from Chicago, IL
June 7, 1945 (age 75)
The younger brother of Jerry Butler, Billy Butler wasn't nearly as well known as his sibling, but recorded some fine Chicago soul in the '60s. Recording for OKeh under producer Carl Davis, Butler's mid-'60s singles were quite similar to labelmates Major Lance's and (less obviously) Curtis Mayfield's as stellar examples of the finest features of the Chicago soul sound. Similar to Motown in its full, brassy production, the Chicago brand was earthier, with stronger tinges of gospel, doo wop, and Latin influences. Nor was Butler terribly similar to his brother, Jerry, with a punchier, more up-tempo sound. With backing group the Enchanters, Billy recorded consistently fine singles for OKeh from 1963 to 1966, scoring RB hits with I Can't Work No Longer (1965) and Right Track (1966). Butler left OKeh after 1966 and recorded for a variety of labels, denting the RB charts with the singles Get on the Chase (1969) and Free Yourself (1971). A songwriter of note, he contributed material to fellow Chicago soul greats Major Lance, Gene Chandler, and his brother, Jerry. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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