The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (album)

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Released October 1965
Recorded September 1965
Genre Electric blues, blues rock, Chicago blues
Length 38:15
Label Elektra
Producer Paul Rothchild with Mark Abramson

The 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. On October 29, 2001, a reissue of this album remastered by Bob Irwin at Sundazed Studios and coupled with East-West appeared on Rhino WEA UK for the European market.

Track listing

Side one

1. “Born in Chicago” Nick Gravenites 2:55
2. “Shake Your Money-Maker” Elmore James 2:27
3. “Blues with a Feeling” Walter Jacobs 4:20
4. “Thank You Mr. Poobah” (instrumental) Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Mark Naftalin 4:05
5. “Got My Mojo Working” Muddy Waters 3:30
6. “Mellow Down Easy” Willie Dixon 2:48

Side two

7. “Screamin'” (instrumental) Mike Bloomfield 4:30
8. “Our Love Is Drifting” Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop 3:25
9. “Mystery Train” Junior Parker, Sam Phillips 2:45
10. “Last Night” Walter Jacobs 4:15
11. “Look Over Yonders Wall” James Clark 2:23
Paul Butterfield – lead vocals (all but 5), harmonica
Mike Bloomfield – guitars
Elvin Bishop – guitars
Mark Naftalin – organ (3, 4, 7-10)
Jerome Arnold – bass
Sam Lay – drums, lead vocals (5)