Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Same (1965)

frontcover1The Paul Butterfield Blues Band is the debut album by Paul Butterfield, released in 1965 on Elektra Records, EKS 7294 in stereo, EKL 294 in mono. It peaked at #123 on the Billboard pop albums chart. In 2003, the album was ranked number 476 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, moving up to number 468 in the revised 2012 list, and also is ranked at #11 on Down Beat magazine’s list of the top 50 blues albums.

In late 1964, a friend of Elektra house producer Paul Rothchild told him that the “best band in the world was on stage at a blues bar in Chicago.” Rothchild took a plane to Chicago to see the Butterfield quartet, and later the same night went to a different club and saw guitarist Mike Bloomfield with a different band. According to Rothchild, it was at his impetus that Paul Butterfield hired Bloomfield as his second guitar alongside Elvin Bishop. The Butterfield rhythm section of Jerome Arnold and Sam Lay had been hired away from Howlin’ Wolf.

Sessions were arranged for December, 1964, but these were abandoned for live recordings from the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City after the band’s appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. The earlier studio recordings were eventually released on The Original Lost Elektra Sessions in 1995. Upon hearing the live tapes, Rothchild still remained dissatisfied, and the band went into the studio in September 1965 in an attempt to record the album for the third time. The guitar solos were all played by Bloomfield, Bishop relegated to rhythm guitar. Keyboardist Mark Naftalin was drafted in at the September sessions and asked to join the band by Butterfield, expanding it to a sextet.

The album presents band originals and songs in the style of electric Chicago blues. It is one of the first blues albums recorded in America featuring a white singer,[citation needed] trailing a few years behind the British blues movement where white singers and musicians had been performing and recording blues since the 1950s.

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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. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Jerome Arnold (bass)
Elvin Bishop (guitar)
Mike Bloomfield (guitar)
Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica)
Sam Lay (drums, vocals on 05.)
Mark Naftalin (organ)

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Tracklist:
01. Born In Chicago (Gravenites) 2.55
02. Shake Your Money-Maker ( James) 2.27
03. Blues With A Feeling (Jacobs) 4.20
04. Thank You Mr. Poobah (Bloomfield/Butterfield/Naftalin) 4.05
05. Got My Mojo Working (Morganfield) 3.30
06. Mellow Down Easy (Dixon) 2.48
07. Screamin’ (instrumental) (Bloomfield) 4.30
08. Our Love Is Drifting (Butterfield/Bishop) 3.25
09. Mystery Train (Parker/Phillips) 2.45
10. Last Night (Jacobs) 4.15
11. Look Over Yonders Wall (Clark) 2.23

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*
**

I was born in Chicago at nineteen and forty-one
I was born in Chicago at nineteen and forty-one
Well, my father told me
“Son, you had better get a gun”

Well, my first friend went down
When I was seventeen years old
Well, my first friend went down
When I was seventeen years old

Well, there’s one thing I can say about that boy
He gotta go

Well, my second friend went down
When I was twenty one years of age
Well, my second friend went down
When I was twenty one years of age

Well, there’s one thing I can say about that boy
He gotta pray

Well, now rules are alright
If there’s someone left to play the game
Well, now rules are alright
If there’s someone left to play the game

All my friends are going
And thing’s just don’t seem the same
Oh, thing’s just don’t seem the same, babe

Written by Nicholas George Gravenites

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