The Butanes Soul Revue
@ The Cabooze, January 31, 1998


The Butanes Soul Revue
The Cabooze 1/31/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp
All rights reserved
This is the first time, in a long time, I have been able to see the Butanes for an entire evening of their music. Recently the only way I have been able to see the Butanes is at a local festival (the Twin Cities Blues Festival last summer for just one set) or backing the likes of Al Rapone, King Floyd, Robert Ward or Earl King. So this was a special night Ė three long sets of sweet soul music by one of the best. This was big band soul Ė ten musicians strong. The band was fronted by the high energy singing of Maurice Jacox (he also brought out his baritone saxophone later in the show) who was joined on vocals by Aisha Baker and Deb Brown (former Lights Out Committee members). The tight rhythm section of John Lindberg on bass (and vocals) and Dan Hostetler on drums was complemented by the stoic yet versatile keyboard playing of Virgil Nelson. The horn section of Jim Greenwell on tenor saxophone, Brad Shermock on trumpet and Mike Nelson on trombone really define this music and these guys played with a feeling that brought back the great soul sound of the Stax/Volt and Memphis heydays of the 1960ís and 70ís. The final member of the group, Curtis Obeda on guitar (and vocals), was the key element that really defines the Butaneís wonderful sound. His superb guitar playing is always right on the money. Curt knows when to play a fine, understated lead or excellent backing rhythm and when he does step forward (literally) for an electrifying solo, hold on to your hat Ďcause this cat can play with a feeling and passion that really grabs hold of you. By the way, The Butanes are one of the few non New Orleans bands that play annually at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, usually playing with Earl King.


Curtis Obeda
The Cabooze 1/31/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp
All rights reserved
Even though each of the players are outstanding musicians by themselves it is the "band" playing together that produces this great music. This "soul revue" was a reunion for the band and fans who used to make their weekly trek to the Cabooze close to a decade ago and party the night away to some of the best soul music in the Twin Cities. Maurice Jacox said they hadnít had the opportunity to play this music together in a long time and even though they may have had the jitters they quickly found the groove with songs like "Hard Working Woman," and "A Nickel and A Nail" (which featured a very soulful guitar solo by Obeda). After Jacox sang the Solomon Burke classic "Cry To Me" they could have packed up and quite right there and I would have been satisfied. But this was only the beginning, the rest of the night featured a song list that took us down memory lane.


Jacox, Lingberg, Brown, Baker
The Cabooze 1/31/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp
All rights reserved
"Finders Keepers" featured John Lindberg taking on the lead vocals while he laid down a solid bass groove. John is one of the few bass players in town that can take a bass solo and make it mean something. Other songs from the first set included "I Didnít Know The Meaning Of Pain," "Home In Your Heart," "(Take Care Of Your) Homework," "Precious, Precious," "Love And Happiness," "I Ainít Particular," and a marvelous medley of "Turn Back The Hands Of Time/Time Is Tight/Time." This last medley featured Virgil Nelson playing a great "Booker T" groove on the organ. It was also during this fist set that the crowd erupted with one of the loudest responses of the night as they cheered on the emotion dripping horn section with each player taking turns trying to raise the roof.


Maurice Jacox
The Cabooze 1/31/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp
All rights reserved
The second set led off with "I'm Qualified," "Love Man," and "Sixty Minute Man." Songs like "Turning Point" featured Jacox in fine form with that classic soul voice of his playing tag with the horn section. We were teased with the occasional swoops into his falsetto that hit the ceiling on "Iíve Never Found A Girl," and were left breathless with one of his sustained notes that keep us wondering when he was going to run out of air. Jacox also treated us to some flashy costume changes with the start of each set. By the time the third set came around we were dazzled with the spectacular rust red fringe leather jacket worn by Jacox. Sweat was flying off his face by this time as he glided through his dance steps or punctuated his singing with one of his martial arts like front high kicks.


Shermock, Greenwell, Nelson, Jacox
The Cabooze 1/31/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp
All rights reserved
"I got the Will" featured Deb Brown on lead vocals and Maurice on Baritone Sax. I only wish the vocals were a little louder as they were drowned out somewhat by the band at this point. They did a funky version of "Iko Iko" with Virgil adding his whistle to the rolling keyboards. The last set was a little looser than the first two and they strayed away from the soul format slightly. This was still great fun though. Curtis had an extended solo on his blues song "Without You" that really put the "b" in blues. He played with a passion and feeling that few can pull off.

The club was packed with long time Butanes' fans reveling in some great nostalgia and if you have the Atomic Theory live CD "One Night" (recorded during one of these Cabooze shows from 1990) you can relive this fantastic night of soul music. The band wanted to thank Jim, Killer and Jason for handling the house sound, lights and monitors.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright © 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
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