April 27, 2010

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(Paul Butterfield Blues Band - 1966 - defined a movement)

In 1966 when East-West by The Butterfield Blues Band came out, it defined a growing interest and awareness on the part of American bands to re-discover what had been largely co-opted by British bands during the previous few years by the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and countless others. In short, Paul Butterfield brought it all back home. East-West (the title of the album and the title of tonight's track) was, and still is, one of the masterpieces of 60s blues-rock. Backed by guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, Butterfield rounded off the band with Mark Naftalin on keyboards, Billy Davenport on drums and Jerome Arnold on bass from Howlin' Wolf's band. Bloomfield, Bishop and Naftalin would go off and pursue careers with other bands or solo endeavors a short while after this album came out.

Perhaps neglected for no particular reason some 45 years later, in 1966 East-West was required listening for every musician and every garage band in the country. At a time when AM radio was confined to the 2:30 format, the 13+ minutes of East-West made it perfect for the newly established FM Underground audience and it was played constantly for years.

Although Paul Butterfield is gone (he died in 1987 at the age of 44), his contribution to the music world is inestimable. And East-West got the ball rolling.

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