December 12, 2023

Dylan, Bloomfield, Son House and the Highway 61 Blues

SO if you dont know who Mike Bloomfield is here`s a chance to catch up. Bloomfield was one of the first popular music stars of the 60s to earn his reputation entirely on his instrumental prowess and his early supporters were Buddy Guy, B.B.King, Muddy Waters and Dylan.  Bloomfield got together with Elvin Bishop and Paul Butterfield and formed the Butterfield Blues Band who were in part responsible for bringing that whole Chicago sound from a black to a white audience. Butterfiled was famous for his cross-harp inverted harmonica style. You can hear them both here prior to Bloomfield`s departure to form Electric Flag.

In `65 Dylan closed the Newport Festival with Bloomfield and the rest of the band sans Butterfield.
“As far as I know, no one else out there plays like this…The guy that I always miss, and I think he`d still be around if he stayed with me, actually , was Mike Bloomfield. He could just flat out play. He had so much soul. And he knew all the styles, and he could play them so incredibly well.” Dylan 2009

That`s Bloomfield rocking out on Dylan`s Highway 61 album and in many senses Bloomfield paved the way for a multitude of great guitarists and bands. Here`s a video featuring a young Bloomfield interview PLUS the impossibly idiosyncratic slide sound, and equally impossibly desperate, twisted voice of blues legend Son House – soaked in tragedy, piss, blood, sweat and tears. Its Butterfield on the gob iron (harmonica). DIG…man!

Tomorrow I`m going to focus on Son House – who influenced Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Remember it`s a mystic thing people…you either got it or you aint.


Jake Edwards

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