Paul Butterfield - straight-up, spreadin' the message.

Paul Butterfield - straight-up, spreadin' the message.
Paul Butterfield – straight-up, spreadin’ the message.

– Paul Butterfield Blues Band – In Concert 1966 –

A classic concert this weekend from the legendary Paul Butterfield Blues Band, recorded live at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on October 14, 1966.

Butterfield was one of the major forces, taking the Chicago Blues genre to a broader (and whiter) audience in the early-mid 1960’s. His band featured a number of names who would go on to become  prominent solo artists in their own right, namely Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop.

After early training as a classical flautist, Paul Butterfield developed an interest in blues harmonica. He explored the blues scene in his native Chicago, where he met Muddy Waters and other blues greats, who provided encouragement and opportunities for him to join in jam sessions. He soon began performing with fellow blues enthusiasts Nick Gravenites and Elvin Bishop.

In 1963, he formed the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which recorded several successful albums and was popular on the late-1960s concert and festival circuit, with performances at the Fillmore West, in San Francisco; the Fillmore East, in New York City; the Monterey Pop Festival; and Woodstock. The band was known for combining electric Chicago blues with a rock urgency and for their pioneering jazz fusion performances and recordings. After the breakup of the group in 1971, Butterfield continued to tour and record with the band Paul Butterfield’s Better Days, with his mentor Muddy Waters, and with members of the roots-rock group the Band. While still recording and performing, Butterfield died in 1987 at age 44 of an accidental drug overdose.

Music critics have acknowledged his development of an original approach that places him among the best-known blues harp players.

This 1966 concert features the classic lineup with Bloomfield, Bishop, Mark Nafatlin on keyboards, Jerome Arnold on Bass and Billy Davenport on drums. It was recorded around the time of the release of the milestone East-West album, and the set closes with that track, which sadly fades out about 3/4 of the way through, being a Magnum Opus among 60s performances and not enough tape on the original reel to accommodate it. Ah, history.

But it’s a great concert nonetheless and a little touch of Down Home to toss into your weekend Mix.

Enjoy.




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