Don’t know yet if the Red Devils were a cult band or should be enrolled now with the ones with a legendary status. To tell you the truth I don’t know yet either, what evil force drive me to pick up their record many years ago. Cause it’s definitely a devil’s work and at the time didn’t know shit about them. It was one of these strange feelings that made me grab this little plastic thing. Maybe their name and the instant connection my brain made for my favorite football club but I’m sure I impressed also by the mic and the amp photo on the back.
Anyway, the Red Devils were one of the last (if not the last) white colored pure Chicago blues band, even though they came from L.A. A pure harmonica wailed tunnel back to the 60s and the legacy that’s left by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. You know, playing the blues it’s the same thing as to play punk rock. You don’t need really technical skills, but heart, guts and balls. Easily a dude like Joe Satriani can play these ancient licks, but believe me without the heart and the balls; the results will be at least pathetic. And that’s what we are talking about here. A band that got “it” for good. No fancy bullshit and no pale imitations here, sir.
Their one and only official release had the responsibility of Rick Rubin and his (then?) company, Def American. I think that Rick lost it over the years. He’s a master behind the board of course but money makes the world go round, so I really consider this live capture and Johnny Cash’s Def recordings as the last great offerings by him. By the way, the Red Devils backed the Man in Black in some sessions. Def American put this stuff a few years ago in a box under the title of “Unearthed”. And I tell you guys, they’re fucking haunting! Yeah, that’s the word. Haunting. But remind me talk about them later in a different post.
There’s also a mighty fine and well known bootleg (with many different sleeves) of the Devils doing Chicago classics having as vocalist some Mick Jagger. If you’re a Stone fanatic I’m sure you’ll know about already, but remind me again to talk on this later (I know, I already owe you two more Red Devils posts). This record made California looked like a big swampy land. Wail and sorrow it’s all over the place. Howlin’ Wolf’s “Mr. Highway Man”, Junior Wells “Cut that Out”, Little Walter’s “Quarter to Twelve” or Sonny Boy Williams’ “Cross Your Heart”, here breathing through a tough monster’s body. The great late Lester Butler (harmonica/vocals, 12 November 1959 - 10 May 1998) was sadly the last of the Mohawks. A force of nature destined to play the blues and blow an harmonica like no other. At least the last 20 years...but for one more time hedonism betrayed talent. So be it. This is the last truly great rhythm & blues record. I'm no blues expert, but i haven't listen to something like this since then and that's A LOT of time. So here's your chance.
PS1: This in out of print record. That's not a reason for smart ass dicks to sell it for 60 bucks on eBay. I mean, for fucks sake this is a compact disc...
PS2: I can't measure on how much i do love the Blasters. Bill Bateman (drums) and Gene Taylor (piano) were of course Blasters' old members. And the first name of the Red Devils, was The Blue Shadows, just like the Blasters' same title song. If this detail didn't said something to you, well give up.