Walker & The Butanes
Right Where I Belong
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from Memphis, former Goldwax soul legend Willie Walker started singing
gospel with the Redemption Harmonizers when he was still a teenager.
By the time he was 20 he's relocated to Minneapolis, but the move
up the Mississippi did nothing to curtail his musical activities.
Flying back to Memphis for sessions at American Studios (as well as
Muscle Shoals). He released a string of stirring deep soul classics
on Goldwax Records during the late '60s. Being label mates with soul
royalty like O.V. Wright and James Carr was fitting for Walker because,
as Right Where I Belong proves, he was talented enough to walk in
their footsteps.The circumstances that led to Right Where I Belong
developed over a period years as Willie gigged off and on with Minneapolis
blues-cum-soul band the Butanes. The results are stunning: rarely
does a record not only successfully reproduce a beloved style without
sounding dated, but actually adds to the genre that has influenced
For Walker, it might just be like putting on an old hat, but Butanes
guitarist Curt Obeda deserves accolades as well. He penned every song
here, and tunes like (We Gotta) Put Out The Fire and Crying To Do
are as tastefully understated as his guitar playing, while the arrangements,
instrumentation, and recording resonate with a natural warmth. For
his part, Walker delivers heartbreak, hope, loneliness, joy, and loss
with emotion.This record is so top notch that no purist will be able
to tell the difference between it and a long lost reel of Goldwax
Hurtt - Living Blues (US)
is it! The real deal. The goods. Several former Goldwax artists such
as James Carr and Percy Milem have resurfaced in the last twenty years
to make new recordings and though they each displayed some considerable
merit, the results were often patchy. This time it's the turn of yet
another artist in the timeless 'Southern Soul' tradition, Willie Walker.
Only one of Walker's fine Goldwax recordings from 1968 actually appeared
on the Memphis label, two others were leased to Chess, appearing on
their Checker label.
CD, recorded in Minneapolis, is a truly wonderful listening experience.
Yes, there are a few modest nods in the direction of the new millennium,
but what you will hear when (not if!) you purchase this minor masterpiece
is a perfect fusion of the different strands of 'The Memphis Sound'
as honed to perfection by Stax, Goldwax and Hi. Much of the credit
for this lies in the truly wonderful support provided by the Butanes,
led by a marvellously empathetic and inventive guitarist called Curtis
Obeda. Curtis wrote, produced and arranged this entire CD with drum,
horn, guitar and organ charts that easily contend with the best Ive
ever heard in (gasp) over forty years of listening to 'real' soul
and R&B. You will hardly believe your ears as your own personal
laser beam converts those little digital signals into music. Yes,
music. Real soul music.
Armitage - Blues & Rhythm magazine (UK)
It's the kind
of album the worst nit-picker can't find one thing wrong with. Except
that eventually it's over. Curt Obeda wrote everything, coming up
with cold-blooded killer material -- sharp lyrics, fresh melodies
and chord structures rich in dynamics. Combine this with Willie Walker
and The Butanes performance, then talk about chained lightning. Trust
me: if you can't feel this music from the top of your head to bottom
of the toes, someone should notify your next of kin, 'cause you're
already dead and just don't know it.
Hobbes - Insight (US)
Willie Walker CD hasn't been off my deck. I didn't think I'd hear
real soul music like this in 2004! Brilliant! This CD will blow everyone
away. An absolute 24-carat gem.
Ellis of Juke Blues (UK)
me folks, this is the real thing.
Elias - Chord magazine (US)
is as good as it gets.
Suasalo - Soul Express (FIN)
I would have been proud to release this recording.
Claunch, co-owner of Goldwax Records (US)
year's best deep-soul album...Howard Tate, your comeback ass has just
Hicks - Village Voice (US)
Where I Belong was voted to be one of the best 10 local CDs of 2004
by both the major daily newspaper (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and the
news and arts
weekly (City Pages). This is extremely gratifying as it is ALWAYS
most difficult to receive recognition from your own home town...
Chris Riemenschneider's best CDs of 2004...So Far
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
comeback, 40 years after recording for Memphis' cult-adored Goldwax
label, neither tries too hard nor takes it too easy. The sandy-voiced
soul singer smoothly lays out his Redding/Pickett-style vocals over
a thick bed of groove-line horns and heart-burning original tunes,
all provided by local R&B traditionalists Curt Obeda and the Butanes.
