Saturday, September 16, 2006

MIKE BLOOMFIELD "1st Studio Demo" (1964)

Columbia Studios, Chicago - Prod. John Hammond Sr.

Michael Bloomfield : Guitar, Vocals
Charlie Musselwhite : Harmonica
Mike Johnson : Guitar
Sid Warner : Bass
Norman Mayell : Drums
Brian Friedman : Piano

01. “I’ve Got You In The Palm Of My Hand” (2.24)
02. “Last Night” (3.21)
03. “I Feel So Good” (2.53) (incl. studio banter & false start)
04. “Goin’ Down Slow” (3.37)
05. “I Feel So Good” (2.21) take 2
06. “I Feel So Good” (2.58) take 3
07. “Goin’ Down Slow” (3.39)
08. “I’ve Got You In The Palm Of My Hand” (2.26) take 7
09. “The First Year I Was Married” (3.51) take 1
10. “I Got My Mojo Working” (2.52) take 4
11. “Last Night” (3.23) take 2

(01-04)CD "M.B. - Essential Blues : 1964-69" (1994-Columbia Legacy)
(05-11)LP "I'm Cutting Out" (2001-Sundazed Rec.)

This is Michael Bloomfield’s debut as a solo recording artist. The tapes from this audition session were hidden in the Columbia vault until the release of the CD in 1994. Maybe he was ahead of his time; a white Jewish kid playing the black people’s blues. It’s a wonder the blues purist (or was that the reason?) John Hammond didn’t do more about his find. As history shows, MB was quickly loaned out to Elektra to play with The Butterfield Blues Band.

All the tracks show that MB already was a gifted guitar player, knowing exactly what he wanted. No white musicians at that time had recorded anything like this. He even sang with confidence. Although he did well in BBB, it’s very interesting to imagine what could have happened if MB had been featured as a solo artist from Day One.

Track (2) has writer “unknown” despite Little Walter Jacobs having been credited since the first BBB album.

Norman Mayell writes in his biography about this period (from his website):
After high school I went to Hawaii and studied Philosophy and History in 1960. After a couple of years I returned home and went to Chicago and started making sandals at John Browns sandal shop in Old Town. There I met Mike Bloomfield in Big Johns on Wells Street, and he was talking to Big Joe Williams. I had no idea that he was already a player emerging out of the folk era and had been written up in Sing Out Magazine. He asked me to get some drums and help start a band. And so we became the first all white blues band in Chicago in 1963/64. Known as "The Group" and playing at Big Johns, we were playing hot and primitive Chicago Blues to a packed club. Charlie Musselwhite played harp and sometimes Mark Naftalin sat in. John Hammond Sr. from Columbia Records came to see us and put us in the studio. That session was finally released in 1997 on the Michael Bloomfield "Essential Blues" CD. John Hammond didn't know what he had. White guys high on dope playing the blues; the Rolling Stones were waiting in the wings.


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