The Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Audio Fidelity  AFZ 187

Stereo Hybrid


The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

In the early Sixties, the prevailing wisdom was that the blues was a music based on the shared experience of African Americans and that any attempt by a "Caucasian" to play the blues would pale in comparison. In 1965, Paul Butterfield broke that color barrier. The Butterfield Blues Band debut album was released in 1965 and became an instant favorite among blues aficionados. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks the Butterfield Blues Band one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Downbeat Magazine has the album listed as number 11 of the greatest blues album of all time.

Butterfield teamed-up with guitarists Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield, added Mark Naftalin on organ and hijacked Jerome Arnold on bass and Sam Lay on drums from Howlin' Wolf's band. The music that pours from this album is unfiltered, clamored, and let loose, like blues music is supposed to be and played with an intensity and pure passion in every bent note. In front of all these instruments is Butterfield's harmonica, beautifully dictating a mood and a genuine feel that set the standard for harmonica blowing vocalists.

The album features a mix of folk, rock, psychedelia, and even Indian classical music played over an embedded base of good old Chicago blues. Each song captures the essence of Chicago blues in a different way, from the back-alley feel of "Born in Chicago" to the melting ease of Willie Dixon's "Mellow Down Easy" to the authentic devotion that emanates from Bishop and Butterfield's "Our Love Is Drifting." "Shake Your Money Maker," "Blues With a Feeling," and "I Got My Mojo Working" (with Lay on vocals) are all equally moving pieces.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band is a Chicago Blues Masterpiece and the foundation of any great music collection.

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13 of 13 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
1. Born in Chicago
2. Shake your money maker
3. Blues with a feeling
4. Thank you Mr. Poobah
5. I got my mojo working
6. Mellow down easy
7. Screamin'
8. Our love is drifting
9. Mystery train
10. Last night
11. Look over younders wall
Comments (1)

Comment by Tony Reif - October 20, 2018 (1 of 1)

I'd never really enjoyed this release, it sounded thin and bright and crucially lacking in detail. But some recent upgrades to my electrostatic headphone system (Marantz SA-KI Ruby, Phenomenon Canorum phones, and the loan of a great DIY amp using 12AT7s), have made it far more listenable. Early Mike Bloomfield is the main draw for me (check out his solo on the well-titled "Blues with a Feeling"), though Butterfield's vocals and harp also have lots of character, and the band plays well together, making it something of a classic of Chicago blues.