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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Sam Butler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sam Butler. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Severn Records artist: Sam Butler - Raise Your Hands - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Raise Your Hands, from former Blind Boys of Alabama guitarist, Sam Butler, and it's exceptional! Opening with spiritual, blues rocker, Heaven's Wall, penned by Bruce Springsteen and it's off the hook. With it's driving guitar mantra, Butler's bluesy vocals and wild pedal steel work by Roosevelt Collier, this is a great opener. Rocker, The Lord has a driving beat compliments of Marco Giovino on drums. Butler shows his chops on this track with an almost Foghat feel! Johnny Cash's Lead Me Father has a great drum rhythm compliments of Giovino and this track is fat. With it's spiritual melody but rock like vamp, and soaring guitar soloing, this track is cool! Eric Clapton's Presence Of The Lord has a really nice redo. I think most everyone on the planet has heard this track and this is such a soulful makeover, with subtle but tasty guitar work and then meaty guitar frenzy, it is almost unrecognizable. Absolutely remarkable! Tom Waits' Gospel Train has a real theatrical feel and a dark overtone. Butler's vocals riding the bass line of Viktor Krauss and Butler's solitary guitar lead is solid. U2 track, Magnificent, is much more appealing to my ears than ever by U2. A solid rock beat and Collier's pedal steel searing the melody from the bottom carries Butler on lead vocal and guitar for what could be the radio track of the release. Very nice! Van Morrison's Full Force Gale, has an ethereal feel with a lot of open sound and a solid drum pattern. Butler gently lays his vocals on the slipstream as they ride along on a cloud of music. Masterful! Lee Ann Womack's All His Saints builds almost like a the soundtrack for a battle. Slowly gaining power as it goes with tom toms, reverb guitar, and Butlers powerful vocals. Nice Cave's God's Hotel is a stripped down rocker with Howlin' Wolf like gravelly vocals by Butler and well balanced rhythm and pedal steel backing. Curtis Mayfield's Wherever You Leadeth is as sweet as soul music gets. I personally think that Mayfield is one of the great masters and Butler does an excellent job on this classic. With his easy interpretation of Mayfield's sound and lush guitar work under the melody, this is one of my favorites tracks on the release. Swampy, Long Black Cadillac, has such a great feel with strong vocals, a rhythm part and great interweaving of bass, guitar, and pedal steel, this track is super. Wrapping the release is Eliza Gilkyson's Sanctuary, a solemn track featuring Butler's soulful vocals guiding nicely presented pedal steel work. Collier does an absolutely terrific job on this track adding to it's already powerful impact. Excellent!

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blind Boys of Alabama Guitarist Sam Butler Exults His Audience to "Raise Your Hands!" On First Solo CD, Due October 16 on Severn Records

Blind Boys of Alabama Guitarist Sam Butler Exults His Audience to Raise Your Hands! On First Solo CD, Due October 16 on Severn Records

Americana Compilation of Bluesy Spirituals Penned by Secular Artists Shines the Spotlight on His Many Talents

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Severn Records announces an October 16 release date for Raise Your Hands!, the first solo recording from Blind Boys of Alabama guitarist Sam Butler. Produced by Brian Brinkerhoff (Guitar Shorty, Jazz Soul 7), the even-dozen tracks on Raise Your Hands! showcase the splendid talents of Butler, whose guitar work has been a staple of The Blind Boys of Alabama for over 40 years.

Sam Butler’s solo debut puts his own spin on an Americana compilation of bluesy spirituals written by some of the most important and compelling artists and songwriters of the last fifty years of rock and roll (Bruce Springsteen, U2, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, etc.), with some righteous results. Butler’s resume also includes work with Keith Richards, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan and gospel legend Clarence Fountain, and he can currently be seen in the critically-acclaimed play, The Gospel at Colonus. On Raise Your Hands, Butler is joined by an impressive list of stellar musicians, including Sacred Steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier, drummer Marco Giovino (Robert Plant, Tom Jones) and bassist Viktor Kraus (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell).

“I wanted to make a bluesy and rootsy album of spiritual songs originally performed by traditionally secular artists,” says producer Brian Brinkerhoff about the recording sessions. “Having been familiar with Sam’s roots and gospel work with The Blind Boys of Alabama and Clarence Fountain, I approached him with the idea and we quickly enlisted an A-list team of players to join Sam on this musical adventure. Esteemed Sacred Steel player Roosevelt Collier was an obvious choice to bring his lap steel virtuosity; and when Nashville’s first call rhythm section of drummer Marco Giovino and bassist Viktor Kraus became available, a dynamic three-day musical worship service of sorts took place in Nashville, with the results being Raise Your Hands!” 
You can tell a lot by the company that one keeps.  Following this logic, it’s clear that Sam Butler is an incredibly important and dynamic artist. When legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and his producer Steve Jordan wanted to add some truth to Richard’s 1989 solo album, Talk Is Cheap, they called on Sam to “moan” on a track. Steely Dan main man Donald Fagan was so moved by Sam's soulful stirrings and guitar playing in the much-lauded play, The Gospel at Colonus, he has been a collaborator, friend and fan of Sam’s for more than 20 years. And of course, The Blind Boys of Alabama have enjoyed the support of Sam’s guitar playing for more than 40 years, a position that he apprenticed for by accompanying his father, influential guitarist Samuel Butler Sr., on the road with The Blind Boys of Mississippi, beginning at the age of four.

