Review: Paul Butler – Cities Made Of Gold

Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Paul Butler – Cities Made Of Gold

(PAJ02CD)

’60s Blues boom veteran Paul Butler strengthens his comeback from a 27-year hiatus with another fine album of confident, mixed-bag rootsy fare. The Blue Horizon stalwart’s first solo album Days Will Come was well received a couple of years back. But there’s no chance of ‘difficult second album syndrome’ here as Butler probably has loads of inspiration stored in the bank.

He plays all guitars, bass, dobro, harp and mandolin and has taken on board a fine back-up team including former Jellybread bandmate Pete Wingfield on keyboards. But it’s all wonderfully uncluttered.

There’s a nocturnal New Orleans vibe with brassy trumpet and trombone punctuating slide and expressive picking on opener ‘Just One Bite’ before Tammy Rogers’ fiddle adds a suitably bleak but evocative country feel to murder ballad ‘Dark Side of Town’ sweeping in and out of Butler’s wailing harmonica.

‘Can’t Make That Call’ builds up the strum slowly with a lilting timelessness until harmonica howls sweet pain. Rogers’ jazzy violin then adds just the right bounce to the jazzy ‘She Runs With Foxes.’

‘Don’t Need No Telephone’ is particularly well crafted with appropriate backing vocals and string section plus the album’s first real guitar solo. The title track is an acoustic guitar offering in the fine singer-songwriter tradition with slide and accordion (Wim Oudijk) all creating a fine finale. But wait, there’s a bonus track, the funky ‘Sweet Sea Creature’ in which the horns return alongside unexpected steel pans from Oudijk. I should have expected the unexpected by now in a consistently interesting collection which cements Paul Butler’s welcome return to action.

JOHN BOTTOMLEY

http://www.paulbutler-music.com/

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