Even in the most down-and-out songs, you can hear the guy's joy for
Dylan Hicks Feeling Minnesota - the best 10 (or 28) best local albums
soul albums performed and recorded in the spirit of Johnson-and-Nixon-era
Southern soul must struggle to overcome the funky (funky like onions,
not funky like Clyde Stubblefield) aroma of preservationist moribundity.
This late-in-life full-length debut does just that, and without any
apparent struggle. With a raspy passion reminiscent of early '70s-period
O.V. Wright, Walker glides through a set of originals by lead Butane
and understated guitarist Curt Obeda, whose south Minneapolis home
was transformed into makeshift Memphis-style studio for this atavistic
yet lively gem.
in the City Pages - a meet the musician section:
Willie Walker has been singing sweet soul music in the Twin Cities
long enough to know Slug's and Josh Hartnett's fathers. But he enjoyed
an international revival this year with the reissue of his 1960s Memphis
recordings, volumes one and two of The Goldwax Story (Ace Records),
and the release of his first real album, Right Where I Belong (One
on One Records), recorded with Curt Obeda and the Butanes.
memorable moment: I played Amsterdam a couple weeks ago. To have people
that have been listening to my music for years, to be in their presence,
and see them with tears in their eyes for certain songs, it just emotionally
broke me up. It was one of the new songs from our CD, and it's all
about crying. I guess everybody's got some crying to do.
heroes: I see Billy Holloman a lot. I get together with a bunch of
guys on Thursdays to go see him at Dixie's [on Grand]. It's kind of
difficult not to sit in--they won't allow me to walk out on them.
Helpful hints: I talk to young performers every opportunity I get,
and I tell them all the same thing. Learn as much as you possibly
can, then start over. The more you learn, the more you realize that
the less you play, the better off you are. Because the people who
enjoy music don't care how much you know. They like it simple.
Former Earl King
backing band the Butanes, led by guitarist Curtis Obeda, has truly
struck gold with his latest release Right Where I Belong. Former Goldwax
and Checker recording artist Willie Walker has joined forces with
the Minneapolis-based Butanes, with fantastic results. Obeda and Walker
have crafted an album of smoldering, Memphis style soul that could
comfortably stand alongside the classic works of artists such as Syl
Johnson and O.V. Wright. The 14 songs on the CD, all Obeda originals,
provide a perfect showcase for Walker's laid-back vocals, smoky and
sweet as Memphis barbecue. Behind him, the band produces a dead-on
authentic sound, dripping with Hammond organ, pleading horn arrangements
and Obeda's impeccable fretwork.
The tunes range
from sweet and easy ballads like the title track, to the sly and funky
come on of the standout tune "I Understand," all of which
feature strong, thoughtful lyrics, complex melodies and top-notch
musicianship. Ordinarily, when a record comes out that tries so diligently
to recreate a certain sound from the past; I would recommend going
back to the original material it is referencing. In this case however,
I would say that Obeda/Walker have significantly added to the genre
they so obviously love.
(UK Soul magazine)
is the first release on Colin Dilnot's new "One On
One" record label, who's motto is "Keeping Soul Alive"
and certainly lives up to that statement, with this stunning CD. To
those unaware of Willie's background, he cut a handful of great
sides for the famed Goldwax outlet in the mid 60's, like "There
Goes My Used To Be" and the previously unissued crossover fave
"I Don't Want To Take A Chance", before recording the tortured
deep gem "Warm To Cool To Cold" and at least 3 other
tracks which were leased to Chess, then cutting a side for Eutor
and Willie Mitchell's Pawn label in in the early 70's, [note:this
information is incorrect but is contained in the original article]
before disappearing from the recording scene.
to much perseverance by Colin, luck and much determination, Willie
Walker is back, recording 14 brilliant songs so reminisent of the
classic 60's Deep Soul idiom that you'd swear this was an unissued
"Goldwax" album, the secret being the quality of Curt Obeda's
heartfelt and true to life songs, Willie's still superb "gritty
as hell" Soul drenched vocals, Colin and Curt's perfect production,
and the hottest house band I've heard in years - The Butanes.
