Chicken Shack – Imagination Lady (1972)

FrontCover1Imagination Lady is the fifth studio album by the blues band Chicken Shack, released in 1972 on the Deram record Label.

Imagination Lady is much in the same tradition as the great British bluesmen Alexis Korner and John Mayall, Webb’s revolving-door personnel landed the band several notable members, including: John Almond (tenor/alto sax), Hughie Flint (drums), and Christine Perfect (keyboards/vocals). For this album, Webb (guitar/vocals) gathered a trio consisting of himself, future Gods and Jethro Tull member John Glascock (bass), and Paul Hancox (drums). Enthusiasts of the more traditional 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve and OK Ken albums have been quick to dismiss the latter-era band, often citing the whole over amplified power metal trip as detracting from their blues origins.

While certainly valid assessments, the power trio featured on Imagination Lady brings more than sheer volume to this release. As with the previous Chicken Shack long-players, this disc features several Webb originals augmented with some well-chosen cover tunes. The album opens with a ferocious cover of B.B. King’s “Crying Won’t Help You.” This version is highlighted by Glascock’s thrashing basslines and Webb’s wah-wah driven lead guitar and gin-soaked vocals. In a style akin to the Faces or even some of the rowdier moments from the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac, this trio grinds out the blues with a decidedly English edge. The folkie “If I Were a Carpenter” is speared with searing electric guitar leads that rip throughout the likewise spirited contributions from Glascock and Hancox. The tune is also afforded an unexpected sensitivity that contrasts well between the all-out sonic onslaught of the chorus and the restrained polyrhythms of the verses. In regards to original material, “Daughter of the Hillside” is without a doubt Webb’s most impressive contribution to the album. It is arguably the strongest side on the disc. This straight-ahead rocker is an ideal trio effort with equal contributions from all three recalling the intense instrumentality of Cream or early Led Zeppelin. With so much potential, it’s unfortunate that the 11-minute epic “Telling Your Fortune” — which is nothing more than a 12-bar blues platform for solos from Webb and Hancox — is so erratic. In an ironic contrast, the closing number “The Loser” is upbeat and almost pop-oriented, again displaying the immense strength of this short-lived incarnation of Chicken Shack. (by Lindsay Planer)

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Chicken Shack were chief beneficiaries of the 1968 Brit blues boom, but the sales graph was flatlining by the time of 1972’s Imagination Lady. Shame, really: some of us will strip to the waist, grease up and wrestle for the right to proclaim it the worthiest thing they ever did. Wildcard guitarist and sole constant Stan Webb had commandeered drummer Paul Hancox and bassist John Glascock to create a brawny blues-rock trio with the pedal constantly to the metal – and the transfusion of new blood duly created a rampaging ogre.

Listen to them, positively steaming in with Crying Won’t Help You Now: lack of blues feel is more than compensated for with unruly, unpolished, first-take excitement. Hancox in particular – recommended by John Bonham – is a flailing Tasmanian devil in the Philthy Animal Taylor mould. The insane phased drum solo in Telling Your Fortune perhaps indulges the man a tad too far – but you try stopping him.
Thrillingly, the band lunge at If I Were A Carpenter like pub drunks: it’s a Vanilla Fudge-style, taste-free disembowelment, and all the better for it. Truthfully, Imagination Lady is closer in spirit and execution to May Blitz than Fleetwood Mac, in the grand tradition of fractious, E-major wah-wah sludge-rock. (by record collector)

For me is this album a masterpiece of heavy blues rock !

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Personnel:
John Glascock (bass)
Paul Hancox (drums)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Crying Won’t Help You Now (King) 5.10
02. Daughter Of The Hillside (Webb) 3.53
03. If I Were A Carpenter (Hardin) 6.35
04. Going Down (Nix) 3.33
05. Poor Boy (Webb) 5.11
06. Telling Your Fortune (Webb) 11.11
07. The Loser (Webb) 2.32

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Alexander’s Timeless Bloozband – Same (1967)

FrontCover1The information about the band is rather scarce, various sources mention Charles Lamont, Carl Lockhart and Larry Marks as founders, although, when they recorded their self-titled debut LP (1967) for private label “Smack”, they were five.

Their debut album (rather raw, “home-made” sounding) featured classic “Killing Floor” and unusual instrumental version of “My Favourite Things” (from 1959 musical “The Sounds Of Music”) (by Golovanov Alexey)

I guess, this is one of the rarest psychedelic blues Album ever … and I will  dedicate this entry to all These unknown bands from this period of music …  it was not the worst period of music … really not !

