Long before Blues Traveller, there was this band called The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, led by the vocal & harmonica talents of Paul Butterfield. Many aspiring blues and rock musicians passed through Butterfield’s band throughout the 1960’s & 1970’s and went on to greater fame, Mike Bloomfield being one of the most famous. Here on this 1978 concert DVD, recorded for the Rockpalast German TV show in Essen at the Grugahalle, Butterfield and his ‘non’ blues band rip it up on an all too short 45 minute set that incorporates blues and funk into a hard rockin’ set of covers and originals.
Many great guitar players have made their way through the ranks of Butterfield’s bands over the years, and this show is no exception. Hot shot player Buzz Feiten and 19 year old phenom Peter Atanasoff are the guitar duo for this show, and they lay down plenty of mean licks and wild solos. Feiten should be a stranger to no one, as he’s appeared as a session man for virtually everyone in rock, pop, jazz, and R&B over the last 40 years, as well as leading his own ensembles and creating a new tuning system for guitar players. His commanding riffs and fiery solos are all over the place here, injecting plenty of rock and fusion firepower into tunes like “Fair Enough”, ‘Goin’ Down”, “Born Under Bad Sign”, and the scorching extended wah-wah break on “Fool In Love”, perhaps one of the best wah-wah solos you’ll ever hear. Though most of this is pretty rocking stuff, the band do share a tender moment with the audience on the classic “Just When I Needed You Most”, with Butterfield adding a great vocal. For fans of wild jams, wait till you see Butterfield, Feiten, and Atanasoff dueling it out on some fiery guitar & harmonica exchanges on the raucous “Be Good to Yourself”.
Much like what John Mayall did throughout the 60’s, introducing talented young players to the world through his music, Butterfield basically did the same with his band. It’s a shame Paul passed away a decade after this show was recorded, as we all probably missed out on more hot young blues and rock players that he surely would have found to help flash out his vision. If you’ve never experienced the skills of Buzz Feiten, give this a watch and prepare to be amazed.
This is blues rock of the highest order folks, with some of the most scorching guitar licks you are ever going to hear. Check it out. (by Pete Pardo)
Paul Butterfield certainly had his demons. He abused alcohol, he became addicted to heroin, and he suffered from bouts of severe depression — all of which eventually made him less productive than he could have been. Butterfield wasn’t as visible or as consistent in the late ’70s as he had been in the 1960s, but even so, the singer/harmonica player had some creative triumphs during that period — and Butterfield is in very good form on this 68-minute CD, which focuses on a September 15, 1978 concert at the Grugahalle in Essen, Germany. Although Butterfield had both physical and emotional problems in 1978, he rises to the occasion during an inspired and diverse set that includes a lot of blues-rock but doesn’t focus on blues-rock exclusively. Butterfield shines as a blues-rocker on “New Walking Blues,” “One More Heartache,” “Goin’ Down,” and the Albert King-associated “Born Under a Bad Sign,” but he favors more of a hard rock/arena rock outlook on “Fool in Love” and “It’s Alright” — and there are major soul leanings on “Be Good to Yourself.” Meanwhile, “Just When I Needed You the Most” is the closest the CD comes to pop/rock. Butterfield leads a rock-solid lineup in Essen, employing Peter Atanasoff and Buzzy Feiten on guitar, Bobby Vega on bass, and Ernest Carter on drums; this isn’t the most famous lineup of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but it’s a respectable lineup — one that obviously appreciates Butterfield’s versatility and has no problem handling a variety of songs. Although it falls short of essential and isn’t recommended to casual listeners, this CD is a pleasing document of Butterfield’s Essen performance. (by Alex Henderson)
This is one of the best live recordings by Paul Butterfield !
Recorded live at the 3rd Rockpalast night on September 15/16, 1978
at the Grugahalle, Essen, Germany
Peter Atanasoff (guitar)
Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica)
Ernest Carter (drums)
Buzzy Feiten (guitar)
Bobby Vega (bass)
01. Rockpalast Intro 0.29
02. Fair Enough (unknown) 4.51
03. One More Heartache (Moore/Robinson/Rogers/Tarplin/White) 4.14
04. Fool In Love (unknown) 5.30
05. New Walking Blues (Johnson) 5.28
06. It’s Alright (Butterfield) 5.17
07. Goin’ Down (Nix) 5.25
08. Born Under A Bad Sign (Jones/Bell) 3.50
09. Just When I Needed You Most (v.Warmer/Wilson) 5.06
10. Be Good To Yourself (Fraser) 10.10
11. Interview (with Alan Bangs) 13.24