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The Butanes are joined by Jim Greenwell on saxophone and Mike Nelson on trombone during two performances (one during the day, one at night) at the Cabooze bar in Minneapolis.



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Curtis Obeda & The Butanes have been backing Earl King at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since 1991. Earl King was asked why he uses Minnesota musicians at Jazz Fest. Earl went on to say, " I do songs with them I wouldn't even try with other guys. Curtis (Obeda) reminds me how the lyrics go if I forget them and John (Lindberg) has a tape recorder between his ears. They know my stuff better than anybody else. They make me work."

Earl King's not the only one to testify to the soulful aptitude of the Butanes. Zydeco practitioner Al Rapone claims the Butanes are from a "...Northern Bayou, it's not on any map." James Carr found them most educated in the ways of soul, stating " I thought I was gonna stump these guys but they know all of 'em. They even told me how the bridge went that I forgot was there."

After a performance with Don & Dewey at a show in St. Louis, Jerry Lee Lewis didn't dare take the stage for a belated hour and a half. I guess the whole lotta shakin' that was goin' on was Jerry in his boots. And after playing with Bo Diddley, the Butanes agreed to do an encore (Bo's contract specifically stated that he would do no encores) Bo said, "Do you mind if I play too?"

They've been sanctified by the Dr. Rev. Mabel John and praised by James "Thunderbird" Davis.

The Butanes have certainly gotten the respect of the musicians they've backed. Curtis Obeda has also been instrumental for bringing such artists as Dalton Reed and Tommy Ridgely to the Twin Cities. The list of artists they've supported reads deeper than any bill a blues fast could offer. And if there were a blues festival that was limited to the performers the Butanes backed, it would surpass any festival currently in operation.

With all these supporting gigs, we can't forget that the Butanes stand on their own as the best rhythm and blues outfit in the Twin Cities. (And probably reaching to even further extremities.) What they capture in the music is experience and they approach it with a swagger. Where that swagger comes from is another story. Whether it's from being on the road and living the life, or the years of listening and understanding the feeling of the music, the Butanes approach is an honest one.

Mike Elias



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