North Beach Bohemian Meatball Sandwich


MMmmm it was good. Meatball sandwich on toasted focaccia with melted provolone, topped with parm and fresh basil. The meatball/marinara recipe is from the award winning kitchen of my amigo, Bob Fisher.


1/2 pound mild fennel Italian sausage, 1/2 pound ground beef, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley. Combine thoroughly in bowl and roll into 2″ balls. Brown in pan turning frequently. Makes 7 balls.


1 large can Italian CENTO brand San Marzano, Certified, peeled tomatoes, 1 small can tomato paste, 1 small can chopped black olives, 4-6 cloves crushed garlic, 1 large  yellow onion sliced thin lengthwise, 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 package of baby bella mushrooms washed and sliced, 1/2 cup chianti, 1/2 cup water, 1 tbsp olive oil, dash of garlic salt.

Before browning meatballs, saute onions and garlic low heat in olive oil. Crush tomatoes and paste in bowl, add wine, water, parsley, basil, mushrooms, meatballs into pan with onions and garlic. Simmer for 1/2 hour on low heat.

I make this meatball sauce in a 11″ pan 3-1/2″ deep, cooked covered.

Focaccia bread is one of those irresistible, super fattening, Italian delights, served up in San Francisco’s North Beach. The holy grail of focaccia is (or sadly it seems, was) Sirocco Bakery on Washington Square. Just checking…appears to be long closed. Sirocco baked the focaccia used by Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store’s famous baked meatball sandwich. Mario’s is still there and remains my favorite meatball sandwich joint if they haven’t changed the recipe.. They use a monster electric toaster oven that sits on the end of the bar near the window and door on Columbus. The over-all toasted Mario’s sandwich is a joy.

I toast my focaccia (from Von’s–not bad) on a griddle, melting the provolone, topped with Bob’s meatball and marinara, liberally topped with parmesan and fresh basil. With a couple glasses of Coppola Claret. You betta off!

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Texas vs New Mexico Bar-B-Que Sauce Shootout: Stubbs vs Mr. Powdrell


Bought a bottle of Mr. Powdrell’s sauce when I was in  Albuquerque a few weeks back. I’ve been eating Powdrell’s bar-b-que since their first store–a takeout window on SE San Pedro–opened in the late ’60’s. The Butterfields have had a long love affair with Powdrell’s soul food–bar-b-q, fried catfish. I’ve lived in Cali since 1973 but always make a trip to Powdrell’s for a brisket sandwich when I’m back in Burque’.

Since moving to the high desert in ’05, there haven’t been many bar-b-q discoveries. The best local place is Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace which has good ribs and steaks. Living off the grid on a dirt road out beyond Rimrock often means cooking at home, which I did yesterday. Chicken thighs and drumsticks with Weber Kickin’ Chicken rub on the Weber Kettle Grill. Kingsford (hickory) charcoal, cooked 13 minutes per side. Served with grilled corn and zucchini. Always perfect.

I’ve tried many bar-b-que sauces at super market but my favorite for a while is Stubbs Original. Maybe because it reminds me of Powdrell’s. Both Stubbs and Powdrell are from Texas, with Stubbs by far the most famous, winning the Texas Monthly’s bar-b-que award numerous times and still wildly popular in Austin.

Note the similarity of the labels on both bottles. What’s inside not so similar. I dipped my first piece of piping hot thigh in Powdrell’s. Tangy but subtle and a great match to bring out the KIckin’ Chicken spices. After a few more bites I switched to Stubbs Original which is a little redder and slightly thicker than Powdrell’s. Super tangy and spicy hot. Love that zing but after a few more pieces, I liked the subtlety of Powdrell’s best with the hot off grill chicken.

Day 2–leftover cold drumstick. Dipped in Powdrell’s it was pretty good. Dipped in Stubbs Original it was amazing. I can’t answer why Stubbs was much better on cold chicken, it must be because of red pepper. Way better.

So my shootout is a draw. Since Stubbs is widely available and Powdrell’s isn’t, I guess Mr. Powdrell never really had a chance. If you’re in Albuquerque, check em out. You’ll definitely buy a bottle to go.

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Guess what Robbie Robertson gave David Geffen for his birthday?

robbieJaime Robbie Robertson purchased a 16×20 print, today, of this photograph at The Last Waltz by David Butterfield, as a birthday gift for David Geffen. Just sayin…….Thank you Robbie Robertson. Happy birthday, David.

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Thanksgiving 1976–Photographing The Last Waltz

dylan-danko-rr-5400.jpg Bob Dylan, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson, The Last Waltz. Copyright 1976 by David Butterfield. May not be reproduced, copied or linked.

Many people have asked me about photographing The Last Waltz, especially since I’ve recently revisited my archive of black and white negatives and color slides, producing a 38th anniversary limited edition of fine art prints. A sampling of these can be viewed and purchased on my website:

Easy to buy fine art prints direct from the site. Find the image you want, click add to cart, pay securely with PayPal. Shipped free in USA.