Raise Your Hands! is a 12-song celebration that runs the gamut of energy and emotions - from the rollicking up-tempo to the quiet and introspective - and Butler delivers the performances of a lifetime. Raise Your Hands! will certainly make you do just that … and move your body and shout out loud! From Sam Butler’s lips to God’s ears.

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Raise Your Hands! Track List

1.      Heaven’s Wall 3:55 (B. Springsteen)
2.      The Lord 2:41 (B. Gibb, M. Gibb)
3.      Lead Me Father 2:51 (J. Cash) 
4.      Presence of the Lord 4:21 (E. Clapton)
5.      Gospel Train 2:52 (T. Waits)
6.      Magnificent 3:34 (A. Clayton, B. Eno, D. Evans, P. Hewson, D. Lanois, L. Mullen)
7.      Full Force Gale 6:17 (V. Morrison) 
8.      All His Saints 3:50 (M. Smith)
9.      God’s Hotel 3:47 (N. Cave, P. Kelly)
10.  Wherever You Leadeth 4:14 (C. Mayfield) 
11.  Long Black Cadillac 4:30 (R. Halligan) 
12.  Sanctuary 4:23 (E. Gilkyson)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Do What The Lord Say Do - Clarence Fountain and Sam Butler

ONE Entertainment System Unlimited presents Clarence Fountain, of the Blind Boys of Alabama, featuring Sam Butler, Jr. The NEW CD, "Stepping Up And Stepping Out", is set for a release date of August 25th in 2009. Produced by Jim Tullio (Mavis Staples, Los Lonely Boys), Sam Butler, Jr., and Clarence Fountain, this new album features special guest, Donald Fagan of Steely Dan. .... As a founding member of the colossal group, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain's smooth blues-based Gospel songs share the sheen of Bobby Bland and the love-man style of Marvin Gaye. His passionate versions of Gospel standards have an easy tempo and a Memphis groove. Formed some six and a half decades ago, the Blind Boys of Alabama are the iron men of the music industry. They predate Elvis, Little Richard, and Al Green yet even in their seventies, are still at the top of the Gospel charts. .... In recent years, the Blind Boys have proven themselves masters of bringing out the most spiritual aspects of mainstream music, while at the same time bringing the music of the church straight to the roadhouse. In the past five years they recorded moving renditions of songs by everyone from Tom Waits to Prince, side by side with their traditional material and appeared as guests on record and on stage with an equally diverse array of artists from Peter Gabriel to Ben Harper. .... Their last several albums have earned these hipster septuagenarians the best reviews and record sales of their career which includes four Grammy Awards in a four-year span and ultimately exposed them to a completely new contemporary audience. An addtional FIFTH Grammy in 2009 was awarded to the Blind Boys for Lifetime Achievement..... Sam Butler Jr., at the tender age of four years old, started singing in church and began playing the guitar at the age of seven. As a musician, he has worked with many noted performers in both the secular and Gospel communities. Included among the many stellar performers with whom Sam has performed are: The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Staple Singers, The Gospel Keynotes, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Joe Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Keith Richards, Roger Christian, Dorothy Norwood, Chris Brubeck, Gary Katz, Donald Fagan, Bobby Womack, and John Cale. .... Sam and Clarence, along with various members of the Blind Boys of Alabama, were also in the original cast of the critically acclaimed off-Broadway play, The Gospel At Colonus, which won the coveted OBIE award. A clip of this outstanding musical can be seen on page. IT'S A MUST-SEE !! Sam was also musical director and second lead singer for the Blind Boys of Alabama, and, along with Clarence Fountain, was nominated in two categories for the 2007 GMA Dove Awards If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do What The Lord Say Do - Clarence Fountain/ Sam Butler

Clarence Fountain was one of the founding members of the Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama, a group that was formed when he was a 12-year-old student at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Alabama. The group, which drew all of its members from the school, was originally known as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers. They made their first recordings in 1948 after adopting their permanent name and had a recording career that extended over a more than 60-year span. Fountain broke with the group in 1969 to pursue a solo career and recorded two albums with Jewel, then rejoined the group in 1980. In 1983 the group performed as the chorus in the Obie-winning adaptation of a Sophocles play, The Gospel at Colonus, and continued to revive their roles in that play several times in the following years. Fountain continued to record for Jewel in the '90s, as well as issuing compilations of his work on a variety of labels. Working with fellow Blind Boys' alumnus Sam Butler (Fountain had actually mentored Butler in the group), Fountain and Butler released the wonderful Stepping Up & Stepping Out album, an emotionally balanced set of both gospel and secular numbers, on Solomon Burke's Tyscot Records in 2009. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”