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Michael Bloomfield An American Guitarist Mike Bloomfield

1958-1965 1966-1967 1968-1969 1970-1974 1975-1978 1979-1981 

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Discography & Performance History

1958–1965

MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD is born on July 28, 1943 in Chicago, IL. He receives his first guitar, a 3/4-size Harmony, at age 11 or 12. For his bar mitzvah, at 13, he is given a transistor radio which allows him to tune into gospel and blues broadcasts locally on WVON and over WDIA out of Memphis, among others. Bloomfield meets Josh White at the Gate of Horn, and then, at 14, begins to visit blues clubs on the south side with the help of his and friends’ black maids. He sits in with Muddy Waters and others, and plays his first professional gigs at age 15.

1958


*HAYDEN THOMPSON

Thompson, p, v; Michael Bloomfield, g; others unknown.

Tally Ho Club, Highwood, IL: 1958

 

Unknown titles                                   Live performances

 

Thompson was a “Jerry Lee Lewis imitator” who had recorded for Sun Records in 1953. These were Bloomfield’s first professional performances. 

                                                                        

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g; Jim Schwall, hca; Roy Ruby, b; probably Vince Vidi, p; Bob Greenspan, g; Jerry Pasternak, d.

Chicago, IL: 1958(?)

Hurricane                                            Self-produced recording

*VINCE VIDI & THEM

Personnel as above.

PG’s Club 7, Highwood, IL; 1958

 

Unknown titles                                   Live performances

 

1959



*MR. LONELY & THE TWISTERS
Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Michael Melford, g; others unknown.
New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL; 1959(?)

Unknown titles                                     Live performances

Michael Melford reports that he and Bloomfield had an R&B group that played for high school dances. They were attending New Trier on Chicago’s North Shore at the time.

 

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g; Bill Spence or Horace Cathcart, v; Bob Greenspan, g; Roy Ruby, b; Jerry Pasternak, d.

Dance parties, Spanish Village, Wilmette, IL; 1959-60

Unknown titles                                   Live performance

High schoolers would organize beer parties at this abandoned venue – also called the "Ruins" – and Bloomfield and his friends would provide the music. Cathcart was a black soul singer. Thanks to Fred Glaser for this information.

1960


*JAM SESSION

Walter Jacobs, hca, v; Chuck Berry, g, v; Michael Bloomfield, g; Sunnyland Slim, p; unknown, b; Sam Lay, d.

Pride & Joy Club, Chicago, IL; 1960(?)

Unknown titles                                   Live performance

This is only one of numerous sessions that Bloomfield is reported to have taken part in as a teenager on the south side of Chicago. It’s listed here as an example of the sort of musical company he was keeping in his early years.

1961-63


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g.

Chicago, IL; various dates, 1961-63

Unknown titles                                     Recordings made by Norman Dayron

AFTER playing electric guitar for most of his teen years, in 1961 Bloomfield concentrates almost exclusively on acoustic technique, learning a variety of folk blues, bluegrass and country styles. He collects rare records by artists like Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, and other country artists as well as sides by traditional blues players. He spends two years listening and picking up their styles.

1962


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, v.

University of Chicago Folk Festival, Chicago, IL: January 1962(?)

Unknown titles                                     Live performance

According to Fred Glaser, Bloomfield played acoustic guitar at several U. of C. folk fests, probably in 1962 and 1963.

 

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Fred Glaser, hca; (?) Logan, d; others, including a sax player, unknown.

The Sink, Boulder, CO; Summer 1962

 

Limbo Rock                                        Live performances

Other unknown titles

 

*JUDY COLLINS

Collins, v, g; Michael Bloomfield, g.

Unknown coffee house, Denver, CO; Summer 1962

Unknown titles                                   Live performances

Bloomfield and Fred Glaser spent three or four weeks bumming around Colorado in the summer of 1962. They formed a band to play at The Sink in Boulder and Bloomfield sat in with folksinger Collins several times in Denver. Thanks to Fred Glaser for some of this information.

*WESTWIND SINGERS
Don Wilson, v, g; Michael Bloomfield, g, v, hca; Mike Horn, Gus Fleming, v.
Chicago, IL; 1962 or 1963

San Francisco Bay Blues                 Balkan CD-1007
Swing Down Chariot
I Can’t Get ‘Nuff Your Love
(MB, v, hca)
The Monkey and the Engineer

This recording was discovered by Peggy McVickar in February 2007. Discographer René Aagaard believes it to be from an audition tape, made probably in 1962 or ’63. Its issue on this folk compendium CD makes it the earliest available Bloomfield recording. Don Wilson later formed a graphic arts company with photographer Peter Amft and did album cover illustrations for Bloomfield and many others. Wilson and Mike Horn also had a Simon & Grafunkel-like duo around this time called Michael, Don & Nobody. Thanks to Joel Harlib for this information.

