After 1970's Live and the following year's studio effort Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin', Butterfield broke up his band and parted ways with Elektra. Tired of all the touring and personnel turnover, he retreated to the communal atmosphere of Woodstock, still a musicians' haven in the early '70s, and in 1971 formed a new group eventually dubbed Better Days. Guitarist Amos Garrett and drummer Chris Parker were the first to join, and with folk duo Geoff and Maria Muldaur in tow, the band was initially fleshed out by organist Merl Saunders and bassist John Kahn, both from San Francisco.
Sans Geoff Muldaur, this aggregation worked on the soundtrack of the film Steelyard Blues, but Saunders and Kahn soon returned to the Bay Area, and were replaced by New Orleans pianist Ronnie Barron and Taj Mahal bassist Billy Rich. This lineup -- with Geoff Muldaur back, plus contributions from singer/songwriter Bobby Charles -- released the group's first album, Better Days, in 1972 on Butterfield manager Albert Grossman's new Bearsville label. While it didn't quite match up to Butterfield's earliest efforts, it did return him to critical favor.
A follow-up, It All Comes Back, was released in 1973 to positive response Paul Butterfield's post-Blues Band outfit's second album is a bit more laid back than its predecessor, but it definitely has its moments, and as before the musicianship is stellar. The opening "Too Many Drivers," for example, is a churning Chicago blues, with Butterfield's horn impressions figuring as intensely as ever, that would have fit in perfectly with anything on his old band's debut.
Geoff Muldaur turns in a haunting rendition of a delicate Rick Danko-penned R&B ballad "Small Town Talk," while "Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It," co-written and co-sung by Butterfield and R&B legend Bobby Charles, is a clavinet-driven funk workout whose instrumental sections work up a real Little Feat-style froth.
by Steve Huey
1. Too Many Drivers (Andrew Hogg) - 3:18
2. It's Getting Harder To Survive (Ronnie Barron) - 3:51
3. If You Live (Mose Allison) - 3:27
4. Win Or Lose (Bobby Charles, Paul Butterfield) - 4:34
5. Small Town Talk (Bobby Charles, Rick Danko) - 5:33
6. Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It (Bobby Charles, Paul Butterfield) - 3:42
7. Poor Boy (Traditional Arranged by Geoff Muldaur) - 4:17
8. Louisiana Flood (Ronnie Barron, Mac Rebennack) - 3:35
9. It All Comes Back (Bobby Charles) - 6:10
10.Small Town Talk (Live) (Bobby Charles, Rick Danko) - 5:21
Paul Butterfield's Better Days
*Paul Butterfield - Vocals, Harmonica, Electric Piano
*Geoff Muldaur - Vocals, Slide Guitar
*Ronnie Barron - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Clavinet
*Christopher Parker - Drums
*Billy Rich - Bass
*Amos Garrett - Electric Guitar
*Bobby Charles - Vocals
*Maria Muldaur - Vocals
*Bobby Hall - Congas
*Howard Johnson - Horns
More from Paul Butterfield:
1970 The Butterfield Blues Band - Live