Recorded Live At The Brother’s Gallery in Goleta – August 1967

Alexander's Timeless Bloozband

Personnel:
Spencer Conway (drums)
Dennis Geaney (guitar, bass)
Charles Lamont (Keyboards, bass, guitar, french horn, harmonica, vocals)
Reed Lockhart (saxphone, keyboards, vocals)
Larry Marks (harmonica, trombone, vocals)

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Tracklist: 
01. Help Me (Williamson/Bass) 5.27
02. Killing Floor (Burnett) 3.02
03. Guitar Song (Lamont) 2.46
04. Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein) 5.13
05. Sloopy Drunk (Rogers) 4.09
06. #1 (unknown) 4.57
07. Swannoa Tunnel (unkown) 4.19
08. Sweet Little Angel  (King/Taub) 2.37

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Rory Gallagher – Live In Europe (1972)

frontcover1Live in Europe is the third album by Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher, released in 1972. It is a series of live recordings made by Gallagher during his European tour. Unusual for a live album it contains only two previously released songs (“Laundromat” and “In Your Town”). All the other songs are either new Gallagher songs or Gallagher’s interpretation of traditional blues songs.

Live in Europe was released at the end of the British “blues boom” that began in the 1960s. Sparked by bands such as the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, and Cream fans and musicians were fascinated by authentic Chicago blues artists such as Muddy Waters. Gallagher had an extensive knowledge of this kind of music. Although he tended to play down arguments about what was “pure” blues. In an interview at the time he said:

“If there was one fault with the boom in the 1960s, it was that it was very straight-faced and very pontificatory, or whatever the word is. It used to annoy me that there was an attitude of ‘Thou shalt not play the blues unless you know who played second acoustic guitar behind Sonny Boy Williamson the first on the B-side of whatever.’ That kind of thing gets music nowhere, it’s like collecting stamps. I mean, I buy books on the blues and I check out the B-sides and I know who plays on what records and that’s fine. But then you’ve got to open that up to the rest of the people. Because that kind of snobbery defeats the purpose; it kills the music.”

Rather than live versions of his most popular songs there are only two songs on the album that were previously recorded by Gallagher in the studio, “Laundromat” from his first album and “In Your Town” from his Deuce album. All the other songs are Gallagher’s versions of classic blues songs. The album starts with what was to become a signature song for Gallagher, Junior Wells’ “Messin’ With the Kid”. The song “I Could’ve Had Religion” was Gallagher’s salute to what he called the “redemption style blues” of the Robert Wilkins and Gary Davis. After hearing the song on this album Bob Dylan expressed interest in recording it and assumed it was a traditional blues number rather than an original song by Gallagher.

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Blind Boy Fuller’s “Pistol Slapper Blues” is next. Gallagher then shows his versatility, swapping his Stratocaster for a mandolin and performing the song “Going to My Home Town” with the audience stomping their feet and cheering in response as Gallagher sings “do you want to go?”. The finale is the straight ahead hard rocking “Bullfrog Blues” written by William Harris. Gallagher switches back to the electric guitar and the full band and gives bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummer Wilgar Campbell, a chance to solo. With the CD release two additional blues songs were added: “What in the World” and “Hoodoo Man”.

Most critics agree that Live in Europe is one of Gallagher’s finest albums. It was his highest charting album to date reaching 101 in the Billboard 200 for 1972. The album was his first major commercial success and provided his first solo top ten album. It won him his first Gold Disc. In the same year of 1972 he was Melody Maker’s Guitarist/Musician of the Year, winning out over Eric Clapton.

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The live album Live in Europe/Stage Struck captures Rory Gallagher at his finest, as he tears his way through many of his very best songs. Though the performance quality is a little uneven, there are gems scattered throughout the record, including smoking versions of “Messin’ with the Kid” and “Laundromat.” (by Thom Owens)

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Personnel:
Wilgar Campbell (drums)
Rory Gallagher (guitar, harmonica, mandolin, vocals)
Gerry McAvoy (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Messin’ With The Kid (Wells) 6.25
02. Laundromat (Gallagher) 5.12
03. I Could’ve Had Religion (Traditional) 8.35
04. Pistol Slapper Blues (Fuller) 2.54
05. Going To My Hometown (Traditional) 5.46
06. In Your Town (Gallagher) 10.03
07. Bullfrog Blues (Traditional) 6.47
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08. What In The World (Traditional) 7.40
09. Hoodoo Man (Traditional) 6.02

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Hot Tuna – Double Dose (1978)

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Double Dose was the eighth album by the American blues rock band Hot Tuna, and their third live album. The album was originally released as a double-LP as Grunt CYL2-2545. After their 1977 tour, Jorma Kaukonen moved on to a solo career and Jack Casady joined the new wave band SVT. Hot Tuna would not perform together again until 1983. The album had its highest peak at #92 on the Billboard charts. (by wikipedia)

