Billy Butler

Right Track: The Very Best of Billy Butler

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When one thinks of Curtis Mayfield and the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, the loss is slightly mitigated by the fact that he left behind a uniquely large body of music, not only in the form of his own recordings, but also in music by others that he produced on OKeh and other imprints (including his own Curtom Records). Between all of the projects to which he applied his talents, all of which sound astonishingly like Mayfield sides or Impressions sides, one suspects that assembling a truly comprehensive set of Curtis Mayfield's output could easily run to some 15 or 20 CDs. Billy Butler's music, as produced by Mayfield, could easily fill one of those CDs. One of the finest LPs ever issued on OKeh, Right Track: The Very Best Of contained many of the best musical moments recorded by Butler with Mayfield producing, including the powerful, driving, soaring title track and the slower ballad "I Can't Work No Longer." Around them are such gorgeous tracks as the falsetto-dominated, horn-and-bongo driven "(You Make Me Think) You Ain't Ready"; the funkier "Gotta Get Away" (which sounds as though it were the inspiration for Mitch Murray's "I Knew It All the Time"); the elegant, ethereal, reverb-drenched "Found True Love," and the dance number "Boston Monkey." Right Track has been reissued several times on CD, but the LP is still a great stand-alone collector's item and a musical marvel.