In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Michael Bloomfield - If You Love These Blues Play'em As You Please (1976 us, legendary electric acoustic traditional blues, 2004 reissue)

On 15 February 1981, the blues guitar legend was found dead from a drugs overdose, slumped in his car in a side street in San Francisco. 

During the 1960s, his guitar playing had ignited "live" performances and recordings by Bob Dylan, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The Electric Flag, among others. He had also provided much of the focus for the Super Session and Live Adventures projects on which he shared joint headline credit with Al Kooper. 

Personal problems, and unease with the formulaic approach that success often demands, dogged many of his later recordings and diminished in many people's eyes the great contribution he had, undoubtedly, made to the electric guitar sound of the 60s. 

“If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please” is a timely reminder of what a consummate musician he was. 22 tracks of this CD were recorded in 1976 and released originally with the same album title on Guitar Player/Takoma 3002. The remaining nine tracks come from the Norman Dayron recorded session featuring Bloomfield with guitarist Woody Harris and were originally released on Kicking Mule KM 164. 

The 1976 sides were conceived by Bloomfield as a way of repaying the debt he felt he owed to his musical influences, the many black blues and white hillbilly performers from whom he had learned so much. Consequently, the musical performances range across a breadth of styles and are linked by simple narratives recited by Bloomfield himself. Rather than being something that wears thin with repetition, these link narratives are a rare opportunity to hear the man himself, talking about the music he loved best. 

Recorded in a relaxed atmosphere in the dark San Francisco basement studio of David Blossom, the sessions obviously took Bloomfield back to the dark Chicago clubs that he had enjoyed so much in his youth and missed badly in the era of the stadium concert. His singing is warm and unforced and works well with his stunning guitar playing and the laid-back support from such musical friends as singer/guitarist Nick Gravenites, organist Ira Kamin, bassist Doug Kilmer, drummers Tom Donlinger and Dave Neditch plus the occasional added horns of Ron Stallings and Hart McNee. 

For the session three years later with Woody Harris, the emphasis shifts from the secular to the sacred. All the tunes are gospel songs and the warm collaboration between the two guitarists is a joy. With the aid of studio overdubbing, Bloomfield plays both electric slide and acoustic guitars on the closing Peace In The Valley and both guitars, piano, organ, bass and drums on The Altar Song. Especially fine is Bloomfield's stinging, distorted electric guitar on Gonna Need Somebody On My Bond and Just A Closer Walk With Thee, both beautifully underpinned by Harris's acoustic guitar chords and picking.
by John Crosby

1. If You Love These Blues (Michael Bloomfield) - 1:10
2. Hey, Foreman (Michael Bloomfield) - 2:53
3. Narrative #1 - 0:35
4. Wdia (Michael Bloomfield) - 4:11
5. Narrative #2 - 0:10
6. Death Cell Rounder Blues (Michael Bloomfield) - 3:46
7. Narrative #3 - 0:05
8. City Girl (Michael Bloomfield) - 4:35
9. Narrative #4 - 0:19
10.Kansas City Blues (Jim Jackson) - 3:28
11.Narrative #5 - 0:15
12.Mama Lion (Nick Gravenites) - 4:05
13.Narrative #6 - 0:09
14.Thrift Shop Rag (Michael Bloomfield) - 2:00
15.Narrative #7 - 0:14
16.Death In My Family (Michael Bloomfield) - 4:12
17.East Colorado Blues (Stefan Grossman) - 1:34
18.Blue Ghost Blues (Lonnie Johnson) - 2:18
19.Narrative #8 - 0:24
20.The Train Is Gone (Michael Bloomfield) - 3:23
21.Narrative #9 - 0:06
22.The Altar Song (Traditional) - 2:25
23.I'll Overcome (Traditional) - 4:00
24.I Must See Jesus (Traditional) - 4:38
25.Great Dreams From Heaven (Traditional) - 2:54
26.Gonna Need Somebody On My Bond (Traditional) - 4:23
27.I Am A Pligrim (Traditional) - 2:43
28.Just A Closer Walk With Thee (Traditional) - 3:09
29.Have Thine Own Way (Traditional) - 2:23
30.Farther Along (Traditional) - 2:35
31.Peace In The Valley (Traditional) - 5:03

*Michael Bloomfield - Electric, Acoustic, Slide Guitars, Bass, Piano, Vocals
*Doug Kilmer - Bass
*Tom Donlinger - Drums
*Ira Kamin - Organ, Piano
*Eric Kriss - Piano
*Hart McNee - Baritone Saxophone
*Ron Stallings - Tenor Saxophone
*Roger Troy - Bass
*Nick Gravenites - Guitar, Vocals
*David Neditch - Drums
*Woody Harris - Acoustic Guitar

1964  The Original Lost Elektra Sessions
1965  The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
1966  East West
1966  The Butterfield Blues Band - East-West (2014 Hybrid SACD limited adition) 
1966-68  Strawberry Jam
1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
1968  Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Steve Stills - The Super Sessions (2014 Hybrid Multichannel SACD 24/88) 
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
1970-71  Big Brother And The Holding Company - Be A Brother / How Hard It Is