Bloomfield marries Susan Smith on September 4, 1962 in New Buffalo, Michigan.

1963


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, v.

University of Chicago Folk Festival, Chicago, IL: January 1963(?)

Unknown titles                                     Live performance

*Little Brother Montgomery

Montgomery, v, p; Michael Bloomfield, g.

The Fickle Pickle, Chicago, IL; Early 1963

 

Michigan Water Blues                        “The Best of ...,” Takoma TAKCD-8905-2

Pleadin' Blues

           

*YANK RACHELL

Rachell, v, mand; Hammie Nixon, hca, jug; Sleepy John Estes, Michael Bloomfield, g; Big Joe Williams, g.

Chicago, IL; March 31, 1963

 

Up and Down the Line                        “Mandolin Blues,” Delmark DL-606

Bye Bye Baby                        

Stop Knockin’ on My Door     

Doorbell Blues

When My Baby Comes Back Home

Get Your Morning Exercise   

Bloomfield plays on the above tunes only.

In the SPRING of 1963, Bloomfield, George Mitchell and Pete Welding begin producing Tuesday night blues sessions with Big Joe Williams and other older players at the Fickle Pickle. Norman Dayron records each performance and Michael and his wife, Susan, act as the club's short order cooks. Cass Elliot works there as a waitress. In April Bloomfield meets Bob Dylan when the folksinger performs at Albert Grossman's club The Bear in Chicago.

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
Michael Bloomfield, g, v; probably Roy Ruby, g.
Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL: Spring 1963

Unknown titles                                  
Live performance

Mike Michaels, a Chicago friend and occasional harpist for Bloomfield, recalled seeing Michael play electric guitar around this time at one of the University’s ad-hoc “twist” parties. Mark Naftalin first met Michael at a similar gathering. Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop also frequently performed at these Ida Noyes sessions.


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, v, hca; Roy Ruby, g. 

Old Town Street Fair, Chicago, IL: June 8, 1963

 

Unknown titles                                   Live performance

 

BLOOMFIELD ARRANGES to perform with Big Joe Williams at Big John’s in the summer of 1963, accompanying him on piano while Charlie Musselwhite plays harmonica. After Williams leaves, Bloomfield forms a band in 1964, known as The Group, and begins performing at Big John’s regularly.

 

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
Michael Bloomfield, g, v.
Mother Blues, Chicago, IL: Summer(?) 1963

Unknown titles                                     Live performance

This may have been Bloomfield’s first solo gig. It was arranged by his manager, Joel Harlib, who had to “drag Mike from his apartment in Sandburg Village to the club” to get him to perform. Thanks to Joel Harlib for this information.


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD/RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOT
Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Elliot, g, v.
Private party, Old Town, Chicago, IL; 1963

Unknown titles                                     Live performance

Fred Glaser recalled seeing Bloomfield play with Jack Elliot at a late night party.


*SUNNYLAND SLIM/ST. LOUIS JIMMY
St. Louis Jimmy, v, hca; Slim, v, p; J.B. Lenoir, g, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; John Lee Granderson, v, g; others unknown.
Nina’s Lounge, Chicago, IL; 1963

Brown Skin Woman                             “... Live in ’63,” Fuel 302 061 300 2
J.L.’s Blues
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
That’s All Right


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD/IRA KAMIN/MICHAEL MELFORD
Michael Bloomfield, g, v, hca; Kamin, banjo; Melford, mand.
Fickle Pickle, Chicago, IL: November 22, 1963

Unknown titles                                    
Live performance

Ira Kamin and Michael Melford had a bluegrass trio in which Bloomfield occasionally played guitar. On the night of the day President Kennedy was assassinated, Melford recalled they were on stage at the Fickle Pickle. They also had a booking agent who got them gigs around the Midwest.

1964


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, hca, v.

Norman Dayron’s apartment, Chicago, IL; January 28, 1964

 

Bullet Rag                               Recordings by Norman Dayron, issued with

Kingpin                                    “If You Love These Blues” by Wolkin & Keenom,

J.P. Morgan                             Miller Freeman Books, 2000

Steel Guitar Rag

Steel Guitar Rag, alt. take

Since I Met You Baby

Other unknown titles

 

On “Kingpin” and “Steel Guitar Rag,” Bloomfield overdubbed a second guitar part; "Since I Met You, Baby" has a guitar and harmonica part added.

