Henry Butler

The Game Has Just Begun

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    5
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Henry Butler goes all-out electric on his first Basin Street release, outfitting his rootsy brand of blues-rock with synth textures, keyboard bass, even drum machine on a few tracks. Raymond Weber lays down real drums most of the time; the guitar solos by June Yamagishi and Shane Theriot are often blistering. Artistically, however, the results are mixed. The disc gets off to a strong start with four hard-hitting originals, then loses its way until track eight, a grooving rendition of "High-Heeled Sneakers" featuring Butler's superb piano. But the rock covers ("Great Balls of Fire," "Riders on the Storm") are listless, the pop arrangements ("You Are My Sunshine," "When You Listen With Your Eyes") are middle of the road, and the three electronic mood instrumentals are interesting only up to a point. (A 15-minute question-and-answer session with Butler ends the disc.) This is definitely not the best starting point for anyone new to Butler's music.

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