Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wild Child Butler Knew These Mean Old Blues

These Mean Old Blues by George ‘Wild Child’ Butler appeared on Bullseye Blues in the early 1990s. The following review appeared in the June 1992 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 171), although I have made slight stylistic revisions. This release is still available as a CD or as digital downloads. I received my review copy from Rounder Records, Bullseye’s parent company.

A fine set for harmonica blues fans, George ‘Wild Child’ Butler’s These Mean Old Blues (Bullseye Blues, are his first recordings since Funky Butt Lover in 1976 (now available on Rooster Blues). This London session captures some of the flavor of a Willie Dixon session. Some of these songs, The Devil Made Me Do It, and No One Woman’s Man, sound like songs Dixon wrote for Howlin’ Wolf.

Butler is a capable, harmonica player who best suggests Sonny Boy Williamson, and he is a solid, ebullient, vocalist. He is particularly effective in a solo, country-blues mode (where he recalls the second Sonny Boy) such as on Walkin’ the Little Girl Home, where the mix of harp and narrative is very effective. Wild Child’s It’s a Pity is a nice Dixon-like topical minor-key blues.

Wild Child Butler may not be among the first-rank of post-war blues singers or harp-players, but he puts on a good show, and makes a good record. Overall, this is a tasty blues morsel.

Here is a video of the Wild Child performing.

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