 

*BIG JOE WILLIAMS

Williams, g, v; Michael Bloomfield, b.

University of Chicago Folk Festival, Chicago, IL: January 31, 1964

 

Unknown titles                                   Live performance

 

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, v(?); others unknown.

Mike Shea's studio(?); Chicago, IL; February 17, 18, 1964

 

Country Boy Blues                              Acetate discs

Got the Blues

Who Killed Cock Robin                       Tape recording

God Don't Like Ugly

J.P. Morgan

Other unknown titles(?)

The two acetates turned up in eBay auctions in 2004 and early 2006. The label on “Got the Blues” reads “Columbia Reference #Job 90334, unreleased,” and “Attn: John Hammond.” “Country Boy Blues” came with a paper sleeve on which was also penciled “Attn: John Hammond.” They and the other acoustic tunes originally come from a 7” reel of tape dubbed from Norman Dayron recordings probably made at Mike Shea's studio (“Country Boy Blues” may be an earlier version of the tune recorded on October 15). They were given to producer Hammond by Bloomfield’s then agent/manager, Joel Harlib. Harlib made a cold-call on Hammond in New York, probably in June 1964, and was able to get the legendary producer to listen to Bloomfield’s material. Hammond was so impressed with the guitarist that he wanted to hear him in person. During contract negotiations, Hammond suffered a heart attack and was unable to come to Chicago until December 1964. By that time Bloomfield had put together an ad-hoc band, “The Group,” and was working at Magoo’s and Big John’s. Hammond arranged a demo session in Chicago on December 7 and another on March 1, 1965 in New York. Though Michael had a contract, Columbia was unsure how to market him and did nothing with the demo recordings. Thanks to Joel Harlib for this information.
 

*SLEEPY JOHN ESTES

Estes, v, g; Yank Rachell, mand; Hammie Nixon, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g.

Chicago, IL; March 3, 1964

 

3 O’clock Morning Blues                  “Broke and Hungry,” Delmark DS-608

Beale Street Sugar

Everybody Oughta Change

Broke And Hungry     

 

Bloomfield plays on the these tunes only.

 

BRIAN JONES’ new group, the Rolling Stones, debuts in England with an eponymously titled release in April 1964. The record features a mix of American R&B, blues and rock covers, including Willie Dixon's “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Five of its titles were recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago with Ron Malo as engineer and Norman Dayron assisting.

 

*EDDIE BOYD

Boyd, p, v; Michael Bloomfield, g.

Sutherland Hotel, Chicago, IL; May 16, 1964

 

Five Long Years                                 Recording done for Swedish Radio

Her Picture in the Frame       

Early Grave    

The Big Question       

Look Over Yonder’s Wall      

Interview

 

*YANK RACHELL

Rachell, mand, v; John Lee Granderson, g; Michael Bloomfield, p.

Sutherland Hotel, Chicago, IL; May 16, 1964

 

Going to Pack Up My Things              Recording done for Swedish Radio

I Hear My Baby Call My Name

My Baby Rocks Me

My Baby’s Gone, Soon I’ll Be Gone Myself

Interview       

 

*SUNNYLAND SLIM

Slim, p; Michael Bloomfield, g. 

Sutherland Hotel, Chicago, IL; May 19, 1964

 

Brownskin Woman                             Recording done for Swedish Radio

It’s You Baby

One Room Country Shack 

Sunnyland’s Jump     

The Devil Is a Busy Man
I Done You Wrong
Early One Morning

 

*ST. LOUIS JIMMY

Jimmy, hca, v; Michael Bloomfield, g; Sunnyland Slim, p; Washboard Sam, washboard. 

Sutherland Hotel, Chicago, IL; May 19, 1964

 

Can’t Stand Your Evil Ways               Recording done for Swedish Radio

Complete Disorder    

Poor Boy

The Girl I Love

 

*LITTLE BROTHER MONTGOMERY

Montgomery, p, v; Michael Bloomfield, g. 

Sutherland Hotel, Chicago, IL; May 21, 1964

 

West Texas Blues                               Recording done for Swedish Radio

Cow Cow Blues

Vicksburg Blues

Goin’ Up the Country  

Suitcase Blues 

Interview

 

*WASHBOARD SAM

Washboard Sam, washboard, v; Blind John Davis, p; Michael Bloomfield, g; Ransom Knowling, b.

