Jazz CD Reviews
The Jeff Golub Band featuring Henry Butler – Three Kings – Entertainment One Music
Published on July 7, 2011
The Jeff Golub Band featuring Henry Butler – Three Kings – Entertainment One Music EOM CD 2135, 51:52 ****:
(Jeff Golub – guitar; Henry Butler – piano, vocals; Andy Hess – bass; Josh Dion – drums, percussion; and special guests Robben Ford – guitar; Sonny Landreth – slide guitar and many others)
Blues music is a close knit community. It is not that unusual for artists to draw on past standards, regardless of the association with the creators. The mantle of new blues purveyors has seamlessly developed over the years with great consistency. Jeff Golub – a rising star – is best known for his guitar work with rockers Billy Squier and Rod Stewart. Like Clapton, Hendrix and many before him, he delved into the heart of the blues culture: Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and the celebrated “Kings” (B.B. Freddie and Albert) of blues. As a solo artist, he has released six albums, and fronted Avenue Blue for three more.
Three Kings is a tribute to blues royalty, namely Freddie, Albert and B.B. King. Jeff Golub, an emerging dynamic guitar player, has put together a hot band featuring piano legend, Henry Butler. With the addition of a horn section and some talented guest stars, old becomes new again. Things get underway in blazing style on the rollicking classic, “Let The Good Times Roll”. Golub’s guitar licks are sparkling, and Butler’s husky vocals and horn and back up vocal choruses bring the necessary celebratory spirit to life. The same dynamic inhabits the funk grooves of “Born Under a Bad Sign”. Blues enthusiasts have heard these hooks before, but they still sound good. The session is “built for speed” and the musicians respond in kind. “Everyday I Have The Blues” is two-and-a-half-minutes of incendiary jam, punctuated by the boisterous piano solo by Butler. Golub’s guitar is steady and conducive to the flow of the band. If smoky late night partying is your preference, then the cover of “Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ will more than suffice. Screeching guitar riffs and piano/organ fill energize this staple.
Robben Ford adds a spicy touch to Freddie King’s “Side Tracked”. The guitar interplay is timeless and maintains the ageless tradition of respect and support in this idiomatic genre. Another guest, Sonny Landreth, brings his slide magic to a Golub original, “In Plain Sight”. The final track is pure homage to one of blues’ most influential (especially in the crossover to AOR) pieces, B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”. Aided by a string section, Golub injects soulful heart into his lead, as Butler executes a brilliant jazzy solo that provides a warm counter.
Even if the format is conventional, Three Kings spreads the blues gospel.
TrackList: Let The Good Times Roll; Born Under A Bad Sign; In Plain Sight; Help The Poor; Side Tracked; Oh Pretty Woman; Everyday I Have The Blues; Have You Ever Loved a Woman; I’m Torn Down; Freddie’s Midnite Dream; Stumblin’ Down; Three Kings; The Thrill Is Gone
— Robbie Gerson