Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paul Butterfield's Better Days It All Comes Back 1973

I never think of myself as much of a blues fan. I can surely enjoy some of it, and I own my share, but I almost never want to get through an entire blues record after the first time.

I was rooting through the stacks as I stumbled on this gem from 1973. A great take on the blues, the Better Days band was a more organic, country blues sounding outfit, than the Paul Butterfield Blues Band recordings that preceded the Better Days project. This is their second, and last, record. It will be released this month as a reasonably priced two-fer with the first, albeit slightly less brilliant, Better Days self-titled debut, both on one CD.

Too Many Drivers licks things off in fine rocking style, a hot blues answer to Drive My Car. It's Getting Harder To Survive is a stomping blues with a funky piano riff. The spare country blues of Mose Allison's If You Live benefits from the fine guitars of Geoff Mudaur and Amos Garrett, as does the entire record. Butterfield belts out Win Or Lose with conviction, and his harmonica is scorching on this driving blues-rock. Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It is another rhythmic blues, and a fine ode to hedonism. Ronnie Barron serves up a great vocal on Louisiana Flood, and adds more of his funky piano to the title track, that closes the record.

Only Small Town Talk, a nice Rick Danko composition, but not really a blues, and Muldaur's weak Poor Boy disappoint. And you might like those more than I do.

The band is hot, Butterfield is a fine singer, as are Barron and Muldaur, the harmonica is smokin', and the piano and guitars are deep in a groove. They don't make them like this anymore.

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