The Butterfield Blues Band – Live

Live (1970/2005)

C

1. Everything Going To Be Alright 2. Love Disease 3. The Boxer 4. No Amount Of Loving 5. Driftin’ And Driftin’ 6. Intro To Musicians 7. Number Nine 8. I Want To Be With You 9. Born Under A Bad Sign 10. Get Together Again 11. So Far, So Good 12. Gene’s Tune 13. Nobody’s Fault But Mine 14. Losing Hand 15. All In A Day 16. Feel So Bad 17. Except You 18. You’ve Got To Love Her With A Feeling 19. Love March

 

IF YOU’RE HAVING TROUBLE HEARING THIS ALBUM, IT’S BECAUSE IT’S BEING DROWNED OUT BY THE SOUND OF ME SNORING LOUDLY.

Two and a half endless hours of stoned, badly recorded jazz fusion whacking off interrupted only by some killer harp solos and a few decent, unmolested tunes. Words cannot express how much I despise the thinking behind this kind of jam-happy shit, which was all the rage in the late 60s/early 70s. “Look how progressive and cool we are! We have listened to Miles Davis! And we make this fact known with squawking, out of tune horns, limp, noodly lead guitar, drum solos, a rhythmic sense so loose and aimless that it’s like kicking Charlie Watts in the balls, and wasting countless minutes playing long, boring solos that will last until the fall of communism.” Indeed, if you dropped the needle on this thing when it came out in 1970, you were probably somewhere in the middle of “Get Together Again” as they began tearing down the Berlin Wall in 1989. Seriously, look at some of these fucking running times! 10:09 of “Everything’s Going To Be Alright,” a “Sweet Home Chicago” rewrite that was 2:59 when the original Butterfield Blues Band did it on The Original Lost Elektra Sessions, 13:44 of “Driftin’ And Driftin’,” 10:11 of a terrible jazz instrumental called “Number Nine,” and 9:18 of “So Far, So Good,” which was 2:29 on Keep On Moving. Plus the sultry, percussive rearrangement of “Born Under A Bad Sign,” which starts out sounding like it could be cool before deflating when Paul begins to sing it like he was too busy thinking about his grocery list (Milk. Eggs. Whiskey. Weed.) to give a shit, fades out after 5:44 so the record can fit on a CD, so I presume it was of similarly monstrous length on the original double vinyl. And that’s just the first disc! Which, in fact, was the entirety of the original album. Then, in 2005, somebody decided, “Hey! You know what the world needs? More stoned, badly recorded jazz fusion whacking off!” So now your reissued Paul Butterfield Live experience also includes 12:30 of “Gene’s Tune,” another terrible jazz instrumental, 14:29 of “Losing Hand,” which was 3:36 on Keep On Moving, 8:11 of “All In A Day,” which was 2:29 on Keep On Moving, and 12 MINUTES AND 26 GODDAMN SECONDS OF MOTHERFUCKING “LOVE MARCH,” ONE OF THE STUPIDEST SONGS I’VE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE, AND HERE MADE EXPONENTIALLY WORSE BY A BUNCH OF PRETENTIOUS ATONAL JAZZ NOISE!

Sorry about that. I was just making sure my caps lock button still works. But still, maybe I’m being overdramatic. The musicianship, courtesy of yet another new group of dudes, aside from the unpleasantly out of tune brass section, is solid overall, even if everyone is too stoned to actually generate much energy or excitement. By the way, if you’re wondering why this band’s lineup went through so many lineup changes, it’s apparently because Paul was very domineering as a bandleader and possibly a bit of a dick. That’s what I’ve gathered from hearsay on the internet, anyway. I can’t confirm this, seeing as I wasn’t born until four years after he died. All I know is that I once saw his son Gabriel perform live and he dressed and acted like a middle school gym teacher, which is probably not the type of person I would want to be in a band with (seriously, who plays a show in track pants?). Anyway, the new lineup retains most of the guys who played on Keep On Moving, including keyboardist Ted Harris, bassist Rod Hicks, and the horn section, but features guitarist Ralph Walsh in place of the already departed Buzz Feiten (did he have a dinner to go or something? He sure got out of the band quick) and new drummer George Davidson. Sax player/multi-instrumentalist Gene Dinwiddie gets to sing three songs and offers all the between song banter instead of Paul, punctuating every other sentence with “you dig.” The 60s, man!

OK, so as you might have gathered, long-winded jazz rock is not exactly my favorite form of musical expression. Maybe someone who “gets” it would appreciate this album. But I don’t see how anyone could stand to listen to the whole thing in one sitting. And why would anyone want to? The only times this series of aimless jams ever feels like it’s going anywhere is either when Paul is playing the harp (his deconstructions in the middle of “Driftin’ And Driftin’” and “Losing Hand” when the rest of the band drops out are significantly more listenable than almost every other section of the record) or when they occasionally feign to play a song without it descending into everyone on stage blowing air out their butts for ten minutes over ugly jazz chord changes. These rare instances include a sub-four minute (!) reggae-tinged soul ballad called “I Want To Be With You,” a pulsating two-chord gospel-style clap-along tune featuring only keyboards, percussion, and vocals called “Get Together Again,” and the guitar-based “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” which is not a Led Zeppelin song, but is, despite being seven minutes long, one of the very few tracks here the sounds like the band spent any time arranging it beyond, “OK, let’s smoke a joint, start playing, and see what happens!” I have no idea who wrote any of these songs, but whoever did, nice job! Everyone else who appears on this album – enough wanking! Shut the fuck up!



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