Archive for 13 featuring lester butler

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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“13 featuring Lester Butler” reissue due in March

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , on February 19, 2011 by J.J.

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:
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