Husky Burnette re-releases great 2013 collection—with some special extras
Sometime in late fall or early winter of 2013, Husky Burnette released the album Tales from East End Boulevard. It was a particularly powerful collection of tunes, prompting at least one eerily prescient reviewer to dub it, “The album that will be remembered for making Husky Burnette.”
Now, a little over a year and a half later, the album is being re-released by the Rusty Knuckles record label with four new bonus tracks in preparation for the fall “Tales Revisited Tour.” The re-release and the tour are only the precursors to Burnette’s latest, greatest effort to date, Ain’t Nothin’ But A Revival, scheduled for release in mid-November.
“The re-release was done to give the fans something else just before the brand-new album hits. Plus, I wanted those lost tracks out there in the world. No sense in wasting good, raw, unmixed material,” Burnette said.
The bonus tracks include two covers (“So Doggone Lonesome” by Johnny Cash and “Skinny Woman” by RL Burnside) and two originals, “Butter My Cornbread” and “Best I Can.” All four tracks were recorded in 2012 by Burnette’s old two-man band configuration featuring himself and drummer Tony Jones (of Michael Walker, Necropolis and Double Dick Slick fame).
So it’s time to ask the question that has to be asked. Is it worth buying an album you may already own for four new tracks? In this case, emphatically yes! It’s baffling how these tunes missed the cut first time around. “Butter My Cornbread” is a head-bobbing blues masterpiece, doubly so given the minimal production. Bands with two or three times the instrumentation don’t sound half as good as this stripped-down guitar-and-drums treat.
“Best I Can” is pure Burnette. Sexy-dangerous guitar, badass drumming and the kind of hungry, growling vocals that scream, “This man has the voice of an angel! A hard-drinking, smoking, fist-fighting, gravel-eating, one-eyed junkyard angel!” I don’t know if Burnette has a signature tune or not, but this should be the one.
As to the covers…covers are a sticky wicket. Too much like the original and what’s the point? Too different from the original and you lose the connection you were trying to make in the first place. There is a sweet spot in between and it’s a very narrow target that performers (in my experience) tend to miss more than hit, but Burnette absolutely owns the Johnny Cash tune.
The Man in Black would be proud of this version, which breathes a fiery new life into an old chestnut. The Burnside cover is no less impressive. The truth is that Burnette can take just about any tune and make it a Husky Burnette song.
Burnette is still one of the hardest-working men in show business. A quick glance at his ReverbNation page (currently #1 in Chattanooga blues) confirms a list of nonstop gigging which means you ALWAYS have a chance to catch the man live.
And kids? You want to do that.
There is inevitably something lost in translation between a recording and a live performance, and if Burnette’s recordings are an indicator, the pure, uncut live versions must be nothing short of amazing.
The release party (or re-release, if you will) is set for Friday, Aug. 28 at Brew & Cue. Pick up a copy of this new/old disc (the four new tracks alone are worth it, but 15 tracks altogether make for one terrific collection) and keep your eyes and ears open here for news about the upcoming new release in November.