Sutherland Hotel, Chicago, IL; May 1964

 

Unknown titles                                   Recording done for Swedish Radio(?)

 

These sessions were produced by Olle Helander for his “I Blueskvarter” radio show in Sweden. They are issued on Jefferson SBACD 12653/4. The Washboard Sam session, recalled by Bob Koester, may have only been an inaccurate collective memory of the other documented dates.

 

IN JULY 1964 Bloomfield travels to East St. Louis, IL, with Big Joe Williams, a junket chronicled in a spoken narrative by Bloomfield that was recorded by Norman Dayron in the early ’70s. The narrative was transcribed and later published by City Lights in 1980 under the title “Me & Big Joe.” Scott Summerville assisted in bringing the tale to print. A version also appeared in High Times magazine with illustrations by Robert Crumb. 

 

*JOHN HAMMOND

Hammond, v, hca, g; Charlie Musselwhite, hca; Robbie Robertson, g; Michael Bloomfield, p; Jimmy Lewis, b; Levon Helm, d.

New York, NY; June(?) 1964

 

Down in the Bottom                                “So Many Roads,” Vanguard VSD-7917

Long Distance Call                                         

Who Do You Love                                                      

I Want You to Love Me                                             

Rambling Blues                                                          

You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover                                  

Gambling Blues                                                          

Big Boss Man

I Wish You Would Come Back, Baby     “Mirrors,” Vanguard VSD-79245

Traveling Riverside                                               

 

Bloomfield plays on the above tunes only. "So Many Roads" was released by Vanguard in 1965 but was probably recorded in the summer of 1964. Bloomfield may have been visiting New York City at the time with his then-sidekick Charlie Musselwhite, sitting in at various folk clubs. He was reportedly intimidated by Robertson’s guitar playing and thus opted to play piano despite Hammond’s desire to have two electric guitars on the session. The real reason may have been that Michael’s electric chops were rusty after having spent two years playing only acoustic blues, and he may not have had an electric guitar with him. Bob Dylan reportedly attended the session after Albert Grossman’s assistant, Mary Martin, told him about a Toronto band he should check out called the Hawks. While there he got reacquainted with Bloomfield (whom he had met earlier in Chicago) and presumably was inspired to call Michael for the “Highway 61” sessions later the following year. Supposedly the ensemble jammed afterwards at a Manhattan club.

 

*ROBERT NIGHTHAWK

Nighthawk, v, g; John Lee Ganderson, g; Michael Bloomfield, v, g(?), interview.

Maxwell Street market, Chicago, IL; September 1964

 

Interview                                “And This Is Maxwell Street,” Rooster Records

Kansas City    

Dust My Broom

Peter Gunn Jam

Red Top/Ornithology

 

*Johnny YOUNG

Young, v, mand, g; Michael Bloomfield, g(?); Robert Nighthawk, g.

Maxwell Street market, Chicago, IL; September 1964

 

The Sun Is Shining                 “And This Is Maxwell Street,” Rooster Records

All I Want for My Breakfast  

 

These Maxwell Street performances come from recordings for a film called “And This Is Free,” made in 1964 by Michael Shea with assistance from Bloomfield and Norman Dayron. Patrick Shea, Michael’s son, produced the Rooster release. Dayron recalled that Bloomfield did not play on any of the above selections with the exception of "Red Top/Ornithology," though some critics felt the guitarist on that title was Little Arthur Watson. The Nighthawk material was originally issued by Dayron on a Rounder lp entitled "Robert Nighthawk and His Magic Fingers of Flame: Live on Maxwell Street" in 1981.

Guitarist Eric Clapton records as a member of the English blues-rock group the Yardbirds on “5 Live” in the fall of 1964.

*THE GROUP

Michael Bloomfield, g; Michael Johnson, g; Sid Warner, b; Norm Mayell, d.

Big John’s, Chicago, IL; October 15, 1964

 

Blues for Roy              Recording by Norman Dayron, issued with

                                    “If You Love These Blues” by Wolkin & Keenom,

                                    Miller Freeman Books, 2000

 

*THE GROUP

Michael Bloomfield, g; Michael Johnson, g; Charlie Musselwhite, hca; Sid Warner, b; Norm Mayell, d.

Big John’s, Chicago IL; October 15, 1964

 

Country Boy                Recordings by Norman Dayron, issued with

Gotta Call Susie          “If You Love These Blues” by Wolkin & Keenom,

                                    Miller Freeman Books, 2000

 

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, p.