Hot Tuna, then a quartet with the official addition of keyboardist Nick Buck, released this two-LP live album, its first concert material in seven years, and having thus summed things up, broke up as the album hit record stores. Double Dose gave a good sense of mature Hot Tuna as a vehicle for the musical interests of Jorma Kaukonen, who used the entire first side as an acoustic solo set, then included the excellent “Genesis” from his solo album Quah on side B. Elsewhere, the electrified group alternated between Kaukonen’s best Hot Tuna compositions and blues and rock standards. It was produced by Felix Pappalardi (Cream, Mountain), who gave Hot Tuna its best recorded sound; even though it’s a “live” record, there seems to have been a lot of studio overdubbing. (by William Ruhlmann)

This is a damn hot blues-rock power album !

Recorded live by Wally Heider Recording at Theatre 1839, San Francisco
Additional recording at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco

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Personnel:
Jack Casady (bass)
Jorma Kaukonen (vocals, guitar)
Bob Steeler (drums)
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Nick Buck (keyboards, background vocals on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Winin’ Boy Blues (Morton) 5.57
02. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Davis) 3.08
03. Embryonic Journey (Kaukonen) 1.56
04. Killing Time In The Crystal City (Kaukonen) 6.35
05. I Wish You Would (Arnold) 4.20
06. Genesis (Kaukonen) 4.16
07. Extrication Love Song (Kaukonen) 4.26
08. Talking ‘Bout You (Berry) 5.34
09. Funky #7 (Kaukonen/Casady) 8.49
10. Serpent Of Dreams (Kaukonen) 6.43
11. Bowlegged Woman, Knock Kneed Man (Rush/Carter) 4.51
12. I See The Light (Kaukonen) 5.49
13. Watch The North Wind Rise (Kaukonen) 4.58
14. Sunrise Dance With The Devil (Kaukonen) 5.38
15. I Can’t Be Satisfied (Morganfield) 4.58

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Savoy Brown – Live At The Bottom Line, New York (1976)

SavoyBrownFrontCover1This is another Savoy Brown bootleg … from a period which was a very good period fpr Savoy Brown, because the musical partnership between Kim Simmonds and Paul Raymond was a very good one.

Paul Raymond  left Chicken Shack and both Andy Silvester and Dave Bidwell followed on shortly afterwards to join him in blues band Savoy Brown filling the gap left by former members Dave Peverett, Tony Stevens and Roger Earl who had deserted guitarist Kim Simmonds to form the band Foghat.  His tenure with Savoy Brown lasted from 1971-1976 encompassing 6 albums, including Street Corner Talking and Hellbound Train. During this period of relentless tour schedules and various line-up changes the band enjoyed major success in the USA, breaking into the Billboard Top 100 and playing prestigious venues such as Madison Square Garden.

This is a show to promote the great Skin & Bone album … and it´s a probably one of the finest Savoy Brown bootlegs ever recorded … an excellent radio show !

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Personnel:
Ian Ellis (bass, background vocals)
Tom Farnell (drums)
Raul Raymond (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Kim Simmonds (guitar, vocals, harmonica)

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 Alternate frontcover

Tracklist:
01. Part Time Lady (Raymond/Simmonds) 08.01
02. Get On Up And Do It (Raymond/Simmonds) 4.03
03. Hero To Zero (Raymond/Simmonds) 9.44
04. Walkin’ And Talkin’ (Raymond/Simmonds) 16.37
05. Memory Pain (Mayfield) 7.55
06. She’s The One  (Ballard) 4.20
07. Hellbound Train (Simmonds/Silvester) 16.48
08. Tell Mama (Raymond/Simmonds) 6.51

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Another alternate frontcover

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Brian May & Friends – Star Fleet Project (1983)

FrontCover1Star Fleet Project is a project of Brian May, most famous as the guitarist from Queen, which resulted in an album with the same name. The project was released as the work of “Brian May + Friends”, consisting of May, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alan Gratzer (of REO Speedwagon), Phil Chen (session bassist who played with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart), and Fred Mandel (session keyboard player who also played as additional keyboard player on Queen’s Hot Space World Tour and The Works). Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer, provided backing vocals for the title song. It was not meant for the tapes to be released and they had minimal mixing before release.

“I could have put away these tapes in a bottom drawer and kept them as a private record of one of the best experiences of my life. But the few people I’ve played them for have urged me to ‘publish’…I haven’t messed one scrap with the tracking done on the day. The rest is simply mixed ‘naked’.” (Brian May)

Recorded on 21 and 22 April 1983 at the Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, California, it was released in October of the same year as a Mini-LP, a “challenge to the established principle that a piece of rock music must fit into either a 2×4 minute single, or a 2×20 minute LP format”. The LP consisted of three songs: “Star Fleet”, “Let Me Out”, and “Blues Breaker”.

