Review: Red Butler – Freedom Bound

Posted on: Monday, Aug 25, 2014

Red Butler album cover by Jim Holder Photography.jpg

Red Butler – Freedom Bound

(Self-release: AJCS21UBFE14)

Here’s a  most promising full-length debut from young Sussex band, Red Butler. “Freedom Bound” features almost entirely all original material penned by the band, and a most interesting cover . . . more of which later. The band comprise: Alex Butler (guitar and backing vocals), Jane Chloe Pearce (vocals), Charlie  Simpson (drums and percussion) and Stephen Eveleigh (bass and backing vocals), with assistance from Maik Pehrsson (piano) and Darren Vassie (trumpet).

The band deliver a mainly uptempo rocky edge to the blues, but with plenty of ‘light and shade’ for good measure, and in guitarist Alex Butler have a very fine player who really has it all; together with Jane Chloe Pearce’s tough vocals and the tight rhythm section.

The music kicks off with the strutting “Jaywalker” – recently awarded a play on the prestigious Paul Jones Radio 2 blues show, with Butler’s guitar answering Pearce’s vocals before the pace is taken up with a swaggering riff and all the band kicking in; the following “Pension Blues” again rides on a lovely groove from the guitar of Alex Butler – it’s a curious tale of the perils of pensions and money from a young age to much older. The rocking “Danger Zone” reminds me a little of Free, with Charlie Simpson’s thunderous drums kicking it off, and a fine vocal from Jane Chloe Pearce.

A  highlight is the 2:52 of “Young And Free” – a bluesy shuffle that fairly rattles along – with confident performances from all, and a nice contribution from guest piano player, Maik Pehrsson. Next up is the cover of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates “Shakin’ All Over” – it is given a radical slowed-down reworking and doesn’t really work for me – although well done to the band for taking a different approach to a much-covered standard. “Hoodoo” features Alex Butler’s acoustic slide, giving a stripped-down Delta blues feel.

Another standout is the atmospheric slow blues of “River Of Smoke”, that shows the more delicate side of Butler’s guitar work; and it is followed by the very rocky “Hard Drivin’ Man” that again rides on a terrific hook and riff, with the almost duelling voice and guitar.

This enjoyable release ends with the title cut, “Freedom Bound”, a slow bluesy number with another rich vocal from Pearce and more guitar fireworks from Butler . . . inspired by the singers interest in the history of slavery . . . check this band out, with festival appearances and high-profile gigs they seem set to be firmly ‘on the rise’!


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