Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

A slew of albums by young white men out of their minds in love with music made by older black men came from both sides of the Atlantic during the mid-1960s, but two records really laid the groundwork for the decade's blues revival--the self-titled releases by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers out of London and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band out of Chicago. Both bands were led by harmonica-blowing vocalists; both featured ascending guitar gods--Eric Clapton with Mayall and Mike Bloomfield with Butterfield. Butterfield's ensemble, however, came of age closer to the roots of the music. The rhythm section heard on the group's 1965 debut was hired away from Howlin' Wolf, and Butterfield, while still in his early 20s when the album shipped, was already a familiar face on the Windy City's club circuit. "Born in Chicago" opens the album on a gritty note that never flags through this 11-track landmark. The slashing duo guitars of Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop and Butterfield's flash harp helped make Muddy Waters fathomable for a new audience and, decades later, it's still easy to understand how. --Steven Stolder (Amazon Review)

Butterfield's debut album burst on the scene in 1965 and the blues, rock and pop scene were never the same after it's release. In it's original form, the band consisted of Butterfield on vocals and harmonica, Mike Bloomfield on slide guitar, Elvin Bishop on rhythm guitar, Jerome Arnold on bass, Sam Lay on drums and Mark Naftalin on organ. One can argue which Butterfield album should be at the top of the heap but there is no denying that this would rank in the top five of any Butterfield enthusiasts list. It contains a variety of blues styles as well as what became the bands signature song, "Born In Chicago" and the Bloomfield gem "Screamin'".

1. Born In Chicago
2. Shake Your Money-Maker
3. Blues With A Feeling
4. Thank You Mr. Poobah
5. I Got My Mojo Working
6. Mellow Down Easy
7. Screamin'
8. Our Love Is Drifting
9. Mystery Train
10. Last Night
11. Look Over Yonders Wall