George "Wild Child" Butler earned his nickname early in life because of his continual misbehavior as a youngster growing up in Alabama. Although Butler's travels have taken him from Montgomery to Chicago to Houston and New Orleans, and even time working out of Ontario, Canada, he has remained a harp player who has not strayed far from the rural Alabama roots where he first picked up a harp at the age of 12.
Now a highly accomplished yet grossly underrated master of the blues harp, Butler has recorded his fourth solo album after moving to the roots wise APO-Acoustic Sounds label. For his debut APO release, entitled Sho' Nuff, Butler displays his enormous skills on harp and vocals as he works his way through thirteen original songs. Backed by a star-studded band that includes Jimmy D. Lane (guitar), Robert Stroger (bass), Sam Lay (drums) and a special guest, Jimmie Lee Robinson, who plays acoustic guitar on "You Had Quit Me," Butler offers a mix of straight-ahead Chicago blues mixed with doses of acoustic blues and even a number where he is only accompanied by his trusty harmonica.
About half of the songs on Sho' Nuff are well-crafted Chicago blues, featuring excellent guitar, a strong rhythm section and Butler's ever present harp and vocals. Songs like "Open Up Baby" and "Mayanne" are particularly entertaining with their full band sound. The rest of the songs are acoustic blues with spartan instrumentation and a sound that one might hear on the front porch of a home deep in the rural south.
Sho' Nuff is filled with gems, including "You Had Quit Me," where Butler is accompanied only by the guitars of Jimmy D. Lane and Chicago blues legend Jimmie Lee Robinson as background to his plaintive harp and vocals. This followed immediately by "I Got To Go (Sweet Daddy-O)," a great sounding Chicago style blues that is given a solid beat thanks to the fine rhythm section of Sam Lay and Robert Stroger, two stalwarts of Chicago blues. "Funky Things" is truly a unique song simply because of the fact that Butler performs the song with no accompaniment other than his voice and his harp. Also exceptional is the slow blues boogie "Loving," with its hypnotic John Lee Hooker inspired riff.
George "Wild Child" Butler's inaugural recording for APO-Acoustic Sounds is a fine example of the skills possessed by this remarkable bluesman. Be sure to pick up a copy of Sho' Nuff at your local music shoppe or visit the APO-Acoustic Sounds website at www.acousticsounds.com.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.