Big John’s, Chicago IL; October 15(?), 1964

 

Intermission Blues                 Recording by Norman Dayron, issued with

                                                “If You Love These Blues” by Wolkin & Keenom,

                                                Miller Freeman Books, 2000


*THE GROUP
Michael Bloomfield, g; Charlie Musselwhite, hca; probably Brian Friedman, p*; Michael Johnson, g; Sid Warner, b; Norm Mayell, d.
Big John’s(?), Chicago IL; Fall(?) 1964

43rd St. Blues                        
Recordings by Norman Dayron
Ramblin' Blues*

Automobile Blues

On “Automobile Blues” the rhythm guitarist sounds like it might be Elvin Bishop.


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Charlie Musselwhite, Roy Ruby, Norman Dayron, v.
Norman Dayron’s apartment, Chicago IL; Fall(?) 1964

Let’s Get Some Dope              Recording by Norman Dayron

According to Norman Dayron, this comic tune was improvised by Bloomfield in Dayron’s apartment. It concerns a snail’s lament while "inching his way across a vast field of marijuana next to the federal penitentiary in Lexington, Kentucky, and singing in a tiny voice, 'Let's get some dope.'" Musselwhite, Ruby and Dayron joined Bloomfield on the chorus. The tune was initially supposed to be issued on the CD that accompanies “If You Love These Blues” but was cut from the final release.

 

BLOOMFIELD’S BAND, The Group, becomes the house band at Magoo’s in Chicago in the fall of 1964.

 

*DEAN DEWOLF

DeWolf, v, g(?); Michael Bloomfield, g(?); others unknown.

Chicago IL; 1964

 

Unknown titles                       Demo recording

 

Some sources report that this was the recording that got John Hammond Sr. interested in Bloomfield. This seems doubtful as Joel Harlib, Bloomfield’s agent at the time, reports that he took a tape made from Norman Dayron recordings of Bloomfield to Hammond and that recording caused the producer to arrange the following session. The confusion may stem from the fact that Harlib also managed DeWolf. Bloomfield may not have known DeWolf and probably did not play on the singer’s demo. DeWolf later recorded one album for Chess’ Argo label called “Folk Swinger.” Thanks to Joel Harlib for this information.

 

*The Group

Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Michael Johnson, g; Brian Friedman, p; Charlie Musselwhite, hca; Bob Wolff or Sid Warner, b; Norm Mayell, d.

Big John’s, Chicago, IL; Late November 1964

Unknown titles                         Live performances

Pete Welding reviewed several performances by The Group in the December 3, 1964 edition of downbeat magazine, describing the band as “rapidly evolving into one of the finest, fiercest-swinging rhythm-and-blues combinations in Chicago.” He also noted that the group occasionally “suffered from time difficulties.” Thanks to Peggy McVickar for this information. Michael Johnson recalled that during this period Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop would frequently sit in with the band.


Personnel as above.
Magoo’s, Chicago, IL; Winter 1964

Unknown titles
                         Live performances

Norman Dayron made recordings of The Group at Magoo’s during their residency there. Thanks to Norman Dayron for this information. Mike Johnson reported that after performing one night, the McGovern brothers (who owned Magoo's and were believed to be Mafia members) took the group to a southern Illinois farm to go pheasant hunting.

Personnel as above, omit Wolff.

Columbia Studio A, Chicago, IL; December 7, 1964

 

I Feel So Good                        “Essential Blues,” Columbia CK 57631

I Feel So Good, alt. take 1

I Feel So Good, alt. take 2

Goin’ Down Slow

Goin’ Down Slow, alt. take 1                   

I’ve Got You In the Palm Of My Hand

I’ve Got You In the Palm Of My Hand, alt. take 1

The First Year I Was Married

I’ve Got My Mojo Working

Last Night      

 

Norman Dayron produced this session.

 

Personnel as December 7; add Tracy Nelson, v.
Magoo’s, Chicago, IL; December 31, 1964

 

Auld Lang Syne                             Live performance

Other unknown titles

Singer Tracy Nelson, who was dating Charlie Musselwhite at the time, recalled catching the band’s performance on New Year’s Eve. The owner insisted that the band play “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, so the annoyed Bloomfield asked Nelson to sing it with them. She did, and when the time came, The Group performed it as an up-tempo shuffle!

