Slim Butler – Bad Intention
It is hard to go wrong when you have Tad Robinson handling the lead vocals on your project. Enlisting Robinson’s services was the first of many telling decisions Finnish guitarist and bandleader Jarmo “Slim” Puhakka made in shaping his latest project, only the second release in forty-plus year career.Singer Andrew Black, from Atlanta, GA, shares the lead vocal role with Robinson, each getting four tracks on a disc that traverses the wide expanse from blues to soul.
The opener, “All About You,” is blue-eyed soul – full of heartbreaking emotions perfectly rendered by Robinson with support from the Slimcuts Horns – Tapio Maunuvaara & Jukka-Pekka Peltoniemi on trumpet, Olli Tuomainen on tenor sax, and Antti Napankangas on trombone. Drummer Esko Ollila lays down a tight rhythm on “”It Ain’t Me,” as Robinson makes a firm declaration to keep on keeping on. His mood improves on “Monkey Moon,” a man ready to explore life with plenty of encouragement from Puhakka’s guitar. “Lady In Blue” has Robinson sounding right at home on a mournful number with the horns and keyboard setting up a late-night feel.
Puhakka lays down a ferocious guitar riff on “Mean Trouble” that would make Wilko Johnson proud, matched by Black’s muscular vocal. Things take a funky turn on “Junk In The Trunk” as the horns step out, adding with Maria-Kaisa Villanen on baritone sax, with Harri Taittonen on Hammond B-3 organ filling out the vibrant arrangement. “Cryin” Shame” finds Black pouring his heart out over Hannu Lehtomaa’s thick bass line. The singer’s finest performance comes at the end on a minor key slow blues, “Coast To Coast,” that also features several striking guitar solos.
High voltage guitars and a firm beat surround Puhakka’s lone vocal effort on the hard rocking title track while the instrumental, “Jumpin’ Santa,” provides him with room to showcase his guitar skills. With a varied program of well-written originals that encapsulate a variety of styles, this release should bring “Slim” Puhakka some well-deserved recognition. It is release that will undoubtedly get multiple plays from discerning listeners.