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R&B - Released June 7, 1988 | Elektra Asylum

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Blues - Released June 19, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

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The raw immediacy and tight instrumental attack of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's self-titled debut album were startling and impressive in 1965, but the following year, the group significantly upped the ante with its second LP, East-West. The debut showed that Butterfield and his bandmates could cut tough, authentic blues (not a given for an integrated band during the era in which fans were still debating if a white boy could play the blues) with the energy of rock & roll, but East-West was a far more ambitious set, with the band showing an effective command of jazz, Indian raga, and garagey proto-psychedelia as well as razor-sharp electric blues. Butterfield was the frontman, and his harp work was fierce and potent, but the core of the band was the dueling guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, especially Bloomfield's ferocious, acrobatic solos, while Mark Naftalin's keyboards added welcome washes of melodic color, and the rhythm section of bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Billy Davenport were capable of both the rock-solid support of veteran blues players and the more flexible and artful pulse of a jazz combo, rising and relaxing with the dynamics of a performance. The Butterfield Blues Band sounded muscular and exciting on classic blues workouts like "Walkin' Blues," "Two Trains Running," and "I Got a Mind to Give Up Living," but the highlights came when the band pushed into new territory, such as the taut New Orleans proto-funk of "Get Out of My Life, Woman," the buzzy and mildly trippy "Mary, Mary," and especially two lengthy instrumental workouts, the free-flowing jazz of Nat Adderley's "Work Song" and the title track, a fiery mix of blues, psychedelia, Indian musical patterns, and several other stops in between, with Butterfield, Bloomfield, and Bishop blowing for all their worth. East-West would prove to be a pivotal album in the new blues-rock movement, and it was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's greatest achievement; Bloomfield would be gone by the time they cut their next LP to form the Electric Flag, and as good as Bishop was, losing the thrust and parry between the two guitarists was a major blow. But East-West captures a great group in high flight as the bandmembers join together in something even more remarkable than their estimable skills as individuals would suggest, and its importance as a nexus point between rock, blues, jazz, and world music cannot be overestimated. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Blues - Released August 22, 2001 | Rhino - Elektra

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Even after his death, Paul Butterfield's music didn't receive the accolades that were so deserved. Outputting styles adopted from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters among other blues greats, Butterfield became one of the first white singers to rekindle blues music through the course of the mid-'60s. His debut album, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, saw him teaming up with guitarists Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield, with Jerome Arnold on bass, Sam Lay on drums, and Mark Naftalin playing organ. The result was a wonderfully messy and boisterous display of American-styled blues, with intensity and pure passion derived from every bent note. In front of all these instruments is Butterfield's harmonica, beautifully dictating a mood and a genuine feel that is no longer existent, even in today's blues music. Each song captures the essence of Chicago blues in a different way, from the back-alley feel of "Born in Chicago" to the melting ease of Willie Dixon's "Mellow Down Easy" to the authentic devotion that emanates from Bishop and Butterfield's "Our Love Is Drifting." "Shake Your Money Maker," "Blues With a Feeling," and "I Got My Mojo Working" (with Lay on vocals) are all equally moving pieces performed with a raw adoration for blues music. Best of all, the music that pours from this album is unfiltered...blared, clamored, and let loose, like blues music is supposed to be released. A year later, 1966's East West carried on with the same type of brash blues sound partnered with a jazzier feel, giving greater to attention to Bishop's and Bloomfield's instrumental talents. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Blues - Released March 31, 2015 | Rhino - Elektra

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Rock - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

