Corey Harris & Henry Butler
Up-and-coming New Orleans musicians Corey Harris and Henry Butler explore each other’s styles on VU-DU MENZ. Harris is an excellent traditional bluesman who favors the style of New Orleans jazz and has had cameos by brass bands on his solo albums. Butler is a piano player who specializes in New Orleans funk-inspired jazz. This acoustic, stripped-down collaboration features both men on vocals, with Harris strumming his guitar and Butler tickling the ivories of his piano. The inside sleeve of the CD shows a picture of the two men sitting on the front porch of what seems to be an old juke joint. That is the theme of this album: back to the basics. Superior quality aside, this album could have been recorded 60 years ago. Both men take turns orchestrating the songs, most of which are upbeat numbers, my favorite of which is “Shake What Your Mama Gave You.” This is a timeless recording that gets back to music’s basic tenets: entertain the people and have a good time doing it.
Alligator Records, Box 60234, Chicago, IL 60660; http://www.alligator.com