Archive for music

Moulin DVD highlight reel

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2009 by J.J.

The Web site that brought us the 13 Moulin Blues DVD, www.bluesdvd.nl, now has a YouTube channel. Of interest to us: A great quality highlight reel of the 13 DVD. If you’ve been on the fence about getting this concert, watch this video and get going!

DVD review: Red Devils at Moulin 1993

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by J.J.

By the 1993 Moulin Blues Festival, the Red Devils had been touring for several months on end, and the wear and tear can be seen — but not heard — in the three bonus tracks on the DVD.

While the band looks beat up, they are as tight a musical unit as one could hope for. The devastating, muscular tunes show why the band became legendary in just a few short years, and why they imploded just as quickly.

Paul Size at Moulin 1993

Immediately, you see a different Lester Butler from the 13 era. He looks dirty and heavy, with a bandana failing to keep his long hair from his face. A baggy shirt drapes his frame, and he sways precariously from side to side. His eyelids are heavy, and he has a not-all-there smile on his face. It’s a wonder that he can stand up, let alone perform.

The mini-set starts off with “She’s Dangerous” in the now-familiar live style, with the stop-time riff gone in favor of a piledriving rock beat. Bill Bateman swings hard on the drums, flipping his wrist to emphasize the snare beat. Paul Size, shirt open, cigarette dangling from his lip, eyes half-open, plays aggressively. The Bartel brothers hold down the cool: Jonny Ray swinging his bass at his hip, while Dave Lee strums frantically at his Les Paul Goldtop.
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DVD review: Lester Butler at his best

Posted in 13 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by J.J.

It’s very easy in hindsight to project added significance to the DVD “Live at Moulin Blues Ospel 1998 — Lester’s Legendary Last Gig.” Every song choice, every note, every glance can take on a different meaning knowing that Butler would be dead just a week later.

The reality is he probably considered it just another gig. A great gig, a lot of fun, but a gig nonetheless.

On any level you choose to watch it, this DVD is required viewing for Lester Butler and Red Devils fans.

Long available on bootleg video, this new official version actually enhances both Butler’s myth and his reality. It shows him to be an outstanding frontman and bandleader and also, for the first time, gives a glimpse at the offstage Lester his family and close friends knew.

While the opening graphic demures, “These recordings were never meant to be published. Therefore we apologize for the poor video and sound quality,” this DVD of the May 2, 1998, concert is a significant step up from the VHS version circulating among tape-traders. The sound and picture quality is very good most times; some mixing problems mar a few otherwise fine performances.
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DVD: Live at Moulin 1998 — Lester’s Legendary Last Gig

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2009 by J.J.

It’s rare for any “new” Lester Butler or Red Devils material to be released now, more than 10 years since Butler’s passing. Which is why the 2008 DVD “Live at Moulin Blues Ospel 1998 — Lester’s Legendary Last Gig” is such a special document.

moulin_dvd

Recorded at Butler’s last gig, just a week before his untimely death, the DVD captures the harpist and his band (Alex Schultz on guitar, Eddie Clark on drums and Mike Hightower on bass) at the height of their powers, performing a stellar set at the annual blues festival in the Netherlands. That Lester looks so happy throughout the disc is a real bonus.

I’ve just picked up a copy of the DVD, though many of us have seen these performances in bootleg form. Over the next few weeks, I plan a series of reviews looking at the concert and extras:

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Lester Butler — 13 with a bullet!

Posted in lester butler with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by J.J.

One of the best interviews with Lester Butler floating on the Internet is a 1997 Q&A with New Zealand music magazine The Real Groove called “13 with a bullet!” It touches on blues, drugs, religion and spirituality, tattoos, death, rehab and more. The interview is getting harder to find on the web, so here it is once again:

LESTER BUTLER — 13 with a bullet!
By Arsenio Orteza, The Real Groove

lester_13

Were truth serum forced down the throats of blues aficionados, many of them might confess to admiring or respecting the importance of the blues a lot more than they actually enjoy the music. And who could blame them? The blues is, after all, the most repetitious music in the Western world, and let him who has never trumpeted music for ulterior motives cast the first rolling stone.

Lester Butler, the 37-year-old, harp-playing force of nature who first came to notoriety as the front man for the late and much-lamented Red Devils, plays a different kind of blues altogether. In fact, he and his new band 13 don’t so much play the blues as allow it to inhabit them and throttle them within an inch of their professional viability. (“We broke mics, and it was fun,” laughs Butler in reference to the recording of 13 Featuring Lester Butler, their new Hightone album. “But we’ll never record in that studio again because they’re totally pissed at how many mics I broke. That wasn’t ‘respectful.’”) As a result, the 13 songs on 13 Featuring Lester Butler — especially the homicidally maniacal “Plague of Madness” – don’t sound performed so much as possessed.

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Timeline added: Tours, albums, festivals, more

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2009 by J.J.

We’ve added a Red Devils/Lester Butler timeline to nofightin.com. The timeline will focus specifically on The Red Devils proper, along with Lester Butler and 13.

This will be a perpetual work in progress, with corrections and additions coming when appropriate. I’ve trolled the web to find opening slots and tour dates, along with other important chronology. And almost every item in the timeline will be linked back to a “source” for verification. (Some without links were independently verified by nofightin.com or are “common-knowledge” events.)

As always, your help is appreciated!

Red Devils 1992 Def American press kit

Posted in red devils with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by J.J.

def_american_onesheetNot knowing much about The Red Devils in 1992, the Def American press kit was pretty much the only source of info I had for the band. I got this press kit while working at the Indiana Daily Student, before the band came to play a gig at Jake’s Nightclub. I’ll write more about that experience later, but for now, let’s crack open the envelope:

The main piece in the kit was the Red Devils’ one-sheet, a pretty detailed bio of the band, with nods to Hollywood Fats, Junior Watson and more. This is still some required reading for Devils’ fans — it sort of fills in the mythological blanks, and pegs the trio of Lester Butler, Bill Bateman and Jonny Ray Bartel as the three founding members.
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