Archive for 13 featuring lester butler

Tamines 1997 reissue is a miss

Posted in 13, lester butler with tags , on December 20, 2015 by J.J.

A new album with the “Lester Butler” name on the cover is a rare thing, but “Live at Tamines 1997” misses the mark for both hardcore fans and newcomers.

From the song selections, to the notes, to the packaging, so little care seems to have been put into this release. While a new disc could both satisfy and fuel Butler fandom, the release by RockBeat Records likely won’t find the audience to justify any more reissues.Live at Tamines 1997

IT’S OLD: The Tamines festival gig has been floating around bootleg circles for years. Most Lester Butler fans — this online and on early tape-swapping lists — have had this recording in their collections for years.

For them, there is nothing new here. Even a bonus track, “Automatic,” from the 1998 Moulin Blues Festival in Ospel, has been widely circulated and seems to be here just to fill out disc two.

IT’S DAUNTING: A double-album like this naturally costs more. That’s a barrier for new fans, who aren’t going to spend more for an artist they aren’t familiar with, and won’t commit to two discs of unheard live material from nearly 20 years ago.

The run times for this live show, helpfully listed on the CD’s back cover, would scare off even the most sturdy blues fan: 9:57, 8:47, 8:30, 6:17, 12:59, 10:39 …

IT’S LAZY: Though there are production and mastering credits, the disc is clearly bootleg-rific. The drums — especially the kick — are too high in the mix. The entire sound is trebly, with very little bass. The crowd participation, which usually helps justify a live release, is inaudible. Clearly, the recording was from a soundboard mix and was not meant to be heard in recorded format.

The laziness extends to the packaging.
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“So Low Down” lyrics

Posted in 13 with tags , , , on June 15, 2015 by J.J.

“So Low Down” (Lester Butler), from “13 featuring Lester Butler”

13

Here come baby, she’s so down
She been ballin’ in my town
So low down, my baby’s so low down

Sleep all day, out all night
Lowdown woman feel all right
So low down, my baby’s so low down
She’s sleepin’ in the ground …

My baby so low down

(harp solo)

Down on Union (unintelligible)
Babe I know just what to do
You’re so low down
My baby’s so low down
She’s sleepin’ in the ground …

My baby’s so low down!

My baby’s so low down
She’s sleepin’ in the ground
She’s just like wine and brown
And I can’t put her down
My baby’s so low down

(harp solo out)

Transcribed by nofightin.com. More lyrics here.

“Way Down South” lyrics

Posted in 13 with tags , , , on June 2, 2013 by J.J.

“Way Down South” (Lester Butler), from “13 featuring Lester Butler”

Baby you hot and I just can’t stand it
I got the high temperature
Baby you hot and i just can’t stand it
I got the high temperature
Love like a drug and it give me fever
Mama there ain’t no cure

Baby come from way down south
Way on down behind the sun
Baby come from way down south
Way on down behind the sun
You look so good that I gotta be a man
Baby got to have your fun

(guitar solo)

Oh yeah, way on down in New Orleans
Yeah baby, way on down in New Orleans
You look so good that I just can’t stand it
I got a trick that’s gonna make you scream

(harp solo)

Transcribed by nofightin.com. More lyrics here.

“Black Hearted Woman” lyrics

Posted in 13 with tags , , , on July 4, 2012 by J.J.

“Black Hearted Woman” (Lester Butler), from “13 featuring Lester Butler”

Well all right all right
Black hearted woman
Worst thing I’ve seen
She stole my friend Lonnie
Yeah, life should have been a dream

Well all right all right

(harp solo)

Al right all right
You walked through the fire
You came back from the dead
Black hearted woman
Went and pulled him back again
Went and pulled him back again
Went and pulled him back again

(harp & guitar solos out)

Transcribed by nofightin.com. More lyrics here.

Alex Schultz on 13: “The songs were Lester Butler”

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by J.J.

It’s clear that his time with 13 and Lester Butler has had an impact on guitarist Alex Schultz.

When talking with Schultz at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival last year, he was open, engaging and honest. His experiences differ from some other musicians who worked with Butler over the years, as he fondly recalled the charismatic harp player and singer. And he was more than willing to talk about fleshing out the songs that would become “13 featuring Lester Butler,” his impressions of “Lester’s Legendary Last Gig” and his memories of someone who grew to be a close friend.

On that May day in 2011, Schultz had just gotten off stage where he performed several Butler songs with Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, Willie J. Campbell and Johnny Morgan. Schultz takes responsibility to be true to those songs and Butler’s memory.

“(The songs) were so unique, and they were so unique to this guy,” Schultz said. “The songs were Lester Butler, and he was such a unique person, unique character. So the songs and the music was kind of singular. They weren’t the type of tunes you would just say, ‘oh, let’s do a cover of that tune’.”