The idea for the album came from May’s son, Jimmy.

“Star Fleet is the theme tune for a superb TV sci-fi series broadcast in England for kids of all ages; Japanese visuals and British soundtrack including music by Paul Bliss. The heroes pilot space vehicles which can assemble into a giant robot for land battles. The aliens fly fantastic insect-like craft which spawn smaller fighting machines; all intent on possession of the secret of F Zero One. Having been introduced to all this by my small boy, I became equally obsessed by it, and formed the idea of making a hard rock version of the title theme.” (Brian May)

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“Let Me Out” was an old Brian May song which until that point had not been committed to record. During the song Eddie Van Halen “tortures his top string to its audible death” (according to May’s liner notes) and plays the rest of the song on the remaining five.

“Blues Breaker” was dedicated to Eric Clapton, of whom both Van Halen and May were huge fans. This song, as well as “Let Me Out” were more spontaneous than “Star Fleet”, showing both guitarists enjoying a jamming session, with Brian showing off his signature sound and Van Halen using his tapping technique to great effect (although the best example of this is at the beginning of “Star Fleet”). (by wikipedia)

This near-legendary mini-album is probably infamous for the wrong reasons.  Ask a friend if they’ve heard this record.  If they haven’t, they may respond, “But that’s the one with Eddie Van Halen, right?  And they did that song for Clapton, and he hated it, right?”  That’s how the story goes anyway.

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Single release

The fact is that Star Fleet Project is actually really good, and so is “Blues Breaker (Dedicated to E.C.)”.  And yes, this is one of Eddie Van Halen’s rare cameos outside his eponymous band.  I am a fan of both Queen and Van Halen, but my love of Van Halen trumps my love of Queen.  As a Van Halen fan, it is really exciting to hear Eddie playing outside his band’s box.  On a technical level, I don’t know exactly how Eddie is torturing his guitar strings, but I sure love the sounds that come out of it.  I’m hearing Eddie at what many people consider to be his creative peak.  This is the era of 1984, “Jump”, and “Beat It”, considered by many to be the greatest guitar solo of the decade.  It’s sheer nirvana to hear Eddie tapping over Brian May’s trademark guitar sound.  It’s two things you never pictured together.  Once you hear them together, it’s like Reece’s peanut butter cups!

Eddie throws every trick he has into the bag.  Tapping, squeals and eruptions, it’s all here.  As for Brian, he does double duty on lead vocals as well, on two tracks:  “Star Fleet” and “Let Me Out”.  “Star Fleet” (8 minutes in its album incarnation) is a theme song that Brian covered, from a Japanese show that his son was a fan of.  It’s the most commercial of the songs, but I have to say I love it.  The chorus isn’t the best, but the guitar playing blows my mind every single time.

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Queen fans may enjoy the piano blues “Let Me Out” best, as it sounds like it would have fit right in on News of the World.  I can imagine Freddie putting his spin on it quite easily.  Brian takes the first solo, but next time he says “Help me, Edward!” and it’s Van Halen playing the blues.  You don’t get this on Van Halen albums.  Brian and Ed alternate, and then Eddie blazes the fretboard shredder style.  To hear these two guys going back and forth over a blues progression is such a monumental moment.

The final track (and all of side 2) is the infamous “Blues Breaker”.  I’m not sure what E.C. didn’t like about it (I’ll just assume he was too humble to accept such flattery).  You don’t get to hear Eddie Van Halen nor Brian May jamming very often.  This is the second such jam, and this one well over the 12 minute mark!  You’ll wonder where the time went.  As an admirer of both guitarists, I’m constantly in a state of anticipation for what they will play next. The backing band are not slouches either: Alan Gratzer – drums, Phil Chen – bass guitar, Fred Mandel – keyboards.  They captured this stuff mostly live off the floor, and that’s the way the record sounds. (by mikeladano.com)

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Personnel:
Phil Chen (bass)
Alan Gratzer (drums)
Edward van Halen (guitar)
Fred Mandel (keyboards)
Brian May (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Star Fleet (Bliss) 8.11
02. Let Me Out (May) 7.18
03. Blues Breaker (Gratzer/May/v.Halen/Mandel/Chen) 12.54
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04. Starfleet (single US edit) (Bliss) 3.07
05. Son Of Starfleet (single B-side) (May) 4.33

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LinerNotesliner notes

Paul Butterfield Band – Rockpalast 1978 (2010)

PaulButterfieldFrontCover1Long 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”.

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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)

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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

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Personnel:
Peter Atanasoff (guitar)
Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica)
Ernest Carter (drums)
Buzzy Feiten (guitar)
Bobby Vega (bass)

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Tracklist:

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

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Equipment

Paul´s equipment