Celebrating Mr. Sam Butler
for this honor of being named the
"JAY CALDWELL LIVING LEGEND Award"
@ the 2021 Prayze Factor Awards by
Modern Day Miracles Int'l Ministries
“Stepping Up And Stepping Out”
CLARENCE FOUNTAIN featuring SAM BUTLER & THE BOYS
Donald is playing the Melodica on ( It's a different World Now- The Birth of Jesus)
Korky Segal on Harmonica (Devil Ride)
Jim weider from the Band on guitar on 4 tracks
Robert Jr. Thought this might help.
by Donald Fagen (Steely Dan)
Some years back, I consented to accompany a friend to a production called "The Gospel at Colonus" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It sounded like the usual downtown fiasco: Sophocles' "Oedipus at Colonus" with gospel music. As we used to say in the sixties, I got totally faked out: not only did the thing pretty much work, but the combination of the words (a lot of them spoken by the then lesser-known Morgan Freeman) and the songs (by Bob Telson and the show's "concepteur", Lee Breuer) conspired to produce a rare sort of emotional release and a sense of community in this normally composed urban audience.
The producers had rounded up some of the greatest gospel performers of all time to sing this spiritual, but pointedly secular, material. There was the deeply talented Jevetta Steele with the J.D. Steele Singers. There were the magnificent Soul Stirrers. For the role of the self-blinded, long-suffering Oedipus, Breuer and Telson must have felt they needed more than one man to limn his heroic proportions. So five solemn figures marched onto the stage, as if out of a Delta mist, walking their famous chain-walk, one hand on the shoulder in front: Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. When they began to sing, the audience melted in the face of such power. After a run on Broadway,"The Gospel at Colonus" went on to tour the world for many years.
I ended up as a co-producer of the off-Broadway soundtrack album and got to know Clarence and the Blind Boys’ long-time guitarist, Sam Butler. Sam, a fabulous singer in his own write, also appeared with me in an early version of the New York Rock and Soul Review in the nineties.
Now, after almost sixty years on the road, Clarence and the Blind Boys have parted ways. This must seem like an impossible circumstance to anyone familiar with the Blind Boys and their body of work - we all know that Clarence was the heart and soul of the group. And yet, there it is. And here we are in 2008, lucky to have this first CD by Clarence and Sam as a duo. But the history remains.
Sam Butler started singing as a child, fronting his family group as "Little Junior and Butleraires". He began playing guitar with the Blind Boys in 1972 and he's been at Clarence's side ever since, singing, playing and arranging. After Clarence, Sam's smooth vocal style and soulful guitar have defined the Blind Boys’ sound on recordings and in their exciting live performances.
As for Clarence, what can I say? He was a charter member of the Blind Boys when they first came together at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in 1939. But age cannot defeat this gospel master. With his enormous range, he can sing it all - sweet, funky, hollerin' - and when he goes down low, he can scare the devil right out his skin.
Sam and co-producer Jim Tullio have assembled a group of A-List, in-the-pocket players for Clarence and Sam's first outing. The set has been carefully chosen by Clarence and Sam, and it includes several fine Sam Butler originals. I'm very proud to introduce:
“STEPPING UP & STEPPING OUT”
CLARENCE FOUNTAIN AND SAM BUTLER
"Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You"
"In God We Trust"
Arthur "Speq" Colden