 

*NICK GRAVENITES/MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Gravenites, v, g; Brian Friedman, p; Charlie Musselwhite, hca; Josh Davidson, b; Bennie Ruffin, d.
The End, Chicago, IL; Winter 1964

Unknown titles                        
Live performances

Gravenites and Bloomfield briefly formed a band after The Group left Magoo’s and before Michael joined Butterfield’s quartet. The End appeared to be, according to Gravenites, a front for mob activity. The band frequently played to an empty room while shady business dealings took place at the bar. During the time the group was together, Bloomfield created an extended instrumental based on Nick’s tune “It’s About Time.” Parts of it were later incorporated into his piece “East-West.” Brian Friedman became incapacitated was replaced by another pianist named (?) Whitehead. Thanks to Nick Gravenites for this information.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g, org, p; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

New York, NY; Winter 1964

 

Born in Chicago                      “Folksong '65,” Elektra S-78

Born in Chicago, alt. take      

Lovin’ Cup                               “What’s Shakin’,” Elektra K-4002

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl         

One More Mile                       

Spoonful         

Off the Wall   

 

Jerome Arnold introduces Bloomfield to the music of Eric Clapton, several of whose performances are included on “What’s Shakin’,” in the winter of 1964.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Personnel, location, date as above.

 

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl          ”The Original Lost Elektra Sessions,” Elektra/Rhino R273505

Just to Be With You   

Help Me                                              

Hate to See You Go                                              

Poor Boy                                                               

Nut Popper #1                                                                  

Everything’s Gonna Be All Right                                 

Rock Me                                                                

It Hurts Me Too                                              

Our Love Is Driftin’                                       

Take Me Back Baby*                                       

Mellow Down Easy                                        

Ain’t No Need to Go No Further*                               

Love Her With a Feeling                                           

Piney Brown Blues                                        

That’s All Right                                                          

Goin’ Down Slow                                                       

 

Aural evidence indicates “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” is the same performance as the one issued on “What’s Shakin’.” Mark Naftalin plays organ on “Love Her with a Feeling.” Bloomfield does not play on these titles (*). According to Fred Glaser, at about this time Michael brought his band that now included Brian Friedman, Roy Ruby and Josh Davidson to Columbia in New York to record another demo for Hammond. Friedman returned to Chicago before they could go into the studio, so Bloomfield and his men paid a visit to the Elektra studios to watch Butterfield's recording session. It was there that Paul Rothchild suggested Bloomfield sit in on a few tunes and then told Butterfield he had to hire Michael, saying “This is the band!”

 

1965


 *PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield(?), g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.
Village Gate, New York, NY; Late February/early March 1965

Unknown titles                                     Live performances

An article in the New York Times described Butterfield’s appearances at the Village Gate as the band’s New York debut.
Bloomfield may have occasionally sat in with the group.

 

BLOOMFIELD buys a 1964 Fender Telecaster to use during his upcoming New York recording sessions. He lacks enough money to purchase a case for it.

 

*The Group(?)

Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Michael Johnson, g; Brian Friedman, p; Charlie Musselwhite, hca; Sid Warner, b; Norm Mayell, d.

New York, NY; March 1, 1965

 

I Got My Mojo Working                      “Essential Blues,” Columbia CK 57631

I Got My Mojo Working, alt. take

I’m Cutting Out

Lonesome Blues

 

While Columbia lists the personnel for this demo session as above, Mike Johnson had no recollection of participating in a New York City recording date with Bloomfield. Perhaps the band was Brian Friedman, Roy Ruby and Josh Davidson as Fred Glaser recalled, but aural evidence suggests that the drummer is Sam Lay. The group may have actually been the Butterfield band (with Musselwhite on harp) backing Bloomfield. They were simply uncredited due to their contract with Elektra and because the date was just a demo session. A photo from the session shows that Butterfield himself was indeed present.

 

*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Michael Bloomfield, g, v; Bill Lee, b; others unknown.

New York, NY; Spring(?) 1965

 

Unknown titles                                   Audition for Columbia

 

Al Kooper reportedly has a copy of this audition tape which has Bloomfield playing acoustic guitar and scolding bassist Lee and producer John Hammond. It may have come from the March 1 session.

 

ERIC CLAPTON joins John Mayall’s blues band in April 1965.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Cafe Au Go-Go, New York, NY; Spring (?) 1965

 

Unknown titles                                   Recordings done over four nights for Elektra

 

These recordings were made under the direction of Paul Rothchild in an effort to capture the excitement of the Butterfield band in live performance. The resulting material unfortunately did not meet expectations and was not released.

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, hca; Al Gorgoni, Michael Bloomfield, unknown (Al Kooper?), g; Frank Owens, org; Paul Griffin, p; Joseph Macho, Jr., b; Bobby Gregg, d; Bruce Langhorne, tamb.

