Run to the record store and pick up this album! Thirteen offers up the best modern blues around! Led by ex-Red Devils frontman, Lester Butler, Thirteen serves up some mean and gritty blues with style. You just can't help movin' to the tunes. Lester Butler's harmonica playing is absolutely remarkable and his nasally vocals mesh perfectly with the bold sound of the band. In terms of the modern electric blues (not including the living legends like R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, etc.), there is no one better out there right now.

Lester and the boys unleash 13 (how appropriate) rockin' blues originals and covers. All are worthy of praise. However, there are a handful that deserve a little extra attention. Thirteen's renditions of Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go", Elmore James' "So Mean to Me", and Willie Dixon's "Close to You" do the originators proud. However, their blistering cover (complete with bottle-smashing)of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" is simply unreal. Also, originals penned by Butler like "So Low Down", "Black Hearted Woman", and "Pray for Me" prove that these guys can play the dirty blues with the best of them. Thirteen's blues sounds like it comes straight from a smoke filled room with the stench of whiskey permeating throughout. Music such as this should not be ignored. You really can't go wrong with Thirteen!

13 feat. LESTER BUTLER
By Andrew Rackauskas, Spine Column