Band members Related acts
up 1 (1972-73)
- Larry McDonald -- congas
- Allan Sharp -- congas
- Mick Weaver -- keyboards
line up 2 (1975)
- Mike Berkowitz
- Robbie Kreiger -- vocals, guitar
- Bobbi Hall -- congas
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Butts Band
Company: Blue Thumb
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor ring and edge wear
Catalog ID: 2050
In the wake of Jim Morrison's tragic death, the three surviving Doors staggered along releasing a pair of marginal album. 1972 found drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robbie Kreiger and singer/keyboardist Ray Manzarek in London looking for a replacement for the late Morrison. They auditioned a numnber of singers including Kevin Coyne (of the band Siren), Jess Roden (then with Bronco), and Howard Werth (of Audience). Werth was apparently the heir apparent, but at the last minute Manzaerk had doubts abiut the whole project and returned to Los Angeles. That left Densmore and Kreiger to decide The Doors nameplate had run out of creative steam, bringing a well deserved end to the band (at least until three decades later when Krieger and Manzarek tried to resurrect The Doors). Still in London, Densmore and Kreiger decided to continue their musical collaboration. They quickly decided to form a band, recruiting bassist Phillip Chen, keyboard player Roy Davis and vocalist Roden for the unfortunately named Butts Band.
photo: left to right: Roden - Krieger - Densmore - Davis -- Chin
1.) I Won't Be Alone Anymore (Robbie Krieger) - 4:35
Roden's catchy voice, 'I Won't Be Alone Anymore' was a catchy FM-ready
blues-rocker that was my choice for the album's best performance.
Great Hammond solo from Roy Davis and Krieger showed why he's one of rock's
most talented, if frequently forgotten, guitarists. rating:
A rollicking bar band rocker with a great great hook, it was easy to see why 'Baja Bus' was tapped as the album's single. Nice electric piano from Davis and Chen laid down some truly funky bass lines during the song's extended instrumental fadeout. (Larry McDonald on congas ...) The track was tapped as an instantly obscure single:
1973's 'Baja Bus' b/w 'Pop-a-Top' (Blue Thumb catalog number BTA 242)
dark, slightly ominous mid-tempo rockers, 'Sweet Danger' was another album
highlight. Always loved the cheesy synthesizers. The song
was also notable as one of the few spots where Krieger cut loose with a
wonderful jazzy solo. rating:
Built on a reggae rhythm, 'Pop-a-Top' was the album's most blatantly commercial offering. Fun song with Chen turning in some fascinating bass lines. Roden sounded great on this one. rating: *** stars
1.) Be with Me (Robbie Krieger) - 4:25
pleasant, radio-ready pop-rock tune, 'Be with Me' would not have sounded bad
on your local top-40 radio station, though there's a good chance you would
have mistaken it for Sanford-Townshend Band, or Pablo Cruise. rating:
of three Roden originals, 'New Ways' was interesting for displaying some
nice harmony vocals over a breezy bar band rocker. Powered by Roden's
raspy voice, the track actually sounded a bit like an early Bad Company
effort. Krieger kicked in some tasty slide guitar. rating:
'Love Your Brothers'
started out as a
rather forgettable bluesy number; got a little better during the chorus and
then went downhill when it shifted into a Mick Weaver organ workout.
Once again, Krieger's guitar work provided the highlights. See the
link below for a link to a live performance of the song. rating:
The liner notes didn't indicated where it was recorded, but showcasing some great Krieger slide guitar, Mick Weaver of Wurlizter piano, and Roden tearing out his vocals chords, the live version of 'Kansas City' was the album's standout performance. rating: **** stars
The band briefly toured the States in support of the album after which Densmore and Krieger decided to call it quits and the rest of the band went back in the UK.
For anyone interested, neither the sound or video quality are great, but YouTube has an extended clip of the band performing 'Love Your Brother' and 'Kansas City' on a 1974 appearance on the Midnight Special concert television show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-X4VZaCRPU Anyone know who the second drummer was ?
