Butch Walker - Leavin' the Game On Luckie Street

In 2004, Butch Walker released an Atlanta recorded live album - 'This Is Me...Justified And Stripped' - which was available for a limited time period with pre-orders of the 'Letters' album through the Sony online store. The release was followed by a DVD of the full length concert. Echoing that with a "great little social experiment" - but amped up to 11 in reaction to today's troubled music industry - Walker releases 'Leavin' The Game On Luckie Street' as a free download on the appropriately titled website www.therecordbusinessisfucked.com and as a budget priced CD, complete with two bonus tracks, for completists and hoarders alike. And yes, a DVD release will follow! To say that the artist formerly known as Bradley is fan-friendly would be an immense understatement.

Recorded live at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Ga on April 20th 2007, 'Leavin' The Game On Luckie Street' will provide you with one huge sunbeam of a thought in your head; not that Butch was the best singer in both Southgang and The Floyds; not that he, along with Art Alexakis, remains one of the few lyricists of this generation who can pull off perfect storytelling in a three minute pop rock song; but that he is the proud owner of some of the most devoted, perhaps borderline obsessive, fans on this rock 'n' roll world. Witness the crowd sing-a-longs on 'Alicia Amnesia', 'Bethamphetamine', 'Best Thing You Never Had' (hell, they don't sing along to this - they take over!) and show closer 'When Canyons Ruled The City'. Whether it is hidden track or cover version (a blurring run-through of Bruce Springsteen's 'Born To Run' and 'Laid' by James), the crowd sing Every. Fucking. Word.

It's amusing to flashback to how taken aback us 'Left of Self-Centered'-obsessed power-poppers were when 'Letters' was released in 2004. Now, with ten live tracks from that album on offer here, the material is lovingly accepted as part of the soundtrack to our lives - songs to break your heart and get you laid in equal measure. '#1 Summer Jam' with its nod to 'Silly Love Songs' by Wings, 'Maybe It's Just Me', a staggering 'Don't Move' and, possibly a generation's finest tale of heartache, 'Mixtape' simply soar. Talking of flashbacks.....the band that realistically started Butch on this righteous road don't get forgotten - 'Indie Queen' and 'Over Your Head' from Marvelous 3 classic 'Hey! Album' get an awesome airing and 'Ready Sex Go' epic 'Cigarette Lighter Love Song' closes a trio of piano-led songs that features lump-in-throat, hairs-raised-on-back-of-neck renditions of 'Sober' and 'Joan'. In contrast, Walker's "life story in three minutes" that is 'Race Cars And Goth Rock' - and its accompanying future ex-wife story - show the playful side to this much-adored yet sometime criminally ignored artist.

Butch Walker has two more albums due for release in 2008; 'Maya' from side-project 1969 (a three piece featuring Butch on bass and vocals, Let's-Go-Out-Tonite's drummer Darren Dodd and guitarist Michael Guy Chislett from the Walker produced The Academy is...) and 'Sycamore Meadows', a new solo record which takes its name from the Malibu house that Walker was renting from Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea that got destroyed in last year's Californian wildfires. It will take one of these albums to knock 'Leavin' The Game On Luckie Street' from the top of this reviewer's album of the year list.

by Gaz E.

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