Mill Valley Bunch (Mike Bloomfield & Nick Gravenites) – Casting Pearls (1972)

FrontCover1In 1972 a group of American musicians united by friendship & a common passion for good music (blues, in particular), came together in Mill Valley to give life to these amazing jam sessions … a typical early 70s set by Bloomfield and assorted friends:

Mike Bloomfield performs here with some of his long-time collaborators, including Mark Naftalin and Barry Goldberg, as well as some stellar Bay Area soul and rock artists such as the Pointer Sisters and Spencer Dryden. The music sometimes sounds a lot like a cross between his first solo effort, the disappointing “It’s Not Killing Me,” and the also disappointing re-grouped Electric Flag’s “The Band Kept Playing.” Some of the songs on this album, however, plainly out-rock those other efforts, making this a worthwhile listen. Probably the weakest part of the album are the vocals by the men singers, especially Bloomfield. Too bad Jellyroll Troy wasn’t along on this one! (by Rex Chickeneater)

Mike Bloomfield01
This album’s got it all! Blues, R&B, Country, Gospel, Blues-Rock, and Ballads are all featured here. I bought this cd on a whim and the music floored me – though it took a few listens to fully appreciate it.

While Michael Bloomfield seems to be the creative force throughout, as well as, the glue that makes the concept work, there are many notable musicians featured here: Nick Gravenites, Barry Goldberg, Michael Shrieve, Lee Michaels, Mark Naftalin, John Kahn, The Ace of Cups, and The Pointer Sisters, among many others – though its hard to tell who is playing and singing when, as the individual songs are uncredited. The song writing on this album is exceptional, the singing is awesome, and the musicianship, which features a wailing (unlike much of his later stuff) electric guitar from Mike Bloomfield, is great.

Mike Bloomfield02

This is truely energetic and inspired music. It’s hard to believe these various musicians, many of whom didn’t normally play together, just threw these songs together in the studio. It’s also hard to understand why this album is so obscure.

Its difficult to describe this eclectic compilation, it’s that unique. If you like what I was able to put into words, buy this cd, I doubt you will be disappointed. (by Dire Wolf)

In other words: A San Francisco Super Session !!!

Alternate frontcovers:
AlternateFrontCovers

Personnel:
Dino Andino (percussion)
Mike Bloomfield (guitar, vocals, bass, piano)
Ron Cimille (guitar)
Russel Dashiel (guitar, vocals)
Rick Dey (bass, guitar, vocals)
Spencer Dryden (drums)
Barry Goldberg (piano)
Nick Gravenites (guitar, vocals)
Rich Jagger (drums)
Jeffrey James (drums)
Jeanette Jones (vocals)
John Kahn (bass, piano)
Ira Kamin (keyboards)
Lee Michaels (keyboards)
Mark Naftalin (keyboards)
Fred Olsen (guitar)
Tom Richards (guitar)
Mark Ryan (bass)
Michael Shrieve (drums)
Ron “Rev” Stallings (vocals)
Craig Tarwater (guitar)
Chicken Billy Thorton (vocals),
Bill Vitt (drums)
+
background vocals:
The Ace Of Cups – The Pointer Sisters

Booklet01+02
Tracklist:
01. Honky-Tonk Blues (Williams) 2.02
02. Betty & Dupree (Bloomfield) 3.40
04. Ooh-Ooh-Ooh,La,La,La (Bloomfield) 3.24
05. Run For Cover (Dey) 3.36
06 What Would I Do Without My Baby (Bloomfield) 5.23
07. Mellow Mountain Wine (Bloomfield) 4.49
08. Let Me Down Easy (Bloomfield) 6.32
09. Jimmy’s Blues (Bloomfield) 2.59
10. Young Girl’s Blues (Bloomfield) 3.46
11. Letting Go Ain’t Easy (Bonura/Ceroni) 4.23
12. Bye Bye , I’m Goin’ (Bloomfield) 2.20
13. Bells Are Going To Ring  (Gravenites) 3.59
14. I’ve Had It (Bloomfield) 3.33
15. Bedroom Blues (Gravenites) 7.14
16. Your Hollywood Blues (Bloomfield)
17. Go Home Blues (Gravenites) 5.05

LabelB1

*
**

More Mike Bloomfield:
MoreBloomfield

More Nick Gravenites:
MoreGravenites

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.