Released in 1969, Keep on Moving was the fifth Elektra release by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. During a four-year span the group's namesake and leader was the only original member left from their first album in 1965. Morphing in a similar direction as Michael Bloomfield's Electric Flag, this edition of the Butterfield Blues Band prominently fronted the horn section of David Sanborn on alto sax, Gene Dinwiddie on tenor, and Keith Johnson on trumpet. The band's direction was full tilt, horn-dominated soul music, first explored on The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, which took them farther away from the highly regarded gritty blues experimentation of East-West and the duel guitar attack of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. This album also signaled the final appearance of AACM and Art Ensemble of Chicago drummer Phillip Wilson, whose Butterfield swan song was the collaboration with Dinwiddie on the hippie gospel track "Love March," of which an appropriately disjointed live version appeared on the Woodstock soundtrack album. The difference between Butterfield's 1965 street survival ode "Born in Chicago" ("My father told me 'son you'd better get a gun") and "Love March" ("Sing a glad song, sing all the time") left fans wondering if the band had become a bit too democratic. However, on cuts like "Losing Hand," some of the band's original fervor remains. Butterfield's harp intertwining with the horn section sounds like a lost Junior Parker outtake and the Jimmy Rogers' penned "Walking by Myself," is the closest this band comes to the gutsy Windy City blues of its heyday. The remaining tracks aren't horrible, but tend to run out of ideas quickly, unfortunately making what may have been decent material (with a little more effort) sound premature. Butterfield would make a few more personnel changes, release one final disc on Elektra, Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin', and then dump the band altogether to embark on a solo career. In 2006, Sundazed released a High-Definition Vinyl LP version of Keep on Moving. © Al Campbell /TiVo
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Blues - Released November 6, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

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Pop - Released May 11, 2009 | Rhino - Elektra

All but one of these 19 tracks were recorded in December, 1964, as Paul Butterfield Blues Band's projected first LP; the results were scrapped and replaced by their official self-titled debut, cut a few months later. With both Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop already in tow, these sessions rank among the earliest blues-rock ever laid down. Extremely similar in feel to the first album, it's perhaps a bit rawer in production and performance, but not appreciably worse or different than what ended up on the actual debut LP. Dedicated primarily to electric Chicago blues standards, Butterfield fans will find this well worth acquiring, as most of the selections were never officially recorded by the first lineup (although different renditions of five tracks showed up on the first album and the What's Shakin' compilation). © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Blues - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

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Blues - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

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The Paul Butterfield Blues Band's In My Own Dream -- their fourth official release -- marked the point where the band really began to lose its audience, and all for reasons having nothing to do with the quality of their music. They'd gotten past the loss of Michael Bloomfield in early 1967 (which had lost them some of their audience of guitar idolaters) with the engagingly titled (and guitar-focused) Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw. In My Own Dream has its great guitar moments, especially on "Just to Be with You," but throughout the album, Elvin Bishop's electric guitar shares the spotlight with the horn section of Gene Dinwiddle, David Sanborn, and Keith Johnson, who had signed on with the prior album and who were more out in front than ever. More to the point, this album represented a new version of the band being born, with shared lead vocals, and the leader himself only taking three of the seven songs, with bassist Bugsy Maugh singing lead on two songs, Bishop on one, and drummer Phillip Wilson taking one. What's more, there was a widely shared spotlight for the players, and more of a jazz influence on this record than had ever been heard before from the group. This was a band that could jam quietly for five minutes on "Drunk Again," building ever so slowly to a bluesy crescendo where Bishop's guitar and Mark Naftalin's organ surged; and follow it with the title track, a totally surprising acoustic guitar-driven piece featuring Sanborn, Dinwiddle, and Johnson. The playing is impressive, especially for a record aimed at a collegiate audience, but the record had the bad fortune of appearing at a point when jazz was culturally suspect among the young, an elitist and not easily accessible brand of music that seemed almost as remote as classical. "Get Yourself Together" was almost too good a piece of Chicago-style blues, a faux Chess Records-style track that might even have been too "black" for the remnants of Butterfield's old audience. It also anticipated the group's final change of direction, when it blossomed into a multi-genre blues/jazz/R&B/soul outfit, equally devoted to all four genres and myriad permutations of each. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Blues - Released July 10, 2015 | Rhino - Elektra

