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Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Butterfield Blues Band - East-West (1966 us, classic influential blues psych rock, 2014 audio fidelity hybrid SACD limited edition)

The legendary Butterfield Blues Band, led by vocalist/harmonica player Paul Butterfield, was a launching pad for many aspiring electric blues musicians back in the mid/late 1960s. East-West has long been considered one of their classic albums, originally released in 1966, and contains some stellar performances from two of the bands breakout stars, guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. 

Along with keyboard player Mark Naftalin, bassist Billy Davenport, and drummer Jerome Arnold, The Butterfield Blues Band at this point were really peaking, this set containing 9 songs of blistering electric blues and a smattering of pop and jazz for good measure. Reissued here by Audio-Fidelity on the Hybrid SACD/CD format, you get sparkling clarity of this classic album that can be enjoyed on your SACD or standard CD player.

Comprised of shorter, upbeat blues/pop numbers as well as more extended, jammy tracks, East-West has something for everyone. "Work Song" is a blistering display of instrumental virtuosity, as Naftalin's smoky, Jimmy Smith inspired organ passages drift alongside some sizzling licks from Bloomfield and Bishop, with Butterfield's husky harmonica punctuating things quite nicely. The slow blues of "I Got a Mind to Give Up Living" displays the power and emotion of this band, while the heavier "Mary, Mary" sees them taking on some of the rock 'n' roll influences that were popping up all around them at the time. 

Upbeat, shuffling blues can be heard on "Walkin' Blues", "Get Out of My Life Woman", and the rousing "Two Trains Running" (stinging guitar work on this one), while the 13-minute title track combines blues, jazz, Middle Eastern themes and Latin rhythms for an exciting adventure that again shows the talents of the band as soloists. Some truly remarkable guitar solos from Bloomfield and Bishop on this one. 

East West is an album that influenced a whole generation of bands and musicians who came after it. Amazing audio clarity to go along with some sensational guitar playing makes for an impressive combination! 
by Pete Pardo

1. Walkin' Blues (Robert Johnson) - 3:21
2. Get Out Of My Life, Woman (Allen Toussaint) - 3:16
3. I Got A Mind To Give Up Living  (Traditional) - 5:01
4. All These Blues (Traditional) - 2:25
5. Work Song (Nat Adderley, Oscar Brown) - 7:56
6. Mary, Mary (Michael Nesmith) - 2:53
7. Two Trains Running (Muddy Waters) - 3:57
8. Never Say No (Traditional) - 3:01
9. East-West (Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 13:15

The Butterfield Blues Band
*Paul Butterfield - Harmonica, Vocals
*Mike Bloomfield – Guitar
*Elvin Bishop – Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Naftalin – Keyboards
*Jerome Arnold – Bass
*Billy Davenport - Drums

Paul Butterfield's mosaic
1964  The Original Lost Elektra Sessions
1965  The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
1966  East West
1966-68  Strawberry Jam
1967  The Resurrection Of The Pigboy Crabshaw
1968  In My Own Dream
1969  Keep On Moving
1970  Live 
1971  Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'
1973  Paul Butterfield's Better Days
1973  It All Comes Back (Japan Edition)
1976  Put It In Your Ear

Elvin Bishop
1969-70/72  Party Till The Cows Come Home
1974  Elvin Bishop - Let It Flow
1977  Live! Raisin' Hell (2012 remaster)

Mike Bloomfield's tapestry
1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'  
196?-7?  The Electric Flag - Live
1968  Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield - The Lost Concert Tapes, Filmore East
1969  Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites And Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West
1969  Nick Gravenites - My Labors
1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (Japan remaster)
1976  KGB - KGB
1976-77  Michael Bloomfield - Live at the Old Waldorf
1977  Prescription For The Blues

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