The album that made Butler a star. The sweeping ballads, catchy uptempo, dance-oriented hits, and multi-tracked overdubs and background vocalists helped make his music a staple on late '80s Urban Contemporary radio. There is little jazz influence and even less jazz content on this release, but Butler does display a strong, effective singing voice.
Billy Butler is well known to guitarists only, as the co-author of the early R&B funked-up standard "Honky Tonk," with organist Bill Doggett. The two albums featured in this single disc two-fer reissue – Guitar Soul and Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, both released in 1970 – offer a wider view of the man and his music. The opening track on Guitar Soul is a cut worthy of the Meters in its New Orleans-styled second-line funk called "Blow for the Crossing." Nine and a half minutes in length, it's dark, spooky, greasy, and funky as hell. With Seldon Powell on tenor, Sonny Phillips on organ, Specs Powell on drums, and Bob Bushnell on bass, it's a jam du jour. Everybody solos, but Butler and Phillips are the pair that bend the tune all over the place like Gumby on Pokey. With an elongated melodic line played by Powell on the saxophone and punched-up by the drums, there's nothing to keep the body still in its massive groove-o-phonics. But the almighty groove wasn't Butler's only strength. With a saxophonist like Houston Person, he could play the most elegant swing – as in their read of the Rodgers & Hart classic "Dancing on the Ceiling" on the second half of the album, or as a solo guitarist he could play from the Montoya fake book as he does on "Golden Earrings," with a classical guitar.