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The 1968 edition of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band featured a larger ensemble with a horn section, allowing for a jazzier feeling while retaining its Chicago blues core. They also adopted the psychedelic flower power stance of the era, as evidenced by a few selections, the rather oblique title, and the stunning pastiche art work on the cover. Butterfield himself was really coming into his own playing harmonica and singing, while his band of keyboardist Mark Naftalin, guitarist Elvin Bishop, drummer Phil Wilson, electric bassist Bugsy Maugh, and the horns featuring young alto saxophonist David Sanborn was as cohesive a unit as you'd find in this time period. Butterfield's most well-known song "One More Heartache" kicks off the album, a definitive blues-rock radio favorite with great harmonica and an infectious beat urged on by the top-notch horns. The band covers "Born Under a Bad Sign" at a time when Cream also did it. "Driftin' & Driftin'" is another well-known tune, and at over nine minutes stretches out with the horns cryin' and sighin', including a definitive solo from Sanborn over the choruses. There's the Otis Rush tune "Double Trouble," and "Drivin' Wheel" penned by Roosevelt Sykes; Butterfield wrote two tunes, including "Run Out of Time" and the somewhat psychedelic "Tollin' Bells," where Bishop's guitar and Naftalin's slow, ringing, resonant keyboard evokes a haunting feeling. This is likely the single best Butterfield album of this time period and you'd be well served to pick this one up. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 2, 2014 | Rhino - Elektra

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Though their luster had faded by 1972, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band had already earned their measure of immortality by first popularizing and then pushing the boundaries of the blues. This influential outfit recorded two acknowledged classics, their eponymous debut and the subsequent East-West, which account for the first two sides of Golden Butter. Here you'll find the straight-ahead Chicago blues of their debut ("Born in Chicago," "Mellow Down Easy," "Look Over Yonders Wall") and the prescient psychedelic blues-rock of their second effort ("East-West," "Mary, Mary"). The last two sides of this compilation draw from the Elektra anthology What's Shakin' ("Spoonful," "One More Mile"), a pair of tracks each from their third and fourth albums, and a song from each of their last three albums. Delivered in chronological order, Golden Butter offers an accurate miniature of the band's unraveling from blues ambassadors to innovators to increasingly irrelevant icons. Yet if the band's fire burned briefly, it burned brightly, casting a shadow that remained visible throughout the decade in the music of Cream, Steve Miller Band, and many others. And even toward the end of their career, the band had an authentic understanding of the blues that few could match (a point underscored here with a live version of "Driftin' and Driftin'"). Golden Butter has yet to be released on CD, Elektra electing instead to release a new double-disc retrospective, An Anthology -- The Elektra Years. Both compilations are good enough to plant the seeds of hero worship in listeners' heads and spur them on to dig deeper into Butterfield. © Dave Connolly /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 26, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

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Rock - Released September 26, 1989 | Elektra Asylum

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R&B - Released June 7, 1988 | Elektra Asylum

Even after his death, Paul Butterfield's music didn't receive the accolades that were so deserved. Outputting styles adopted from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters among other blues greats, Butterfield became one of the first white singers to rekindle blues music through the course of the mid-'60s. His debut album, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, saw him teaming up with guitarists Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield, with Jerome Arnold on bass, Sam Lay on drums, and Mark Naftalin playing organ. The result was a wonderfully messy and boisterous display of American-styled blues, with intensity and pure passion derived from every bent note. In front of all these instruments is Butterfield's harmonica, beautifully dictating a mood and a genuine feel that is no longer existent, even in today's blues music. Each song captures the essence of Chicago blues in a different way, from the back-alley feel of "Born in Chicago" to the melting ease of Willie Dixon's "Mellow Down Easy" to the authentic devotion that emanates from Bishop and Butterfield's "Our Love Is Drifting." "Shake Your Money Maker," "Blues With a Feeling," and "I Got My Mojo Working" (with Lay on vocals) are all equally moving pieces performed with a raw adoration for blues music. Best of all, the music that pours from this album is unfiltered...blared, clamored, and let loose, like blues music is supposed to be released. A year later, 1966's East West carried on with the same type of brash blues sound partnered with a jazzier feel, giving greater to attention to Bishop's and Bloomfield's instrumental talents. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 19, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

