Friday, September 14, 2018

Another Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume Two, Track Eleven

I apologize for the rather sporadic posting schedule over the summer.  I've been trying to spend what spare time I have working on CD reviews for Blues Bytes.  Due to being very busy at work and at home, I've been pretty backed up for quite a while, which is why I haven't been posting reviews here as much.....I hate to write them up twice when I could be working on another release.  I'm hoping to catch up, maybe by the end of the year, but I'm still about two months behind.  It's a nice problem to have, though, because there are some great new releases that are out there right now.  Anyway, you didn't come by to hear my want to hear some real good down-home blues, right?  Well, check out this week's selection from our Blues Fix Mix CD.......Track Eleven to be exact.

This week's track is a bit of a change of pace and features one of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite duos, guitarist Corey Harris and New Orleans' late, great piano man Henry Butler, who passed away just a couple of months ago.  Harris' acoustic blues really made their mark when he signed with Alligator back in 1995.  His version of the Delta blues was refreshing and dynamic on his debut, and he also added other influences to his music with each new album, such as New Orleans jazz, Latin, Island, and World Music.  On his 1999 masterpiece, Greens From The Garden, Harris collaborated with Butler for the first time.  Butler's catalog was nearly as eclectic as Harris', with ventures into not only jazz, but blues, funk, and even a bit of classical and gospel.

In 2000, Harris and Butler collaborated for Vu-Du Menz, a wonderful set of blues guitar/piano duets that bring to mind the classic sounds of 20's and 30's blues.  The pair also dove into soul, barrelhouse,  ragtime and a couple of gospel tracks.  There are so many good songs on this set, but my favorite has to be the lively, piano-driven "If You Let A Man Kick You Once."  Written by Harris, this is a fun track that would have been a great fit during the 20's and 30's.  His lyrics are entertaining and Butler really tears it up on piano.  The line "From the time you're born, 'til you're ridin' in the hearse/ain't nothin' so bad that it couldn't get worse" is one that each of us can use just about every day of our lives......I know I have used it many times.  

As stated above, Butler died in early July from colon cancer.  He recorded a few albums after Vu-Du Menz, including a fantastic collection of solo live performances in 2008 that spanned a couple of decades called PiaNOLA Live.  Harris has continued to record as well, though he's into African and Jamaican music as much as he is the blues.  Whatever music he chooses to make is compelling music.

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