Butler in particular.

  3. Keith Randall Says:

    J.J. : Huge thanks for alerting me to the ’13 wih a bullet’ interview.

    There are things that Lester Butler and I have in common, such as not being remotely interested in Christianity but being acutely aware of a Higher Power and the potential for healing via the blues and other ways. I am also a friend of James Harman and Alex Schultz (although I haven’t spent as much time with either of them as I would have liked) and although ‘Kenny Wayne’ may be playing the right stuff now (I wouldn’t know), he sure wasn’t then…

    There it ends: I’ve never done drugs, I have never had a motorcycle – and I can’t play tennis. There goes my tennis song, damnit!

    Lester comes across to me as highly intelligent, funny, deep and as a great bluesman and humanitarian. I am so pleased that I’ve found his music (better late than never) and that nofightin.com are doing such a fine job.

    Thanks again, keep in touch and keep loving the blues.

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