For the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, this two-LP set proved that it all came down to Butterfield himself and his abilities as a leader in the end. For all of the adulation heaped on Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop, et al., the group was ultimately an extension of Butterfield's abilities as a leader and player, and this set proved that Butterfield and the bandmembers he had assembled in 1971 had more than two LPs' worth of live playing in them that was worth releasing and worth buying. And that wasn't the half of it -- talk about ironies -- at the time the Paul Butterfield Blues Band recorded this live album, they were at their peak as a concert act; they were getting all the bookings they wanted at the best clubs in the biggest cities in the country, and a lot of other places as well, in front of enthusiastic audiences who were devouring their blues-jazz-rock-R&B hybrid sound as fast as they could pump it out on-stage. They just weren't selling many records, which was why few people ever got to hear this album. The four-man horn section and the single guitar are a long way from the band that dazzled audiences six years earlier on East-West, or at Monterey in 1967; this is big-band Chicago blues with a jazz base and a killer sound, ranging all over the musical map without peer. In the midst of all of those seemingly louder instruments blowing away, however, one can still find a great showcase for Butterfield's blues harp on numbers like Big Walter Horton's "Everything's Gonne Be Alright." The sound, recorded on then state-of-the-art equipment at the L.A. Troubadour, is excellent and the performances are as tight as anything ever delivered by the band, in many ways fulfilling the promise of the longer numbers represented on their earlier studio albums. The original double LP is still worth finding for vinyl enthusiasts. [In 2004, an expanded edition of the album was released on CD by Rhino Handmade with an additional 70 minutes of music on it.] © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Rhino - Elektra

An Anthology -- The Elektra Years is a double-disc, 33-song set that offers a comprehensive overview of Paul Butterfield's eight years with the label. His first two albums, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and East-West, were seminal, groundbreaking records that blurred the boundaries between blues, jazz and rock, suggesting everything from blues-rock to psychedelia. They were stunning achievements which proved difficult to match, but Butterfield's remaining albums for the label all had a few good cuts. An Anthology does a nice job of rounding up those highlights, picking the best moments from uneven records; consequently, it's quite a valuable package for listeners who simply want a sampling from those later albums instead of purchasing them individually. Butterfield's first two albums remain necessary listens in their own right, but this set offers an excellent summary of his entire stint with Elektra. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 19, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

The raw immediacy and tight instrumental attack of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's self-titled debut album were startling and impressive in 1965, but the following year, the group significantly upped the ante with its second LP, East-West. The debut showed that Butterfield and his bandmates could cut tough, authentic blues (not a given for an integrated band during the era in which fans were still debating if a white boy could play the blues) with the energy of rock & roll, but East-West was a far more ambitious set, with the band showing an effective command of jazz, Indian raga, and garagey proto-psychedelia as well as razor-sharp electric blues. Butterfield was the frontman, and his harp work was fierce and potent, but the core of the band was the dueling guitar work of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, especially Bloomfield's ferocious, acrobatic solos, while Mark Naftalin's keyboards added welcome washes of melodic color, and the rhythm section of bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Billy Davenport were capable of both the rock-solid support of veteran blues players and the more flexible and artful pulse of a jazz combo, rising and relaxing with the dynamics of a performance. The Butterfield Blues Band sounded muscular and exciting on classic blues workouts like "Walkin' Blues," "Two Trains Running," and "I Got a Mind to Give Up Living," but the highlights came when the band pushed into new territory, such as the taut New Orleans proto-funk of "Get Out of My Life, Woman," the buzzy and mildly trippy "Mary, Mary," and especially two lengthy instrumental workouts, the free-flowing jazz of Nat Adderley's "Work Song" and the title track, a fiery mix of blues, psychedelia, Indian musical patterns, and several other stops in between, with Butterfield, Bloomfield, and Bishop blowing for all their worth. East-West would prove to be a pivotal album in the new blues-rock movement, and it was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's greatest achievement; Bloomfield would be gone by the time they cut their next LP to form the Electric Flag, and as good as Bishop was, losing the thrust and parry between the two guitarists was a major blow. But East-West captures a great group in high flight as the bandmembers join together in something even more remarkable than their estimable skills as individuals would suggest, and its importance as a nexus point between rock, blues, jazz, and world music cannot be overestimated. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Blues - Released March 21, 2006 | Rhino

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Pop - Released June 26, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

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Blues - Released March 21, 2006 | Rhino