I was and still am a devoted fan of and musically influenced by The Band. I’d been to two concerts in 1969-70 and was looking forward to their scheduled performance in San Francisco, in November of 1976 for which my wife and I had tickets. Then, about a week before that scheduled show, an announcement appeared in the SF Chronicle: “Band show cancelled, but hang onto your tickets….” Over the next two weeks the details trickled out: The Band was breaking up, they were going to have a big finale at Winterland–the same venue they first played as The Band. Lots of rumors about all-star party, then Scorsese enters as the filmmaker. But the best news of all: tickets for the cancelled concert would be honored for admission to “The Last Waltz.”

Cameras would soon be banned at most concert venues but amazing enough, even with Bill Graham and Martin Scorsese in charge, I was allowed into Winterland, 31 years ago on this date, with a Pentax Spotmatic, a Nikon SP with motor drive, six lenses, ten rolls of tri-x and four of hi-speed Ektachrome. My wife and I quickly ate our Thanksgiving dinner up in the balcony seats and went down to where a band was playing waltz music and people danced in a barracaded area in front of the main stage. We ended up standing by the barracade of saw horses which when removed allowed us to walk right up to the stage, right below Levon Helm’s drums. Very quickly we were sandwiched like sardines, fortunate to have the stage to lean on for the next four hours. We were in good company. Annie Leibovitz was about fifteen feet from my spot, waiting with her step ladder. Photographers were everywhere, especially cinematographers. Marty Scorsese had talked 12 of the very best DPs in the world into giving up their Thanksgiving at home and coming to document the historic event we were about to witness.

I began to take in some of the details– the La Traviata backdrop, footlights, lots and lots of lighting fixures around the hall. Lots and lots of Panavision cameras, assistants with film magazines, tripods. Lots and lots of activity. Two hours later the house lights dimmed and the show began. A few times in my life I’ve been in the right place at the right time with my camera and this was the best of all times. The planning and effort put into lighting and dressing the stage was very immediately apparent. It was as if they’d done it for me. Constantly changing the color and light levels on the background helped me get a variety of “looks” while being physically stuck in one spot. That lighting was a gift to every photographer in the house. The energy, emotion and talent on that stage comes across dramatically. It was truly historic, many think the best rock concert ever and I was lucky enough to be there to record it my way.

I invite you to look at the photos on my site. Enjoy.

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Latino Rock Trifecta complete. Los Straitjackets at Pappy and Harriet’s


Los Straitjackets at Pappy & Harriet’s

Photo by David Butterfield, Copyright 2014. Buy this photo, direct from my website click on link.

Last night 11/13 at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown my Latino Rock trifecta was completed. Previously Big Sandy played Pappy’s, including yours truly singing a Don Rich harmony part on a Buck Owens song. Between Big Sandy and Los Straitjackets, Los Lobos performed an outdoor show at Pappy’s–one of the best shows I’ve seen by the Lobos (and I’ve been to several)–then the 3rd part of the trifecta: Los Straitjackets with Deke Dickerson. Incredible fun, amazing musicianship, all-out rock-n-roll party.

Such a treat to see a band with a huge international following (800,000 at Mexico City Plaza show with Big Sandy not that long ago) playing on the tiny Pappy & Harriet’s stage. They absolutely blew the roof off.

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Maybe someone doesn’t like the Koch fascist conspiracy to overthrow the US Government


Wild Thang–photomontage by David Butterfield, copyright  2014.

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The Sun Records Story, on Big River with DJ Butter



Playlist ‘The Sun Records Story’ on Big River with DJ Butter

BB Blues                                    BB King

Rocket 88            Jackie Brenston and Delta Cats-Ike Turner

How Many More Years            Howlin Wolf

Easy                                                Jimmy and Walter

Just Walkin in the Rain            Prisonaires

Feelin Good                        Little Junior’s Blue Flames

Good Rockin Tonight                        Elvis, Scotty and Bill

Turn Around                                    Carl Perkins

Hey Porter                        Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two

Mystery Train                        Elvis, Scotty and Bill

Blue Suede Shoes                        Carl Perkins

Folsom Prison Blues                        Johnny Cash

Boppin’ the Blues                        Carl Perkins

Get Rhythm                                    Johnny Cash

End of the Road                        Jerry Lee Lewis

Claudette                                    Roy Orbison

Breathless                                    Jerry Lee

Raunchy                                    Bill Justis

You Win Again                        Jerry Lee

Who Will the Next Fool Be            Charlie Rich

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On                        Jerry Lee Lewis

Big River with DJ Butter

One hour radio show/podcast featuring great music from Minneapolis to New Orleans, down the Mississippi and up Highway 61. Jazz, blues, rock n roll, r&b, soul, rockabilly, funk, zydeco, cajun, country.

Playlists for all shows plus extras, sidebars on individual artists, etcetera

on the Big River with DJ Butter facebook PAGE:

If you don’t use Facebook (and I don’t blame you) the show will be here on the blog, too.

Like the PAGE!! Let ol Butter know how you like the program….Thanks for listening.

Posted in Americana Radio, music, podcast, radio show, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments