Saturday, November 8, 2008

Michael Bloomfield

Born in Chicago in 1943 Michael Bloomfield took an early interest in the Chicago Blues scene. He came to know and play with many of the blues legends of the time and was instrumental in the Chicago Blues Revival of the mid to late ‘60s.

During that time he even owned a small blues club called The Fickle Pickle. (My cousin snuck me in there once when I was visiting her, I was 17 at the time.)

Michael joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and chose to stay with Butterfield when asked to play for Bob Dylan.

Tonight’s opening number features Michael tearing it up with Dylan at the 1965 Newport Blues Festival. Although only briefly seen in the shadows, his high energy guitar licks provide a high energy beat.

After leaving the Butterfield Blues Band he formed a band called Electric Flag with friends Barry Goldberg and Nick Gravenites as well as a number of other well known performers producing only one album A Long Time Coming in 1968 before Michael left the band.

Shortly after Michael worked with Al Kooper on an album called Super Session but was only able to complete one side of the album due to insomnia, with Stephen Stills finishing out the second side.

Over the ensuing years he played as a session musician for other performers and did some solo work but a heroin addiction became the focus of his life.

In 1981 Michael was found in his car, slumped over, dead of a heroin overdose.

Tonight I end with an audio track Blues for Michael, an ode to Michael by Country Joe McDonald.

(Not many live performances were available, so I open with the live ones and finish with audio slide shows.)

Official Website – Family run





Direct links to the individual videos:

Live Performances

Maggie’s Farm – backing up Bob Dylan

Drinkin’ Wine – with Electric Flag

Stop – with Al Kooper

Long Distance Call – with Muddy Waters & Junior Wells

Messin with the Kid – with Junior Wells & Nick Gravenites

Born in Chicago – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band & Son House

Rattle, Rock & Roll – with Fabio Treves

Driftin’ Blues – with Paul Butterfield Bands

Audio with Slide Shows

Season of the Witch – with Al Kooper

Albert’s Shuffle - with Al Kooper

Blues for Nothing – with Al Kooper

Killing Floor – with Electric Flag

Sitting in Circles – with Electric Flag

Going Down Slow – with Electric Flag

Got My Mojo Working – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Walking Blues – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Work Song – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Two Trains Running – with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

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See you next week.