dig cult Southern Soul artists like James Carr,
Otis Clay, OV Wright, or Spencer Wiggins, then this CD must top your
shopping list, tracks like "Crying To Do" with it's great
lazy sax, and Stax style horns, the sexual tension of "[ We Gotta
] Put Out The Flame", the great femme chorus on " Down For
The Count", the pleading vocals and simmering organ on "Ain't
It Funny", the uplifting "I Can Feel It" or the mournful
regret of "No Longer For Me", make this CD so
essential, as the title of the album says, Willie Walker's right back
where he belongs!!
here to read the entire Insight review by
here to read the Minneapolis Star Tribune feature - Mr. Used to
Be: Willie Walker enlists Butanes to reignite '60s stardom.
here to read a review on the internet site
here to read a review on the English internet
site Life & Soul Promotions.
to read the entire review from the English Blues & Rhythm magazine.
are a few short reviews from various on-line sources:
this is real deal, southern soul of the highest order
deep soul with a real band 'n'horns'n'stuff. RECOMMENDED.
Superior new Southern Soul with real instruments & reminiscent
of the great Stax/Hi albums of the late 60's/ 70's with great horns.
This is 'from the gut' stuff, with good songs: 'Change' & 'Give
As Good As You Get'. Refreshingly different yet familiar.
well done Willie! well done The Butanes! and well done Colin (producer)!
this reminds me of the golden days of "deep soul", one of
the very best newly recording "southern soul" album!
Cet album est vraiment merveilleux, peut-être la meilleure sortie
soul de l'année !!! Achetez-le !!!
Florent Mazzoleni of Soul Bag on the Yahoo group: the_dark_end_of_the_street
This album is really wonderful, maybe the best soul release of
this year !!! Buy it !!!
This review appeared
in Soulbag (FR). The CD was given it's highest honor "le pied"
or 5 stars.
is a VERY BAD internet translation to English:
Walker & The Butanes *****
Right Where I Belong (ONE ONE ONE)
It is not very probable that such a good disc of soul in 2004 appears.
By soul, one understands here a work of traditional, organic invoice
with wish, played by truths musicians under the conditions of recording
of the middle of the years 1960. It is in Minneapolis that this masterly
album was recorded, where one finds Hammond organ, ch?urs and coppers
with old. This singer of deep soul veteran recorded a handle of pieces
for the legendary Goldwax label, in full golden age with the music
soul of Memphis, like for Checker, with the row of which immortal
There Goes My Used To Be and You' ve Named It, I' ve Had It. Willie
Walker never had the recognition, if as well as James Carr or OV Wright
has is recognized by general public, reserved to other singers soul.
Under the aegis of impassioned Dilnot Hake and Curtis Obeda, the guitarist
leader of Butanes, this disc could be born, not without many adventures.
Grace their is returned, with the listening of these fourteen pure
gold nuggets which are a true miracle, to the image of the piece titrates,
Right Where I Belong, quite simply imperial, which revives the most
beautiful hours of the soul Sixties. The absolute class!
is the review in it's original language:
Walker & The Butanes *****
Right Where I Belong
(ONE ON ONE)www.oneononerecords.co.uk
Il est peu probable que paraisse un aussi bon disque de soul en 2004.
Par soul, on entend ici un ouvrage de facture classique, organique
à souhait, joué par de vrais musiciens dans les conditions
d'enregistrement du milieu des années 1960. C'est à
Minneapolis qu'a été enregistré cet album magistral,
où l'on retrouve orgue Hammond, ch|urs et cuivres à
l'ancienne. Ce chanteur de deep soul vétéran a enregistré
une poignée de morceaux pour le légendaire label Goldwax,
en plein âge d'or de la musique soul de Memphis, ainsi que pour
Checker, au rang desquels les immortels There Goes My Used To Be et
You've Named It, I've Had It . Willie Walker n'a jamais eu la reconnaissance,
si tant est que James Carr ou OV Wright aient été reconnus
par le grand public, réservée à d'autres chanteurs
Sous l'égide du passionné Colin Dilnot et de Curtis
Obeda, le guitariste leader des Butanes, ce disque a pu voir le jour,
non sans de nombreuses péripéties. Grâce leur
soit rendue, à l'écoute de ces quatorze pépites
d'or pur qui sont un véritable miracle, à l'image du
morceau titre, Right Where I Belong, tout simplement impérial,
qui ravive les plus belles heures de la soul Sixties. La classe absolue