There are some classic new blues (if that phrase makes any sense – I’m talking about the interpreters of the ’60s and ’70s) that I have come to very late. Despite my love for original blues, Chicago blues, British invasion blues, rhythm ’n’ blues, there have been a number of later groups that I have paid hardly any attention to. The various iterations of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers would be one example. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and its offshoots is another. So it was only in the last 2-3 years that I started exploring either of them. Yes, they’re white adaptations of the blues, but they’re also absolutely legendary, so who am I, as a blues fan, to not even listen to them? And I was definitely missing out. So I’m slowly filling in my collection. And I found this a few weeks back at Matones, during one of our weekly COVID fantasy jaunts where we go to non-crowded stores once a week and pretend we’re living in a society.
This is Mike Bloomfield’s solo debut from 1969, after his stints with Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Electric Flag, as well as the Super Session with Al Kooper. As some reviews noted, Bloomfield isn’t a great singer, and the album lacks the guitar brilliance he was capable of. Some of the vocals border on country parody, and Bloomfield isn’t Mick Jagger, so, I could do without the exaggeration. I can’t say this is my favorite thing ever, or even my favorite of his. Super Session, his work on “East-West” (coming up next), even his piano on one track of “Grape Jam,” all mostly more interesting than this. But, it’s still good blues, and good blues is good, but it’s not going to be my go-to blues record. Whereas, the next entry, by the Butterfield Blues Band (prominently featuring Mike Bloomfield), has become just that.
Originally posted 10-30-2020