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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

(the) Paul Butterfield Blues Band - s/t

Name: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Album: s/t
Year: 1965
Style: Bar Blues (Chicago)
Similar Bands: J Geiles Band, Blues Project, Blasters
"One-Word" Review: Harmonicazzy-Bar-Blues
Based Out Of: Chicago
Label: Elektra
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Front & Record
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Back & Record

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965)
  1. Born In Chicago 2:55
  2. Shake Your Money-Maker 2:27
  3. Blues With A Feeling 4:20
  4. Thank You Mr. Poobah 4:05
  5. I Got My Mojo Working 3:30
  6. Mellow Down Easy 3:40/
  7. Screamin' 4:30
  8. Our Love Is Drifting 3:25
  9. Mystery Train 2:45
  10. Last Night 4:15
  11. Look Over Yonders Wall 2:23
Album Rating (1-10): 7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Paul Butterfield - Vox, Harmonica (Better Days, Muddy Waters)
Mike Bloomfield - Slide Guitar (The Electric Flag)
Elvin Bishop - Rhythm Guitar (The Elvin Bishop Group)
Jerome Arnold - Bass (Howlin' Wolf)
Sam lay - Drums (Howlin' Wolf)
Mark Naftalin - Organ
Paul Rothchild - Producer & Recording Director
Mark Abramson - Asst Producer & Recording
Jac Holzman - Production Supervisor
Leonard Heicklen - Cover Photo
William S Harvey - Cover Photo & Design

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. Of course the Blues band (like the Blues Project) automatically brings to mind a blues album. But the imagery on the cover and the picture on the back make it seem like it is going to be more electric and rocking. Kinda like what I wrote for the Blues Proj….i think these were both dropped off at the thrift store by the same person, they seem to fit in as part of the same collection. The song lengths are more rock oriented than long blues, so that is something to look forward to. And I’ve heard of and seen Elvin Bishop records before.

Album Review: “Born In Chicago” begins the record with groovy guitar rhythm & harmonica. This is upbeat blues, and as I’ve read/heard, Chicago blues. The lyrics have lots of repetition, but are sung differently, and it is like hearing the lyrics given different meaning each time they are sung. “Shake Your Moneymaker” is a start stop rocking tune, this is a very happy song, not too much blues here, with the slight exception of the slide guitar…but even that is having a good time. The song actually swings. The energy in the bass, guitars and vocals could make the dullest, dingiest bar jump. “Blues with a Feeling” is, as the title suggests, a deep dive into blues. The harmonica played prominently, and is echoed by the guitar and bass. The dynamic is only saved for the beginning, as the verse poses the music as support and a guide to the emotional vocals. “Thank You Mr. Poobah” is a more bouncy, jazzy, jump-jiving aspect of instrumental blues. The harmonica is still featured prominently, but the jazz rhythm section picks up the blues and turns them into happy. The instruments take turns talking to each other, and intermixing very well. “I Got My Mojo Working” also falls into the big band camp of swing, thanks to the guitar and teeters on the edge of blues, thanks to the train harmonica. There are back ground response vocals to support the call out I Got My Mojo Workin’. “Mellow Down Easy” features a fantastic harmonica in the beginning and just takes off from there. The song is vaguely psychedelic with calm smooth vocals, and the rhythm guitar in the background.

“Screamin’” is a 60’s groovy rock song featuring heavy on the harmonica. It is mainly a instrumental, with the vocals making their only appearance in the beginning of the song. There are some famous/familiar musical riffs used in the song’s long instrumental ending. “Our Love is Drifting” slows things down and returns to meandering blues, featuring heavy on the lead guitar. It spills blues sentiments out in electric notes, rather than lyrics. “Mystery Train” captures the pace of a cross country train, and the typical sound it makes as it chugs along via harmonica and guitar interplay, the bass, and clicky hi-hat cymbals. “Last Night” parallels “Our Love is Drifting,” with its drunken side to side sweeping feeling of lonely blues. “Look Over Yonder Wall” has a great rolling bass beat and combined with the lead slide guitar, I’m reminded of Chuck Berry, but only for little sections in this song. It ends the record with a nice energy, quick pace and a rockin’ memory.

Stand Out Track: Mellow Down Easy


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