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Hear and Now
Company: Blue Thumb
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
By the time a follow-up was ready to record, Densmore
and Krieger were the only original members left. Backed by an entirely new
lineup consisting of second drummer Michael Berkowitz, vocalist /keyboard player Alex
Richman, bassist Karl Ruckner and singer/guitarist Michael Stull, 1975's "Hear
& Now" made you wonder what all the effort was for.
Sporting two decent singers in Richman and Stull (though neither could match
former vocalist Jess Roden), the band certain had talent, but there simply
wasn't much in the way of originality. Krieger was again responsible
for the bulk of the ten tunes, with Richman contributing two songs and Stull
turning in one tune. Unfortunately, song for song the results were
even more vapid and anonymous than the debut. What little enthusiasm the
debut had mustered was completely absent the second time around. It's
one of those albums where you're hard pressed to pick a standout performance
... if backed into a corner and given no alternatives, I guess I'd got
with Richman's funky 'Feelin' So Bad'.
aware they'd run out of steam, shortly after the album's release the group
broke up; Krieger going on to an all but invisible solo career. Probably not either Densmore, or
Krieger's creative highpoint.
1.) Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley) - 3:36 rating: *** stars
this cover wasn't about to make you forget the Bob Marley & the Wailers
original, but all told it wasn't a half bad performance with new
singer Michael Stull turning in an impressive hard-rock edge to the
remember hearing this song the first time and running to the turntable to
see if I'd put an O.C. Smith album on by mistake. I'd hadn't
rather it turned out singer Stull had one of those deep soul tinged vocals
that was well suited for "love man" styled ballads like 'Corner of
My Mind'. Pretty ballad, but probably a tad to adult
contemporary for the band's true rock fans.
up with some Densmore drums and percussion (including steel drums), 'Caught
In the Middle' found the band wading into a light Carribbean groove.
I'd guess it was a leftover from the first album's Jamaican recording
sessions. The song was breezy and mildly enjoyable, but nothing
special, unless you had a need to head some Holiday Inn lounge
and sung by Richman, 'Everybody's Fools' was one of those AOR ballads that
seemed to flood mid- and late-'70s airwaves. As mentioned, she
certainly had a technically impressive voice with a touch of Joplin-blues in
it, but the song itself was rather anonymous. A couple of
minutes after hearing it you were hard pressed to remember anything about
Stull and Richman sharing lead vocals, 'Livin' and Dyin'' was probably side
one's most commercial tune. Don't mistake commercial with good given
this breezy number sounded like something a band like Pablo Cruise
would have passed on - exceptionally adult contemporary-ish, this one would
have slotted well on one of those late evening jazz shows that were
momentarily popular. Krieger at least turned in a tuneful solo
on this one.
1.) Don't Wake Up (Robbie Krieger) - 4:13 rating: *** stars
'Don't Wake Up' found the band taking a stab at Barry White getting funky
... seriously forgettable. Seriously, did Kreiger
really write this ?
lone non-original, ' If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody'
was a decent soul-tinged
ballad. Once again the overall feel (particularly the sax solo), gave
the song kind of an adult contemporary feel.
second song, 'Feelin' Bad' sounded like a half way decent Sly and the Family
Stone slice of funk. I liked her husky voice and suspect this
one might have sounded a bit more energetic in a live situation.
Stull wrote it and handled the lead vocals - another pretty, easy going ballad that in isolation was actually quite good with kind of an early Steely Dan vibe. Unfortunately packaged with the rest of the album it floated by without any redeeming qualities.
5.) Act of Love (Robbie Krieger) - 3:05 rating: *** stars
In spite of myself, I'll readily admit that I enjoyed the semi-funky 'Act of Love'. Krieger actually showcased some of his talents on this one, while Stull really did have an impressive voice and you had to wonder what the album might have sounded like had he been surrounded with some quality material.
For anyone interested, Richman's still active in music and has a Facebook page at:
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: The Complete Recordings
Company: One Way
Catalog: OW 30993
Grade (cover/record): --
Comments: CD format
Catalog ID: --
Released by the One Way label, 1996's "The
Complete Recordings" merely repackaged the two studio
sets adding two non-LP cuts -Kreiger's 'That's All Right'
and 'Lovin' You for All the Right Reasons'. Absent any hidden
treasures, you might as well locate the original LPs which can still be
found at reasonable prices.
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