The Butler Twins – Not Gonna Worry About Tomorrow
The 1995 complete session of classic electric downhome blues from Detroit blues legends. THE BUTLER TWINS had been laboring in total obscurity for decades, lost in a Detroit scene that nobody seemed to pay much attention to anymore. But there were some heroes there called The Detroit Blues Society (if memory serves me) and they put out a very nice live album by the Twins that came to my attention. Hard, tough electric Delta style Blues translated into an urban setting with one brother playing superb harmonica and singing and the other playing what I can only loosely describe as ‘Jimmy Rogers’ style rhythm guitar. Added to that, some really nice songwriting.
1. My baby’s Coming Home - 2. I Finally Found Me a Girl - 3. Not Gonna Worry About Tomorrow - 4. I Know You Don't Love Me Baby - 5. 1-900 - 6. You Don't Need Me - 7. Going Down a Long Country Road - 8. Crack House Baby - 9. That Old Devil (Crossroads) - 10. Bring It On Back to Me - 11. Travelin' Down South - 12. Inner City Blues -
Clarence Butler (harmonica, vocals) , Curtis Butler (rhythm guitar) , Kenny Parker (lead guitar) , Jeff Grand (guitar on 2, slide guitar on 9,11) , Buster Wylie Tatterson (bass) , Eddie Harsch (piano, Hammond B3) , Martin Gross (drums)
1995 – we were busy with a lot of album sessions then, really making a noise on the contemporary blues scene. Gloriously refusing to create a ‘house’ style or sound – it was far more interesting to have various collaborators, different approaches. But it was all what I would call ‘real blues’ for want of a better label. The Butler Twins had been laboring in total obscurity for decades, lost in a Detroit scene that nobody seemed to pay much attention to anymore. But there were some heroes there called The Detroit Blues Society (if memory serves me) and they put out a very nice live album by the Twins that came to my attention. Hard, tough electric Delta style Blues translated into an urban setting with one brother playing superb harmonica and singing and the other playing what I can only loosely describe as ‘Jimmy Rogers’ style rhythm guitar. Added to that, some really nice songwriting. Listen to the songs and lyrics on 1-900 about those nice ladies who will chat to you on the phone! Inner City Blues with its social comment, Crack House Baby about, well, a crack house girlfriend, and much other good stuff too.
Connections were made – Jeff Grand was in the process of moving on from being their guitarist, but set things up for the session and set up the band which included Kenny Parker – who plays some astounding solos. Kenny is up there with the best, and is still today on the scene and creating good music of his own. And for you rockers out there, the Eddie Harsch on keyboards is the same guy who was in the Black Crowes at the time, but Eddie also had many stints with blues bands including James Cotton. The history of the Twins is fascinating. Born on January 21 in 1942 near Florence, Alabama, their father was a bluesman of repute and they grew up living and breathing the music. They moved to Detroit in the early 1960s and became part of the local scene through good times and bad. But either they never caught the attention of producers and label owners or, more likely, Clarence, a strong willed individual, might not have seemed like a musician who would accept dodgy deals and ripoffs…
However, after three decades it started to happen for them. This album resulted in a very nice British and European tour and, I think, a couple of later European festival visits. A second album for JSP followed and they guested on a couple of tracks on Kenny Parker’s really splendid JSP album. And then – off to Cannonball Records they went. They cut some tracks for a Detroit compilation and had that label (so I heard) attempt to set them up for an album with all of the Muddy Waters band musicians – Willie Big Eye Smith, Pinetop Perkins etc. But hearsay has it that Clarence point blank refused – fearing that his own band would then desert him. Who knows, I was only picking up the stories secondhand, but like so much of the Twins’ career it’s another ‘might have been’ moment…
The Twins died in 2003 and 2004 never having any more opportunities come their way. But the albums live on, and if you like rough, tough ‘they don’t make albums like that anymore’ music then this is for you…