Bringing together three strong musical personalities like John Hammond, Mike Bloomfield and Dr. John is no easy task. The least of the problems, to begin with, is finding o solid month and a half when each of them is free from studio and performing obligations. With that accomplished, you still have the problem of discovering a common musical ground for three strong-willed musicians, excellent instrumentalists, producers and stars in their own right, each of whom has definite opinions about how music should be played.
Before playing a single note in the studio, Mike, John and Dr. John, as well as producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye, were all aware that one of two things could happen: (1) Egos would conflict, and about all we would hear would be three individuals showing us how good they can play, or (2) There would be positive chemistry among John, Mike and Dr. John, as each would direct himself towards the collective musical goals of the band, and that by working together each of the musicians would be able to do what they do best.
During the first two weeks together, everyone involved—including Mssrs. Hammond, Bloomfield and Kaye, and Dr. John—was certain that the chemistry just wasn't there. Everything pointed to musical chaos. 'It was like hell/' said John, "We could have killed each other." At one point, practically everyone threatened to leave. Dr. John actually packed up and went back home; Mike, for his part, left one night in the middle of a session, telling his dumbfounded musical colleagues, ''I quit. I am going home, and I am going to watch Flip Wilson."
Then, suddenly, one brisk day in fate February, everything began to click. Dr. John had been convinced to return to San Francisco from Los Angeles, and with him were a new drummer, Fred Staehle, who had played with him in New Orleans, and bassist, Chris Etheridge, a mainstay of the studio scene All of a sudden, everyone realized that the chemistry had, indeed, always been there. Fred and Chris were immediately tuned into the music, and from that point on, all was flow.
While the recording sessions accomplished a great many things musically (among other things, it satisfied Dr. John's first rule of rock and roll: "ya gottu dance to it"), Mike, Dr. John and John all came out strongly as individual musical personalities without getting in each other's way. 'As a matter of fact," said John, "we really went over our heads. Each of us reached a much higher state together than we imagined we could when we began." It is that rare brand of music where everyone listens as much as they play—and because of it, every piece fits perfectly into place. In the end, this musical collective expression has made John Hammond, Mike Bloomfield and Dr. John, indeed, a Triumvirate.
by Robert Hurwitz
1. Cha-Dooky-Doo (M. Vince) - 3:45
2. Last Night (W.Jacobs) - 2:56
3. I Yi Yi (L. Rebennack) - 3:50
4. Just To Be With You (B. Roth) - 4:14
5. Baby Let Me Kiss You (K. Floyd) - 3:03
6. Sho Bout To Drive Me Wild (M. Rebennack, J. Hill, A. Robinson, K. Floyd) - 3:31
7. It Hurts Me Too (M. London) - 3:48
8. Rock Me Baby (J. Josea, B. B. King) - 3:40
9. Ground Hog Blues (J. L. Hooker) - 3:31
10.Pretty Thing (W. Dixon) - 4:46
11.I Yi Yi (Bonus Track, Single Version) (L. Rebennack) - 2:32
12.The Trip (Bonus Track) (M. Rebennack) - 4:00
*John Hammond - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Mike Bloomfield - Lead Guitar
*Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) - Piano, Organ, Guitar, Banjo, Percussion
*Fred Staehle - Drums
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Thomas Jefferson Kaye - Guitar, Background Vocals
*John Bourdreaux - Percussion
*Bennie Parks - Percussion
*Richard "Blue" Mitchell - Trumpet
*George Bohanon - Trombone
*Baritone Saxophone - James Gordon
*Jerome Jumonville - Tenor & Alto Sax
*Robbie Montgomery - Background Vocals
*Jessie Smith - Background Vocals
*Lorraine Rebennack - Background Vocals
1966-68 The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Strawberry Jam
1967 Electric Flag - The Trip
1968-69 Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'
196?-7? The Electric Flag - Live
1969 Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1969 Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites & Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West
1969 Nick Gravenites - My Labors
1976 KGB - KGB
1976-77 Michael Bloomfield - Live at the Old Waldorf
the Free Text