“We got very close as friends. And his approach to the music also was very, like, all-inclusive. You had to be like 110 percent into the music. That’s how he was … To play those songs was like very emotional. Imagine standing next to Lester Butler on stage every night. Some nights it was so incredible and he was so into the music and it was so real, and so I got drawn into it as well, and I played it that way.”

“So it became like an emotional experience to play that stuff. It’s not something you would casually do, and say, ‘oh yeah, let’s do ‘So Low Down.” If we’re going to do that, we’ve got to really feel it and go there.”

Listen to the Schultz interview here, edited for clarity and content:

MP3: Alex Schultz interview May 29, 2011 (26:01)

0:00-12:14: Playing songs from 13; the uniqueness of the music; working with Big Pete; contrasting Butler with William Clarke and Rod Piazza.
12:14-20:15: Writing the songs; demo sessions; “Plague of Madness”
20:15-26:01: How fans remember Butler; Schultz’s friendship with Butler; recovery; memories of Moulin 1998

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All photos by Tina Hanagan except the one with Schultz, Perry and Hanagan.

“Close to You” lyrics

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , on February 13, 2012 by J.J.

“Close to You” (Willie Dixon), from “13 featuring Lester Butler”

Let me close with you baby like white on rice
Close with you darlin’ like cold is to ice
Close with you darlin’ like hair on your head
Close with you baby, now, believe what I said
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“Boogie Disease” lyrics

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , on October 13, 2011 by J.J.

“Boogie Disease” (Dr. Isaiah Ross), from “13 featuring Lester Butler”

Got to boogie for the doctor
Got to boogie for the nurse
Got to keep on boogie’n ’til they throw me in a hearse

Got to boogie
Got to boogie
‘Til the break of dawn

Got to boogie in the alley
Gonna boogie in the street
Got to keep on boogie’n ’til it knock me off my feet

Got to boogie
I got the boogie
Got the boogie disease

Transcribed by nofightin.com. More lyrics here.

Johnny Morgan on 13: “It was a hybrid”

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by J.J.

The versions of “Sweet Tooth” and “Black Hearted Woman” that ended up on “13 featuring Lester Butler” were actually the demo tracks, featuring the propulsive drumming of Johnny Morgan.

I spoke with Morgan back on May 29, 2011, at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival, minutes after he got off stage playing behind Big Pete, Alex Schultz and Willie J. Campbell as part of a tribute to Lester Butler.

In the interview, Morgan talks about recording those demos and how the band was spurred on to get more aggressive, what Butler was listening to, and what he thought of his singing voice, among other observations.

MP3: John Morgan interview May 29, 2011 (8:30)

EDIT 2/26/12: Listen to an interview with Alex Schultz from the 2011 Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Fest.

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All photos by Tina Hanagan

Review: Bonus tracks, new packaging highlight 13 reissue

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by J.J.

“13 featuring Lester Butler” is available again. The reissue, out March 22 on RockBeat Records, features new art, new liner notes and three bonus tracks previously available only on bootleg.

We are on record with our love of “13,” so the quality of the music is not in doubt on this reissue. Instead, let’s look at what’s new here:

BONUS TRACKS: The three “new” live cuts will be of most interest to Butler fans — though they’ve been in circulation for years. The liner notes wrongly (and incompletely) claim the songs are from the “Tamines Festival, France, 1997.” In fact, “I Wish You Would,” “Boogie Disease” and “So Mean to Me” were actually recorded Aug. 29, 1997, at the 7th South Blues Festival in Tamines, Sambreville, Belgium.

The bonus cuts show the “other” 13 — the live unit of Alex Schultz, Eddie Clark and Mike Hightower that took Europe by storm in 1997-98 with its wild, expansive blues explorations. Amazingly, the three bonus tracks clock in at more than six minutes each, making them the three longest cuts on the reissue by far. The 19 additional minutes are literally half the length of the lean, mean original album.
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3 live bonus tracks on 13 reissue

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2011 by J.J.

The “13 featuring Lester Butler” reissue will include three live bonus cuts from the Tamines Festival in 1997.

The tracklist for the disc, out March 22, was revealed today in a news release and e-mail exchange with RockBeat Records, a division of S’More Entertainment:

13 FEATURING LESTER BUTLER

There are very few white blues bands that have been able to take the blues to a new level without compromising the integrity of the sound.  Lester Butler seemed to understand the blues structure and he performed with an attitude and an edge that stands him apart from his contemporaries.  He was able to shape his sound by bringing the blues harp more upfront and not take a back seat to the lead guitar.  His playing reflects the passion and love for the blues that remain long after his active career. Butler worked with some great musicians, including Bill Bateman, Paul “the kid” Size, Jonny Ray and Dave Lee Bartel during his stint with The Red Devils. In both bands, Lester was clearly the star, but he always had topnotch support with musicians that propelled his sound to fever pitch intensity. In America the scene was pretty jaded, but it was in Europe where Lester really gained popularity playing at festivals such as Tamines in France.  He passed away tragically in May 1998.
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