New York, NY; June 15, 16, 1965

 

Like a Rolling Stone, alt. take

Like a Rolling Stone, alt. take

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry       “Highway 61 Revisited,”

                                                                                     Columbia CS-9189

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, alt. take 1           

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, alt. take 2

Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence         “The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3,” Sony 65302

Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence, alt. take 1

Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence, alt. take 2

 

The unknown guitarist, seen in a photo of this rehearsal session, bears a striking resemblance to Al Kooper. The guitarist apparently played only briefly, as he appears in only one of the pictures.      

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g, Al Kooper, org; Harvey Brooks, b, Paul Griffin, p; Bobby Gregg, d.  

New York, NY; June 16, 1965

 

Like a Rolling Stone                            “Highway 61 Revisited,” Columbia CS-9189

Like a Rolling Stone, alt. take

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window        “Highway 61 Revisited,” Columbia

                                                                            CS-9189

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window, alt. take

 

Bloomfield rehearsed these titles and others for “Highway 61 Revisited” for three days at Dylan’s Woodstock home prior these sessions. He had taken the bus from Chicago to Dylan’s upstate New York home.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g, p(?); Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.
Cafe Au Go-Go, New York, NY; June 16, 1965

Unknown titles                         
Live performance

Fellow Chicagoan, Mike Michaels, reported meeting Bloomfield back stage at the Au Go-Go on this date and hearing Michael talk excitedly about recording with Dylan that day. Bloomfield then demonstrated “Like a Rolling Stone” on piano.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND(?)
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.
New York Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY; June 18 or 19, 1965

Unknown titles                         Live performance

Butterfield was listed as a possible performer in a program called “The Evolution of Funk” at this first New York City folk festival. The program was presented on Friday and repeated on Saturday of the four-day festival with Chuck Berry headlining. Whether Butterfield actually appeared, and if that performance was with the whole band, is unknown.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Cafe Au Go-Go, New York, NY; June 27, 1965

 

Unknown titles                       Live performance

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d; Nick Gravenites, v(?).
Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI; July 22(?), 1965

Unknown titles                         Live performance

According to some reports, the Butterfield Band was the opening act on the opening night of the festival. They were a late addition to the roster at Newport – advertisements for the concert series make no mention of the group – and they may have been originally scheduled to perform only during the Friday and Saturday afternoon workshops.


*MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
Michael Bloomfield, v.
Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI; July 23, 1965

Bloomfield Introduces Lightnin’ Hopkins                     “Lightnin’ Hopkins at Newport,” Vanguard UV067
 

This performance was part of the Friday morning “Blue Guitar” workshop. Bloomfield acted as the emcee along with Mack McCormick for the 2-hour program. An uncredited Sam Lay joins Lightnin’ on the guitarist’s last few tunes.


*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d; Nick Gravenites, v.
Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI; July 23, 1965

Unknown titles                        Live performance

This performance was part of an afternoon workshop called “Blues: Origins and Offshoots.” The band was introduced in a disparaging manner by Alan Lomax, after which Lomax and Butterfield manager Albert Grossman came to blows. Photos taken by David Gahr of the band in an afternoon performance come from this workshop.

Personnel as above.
Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI; July 24, 1965

Juke                                            Live performance
Other unknown titles

This performance was part of a Saturday afternoon workshop called “Bluesville.” Because of the buzz the band created with its exciting electric blues, Grossman was able to secure them a place on the Sunday afternoon concert. A sudden rain storm caused the band to move its appearance to the evening concert. Portions of this workshop performance appear in Murray Lerner’s 1967 film “Festival.”

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d; Nick Gravenites, v.
Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI; July 25, 1965

Mellow Down Easy                            “Newport Folk Festival 1965,” Vang. VRS-9225
Look Over Yonders Wall                   “Blues With a Feeling,” Vang. VCD2-77005
Blues With A Feeling
Born In Chicago
Blues For Ruth
Why Don't You All Quit It
Elvin's Blues
That’s All Right (NG, v)
It's About Time (NG, v)
It's True (NG, v)
Work Song


This was the opening set of the final night of the festival. Vanguard reportedly recorded everything at Newport and thus must have captured all the Butterfield performances on tape. Portions of this performance and an interview with Bloomfield appear in Murray Lerner’s 1967 film “Festival.”
 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g; Michael Bloomfield, g; Al Kooper, org, b; Barry Goldberg, org, p; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI; July 25, 1965

 

Maggie’s Farm                “Live in Newport ’65,” Document DR 004 (Bootleg)

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry      

Like a Rolling Stone  

 

Al Kooper plays bass for Jerome Arnold and Barry Goldberg switches to organ on "Rolling Stone." Portions of Dylan’s sound check and set appear in Murray Lerner’s 1967 film “Festival,” in his expanded 2007 release called "The Other Side of the Mirror" and in Martin Scorsese’s 2005 TV special “No Direction Home” (which uses Lerner’s extra footage). This was Dylan's historic first "electric" performance, a controversial fifteen minutes that sharply divided the traditional folk community and led to much criticism of Dylan by acoustic music fans. It also led to the creation of the "folk-rock" sound, a whole new category of popular music. The band rehearsed the music during hastily arranged practice sessions at producer George Wein’s Newport estate on Saturday evening.

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Al Kooper, org; Paul Griffin, p; Harvey Brooks, b; Bobby Gregg or Sam Lay, d.

New York, NY; July 29, 1965

 

Tombstone Blues                                            “Highway 61 Revisited,” Columbia CS-9189

Tombstone Blues, alt. take    

Positively 4th Street                                      “Greatest Hits,” Columbia KCS-9463

Positively 4th Street, alt. take

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Cafe Au Go-Go, New York, NY; July 29, 30, 1965

 

Unknown titles                                      Live performances

 

An ad in the Village Voice for these performances promotes the band as “just back from Newport.”

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Al Kooper, org; Paul Griffin, p; Harvey Brooks, b; Bobby Gregg, d.

New York, NY; July 30, 1965

                                           

From a Buick 6                                   “Highway 61 Revisited,” Columbia CS-9189

From a Buick 6, alt. take 1                            

From a Buick 6, alt. take 2             

Ballad of a Thin Man 

Queen Jane Approximately   

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, p, hca; Al Gorgoni, Michael Bloomfield, g; Al Kooper, org; Paul Griffin, Frank Owens, p; Harvey Brooks, b; Bobby Gregg or Sam Lay, d.

New York, NY; August 2, 1965

 

Highway 61 Revisited                        “Highway 61 Revisited,” Columbia CS-9189

Highway 61 Revisited, alt. take                                       

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues            

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, alt. take                             

Desolation Row 

 

PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Mark Naftalin, org; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d, v.
Club 47, Cambridge, MA; Late July/early August 1965

Unknown titles                                   
 Live performances

The Butterfield band played a three-night stand at Club 47 in the days immediately following the Newport Folk Festival. Some of the group stayed at club-owner Jim Rooney’s home. Rooney paid what he thought was the huge sum of $100 per night to host the band due to the buzz they had created at Newport.
         

 

*Chuck Berry

Berry, v, g; Paul Butterfield or Peter Hogan, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Johnny Johnson, p; Chuck Bernard, b; Jasper Thomas, d.

Chicago, IL; September 3, 1965

 

It Wasn’t Me                                                   “Fresh Berrys,” Chess LP 1498

Ain’t That Just Like a Woman                       

Sad Days and Long Nights                             Chess CRL 4506

 

Butterfield and Bloomfield may have been overdubbed on this session at a later date.

 

*PETER, PAUL AND MARY

Peter Yarrow, v, g;  Michael Bloomfield, g; Paul Butterfield, hca; Mark Naftalin, org; Bill Lee, b; Buddy Saltzman, d.

New York, NY; 1965

 

The King of Names                                         “Album,” Warner Bros. WS-1648

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Mark Naftalin, org; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d, v.

New York, NY; September 9, other dates, 1965

 

Shake Your Money Maker           “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band,” Elektra K-294

Born in Chicago                                                        

Blues with a Feeling                                            

Thank You Mr. Poobah                                              

I Got My Mojo Working (SL, v)                                

Mellow Down Easy                                        

Last Night                                                      

Screamin’                                                             

Our Love Is Drifting                                            

Mystery Train                                                

Look Over Yonder’s Wall

Other unknown titles

 

Mark Naftalin, who played piano occasionally with Butterfield in Chicago at University of Chicago twist parties, was added to the band during this session. In his liner notes for the above CD, producer Paul Rothchild seemed to suggest that other titles from this session remain unissued.
 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Mark Naftalin, org; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Philadelphia Folk Festival, Paoli, PA; September 11, 1965

 

Unknown titles                                               Live performance

 

As at Newport, audiences in Paoli were not prepared for the loud, electric sound of the Butterfield Band. Some listeners reportedly got up and ran from the stage, shouting, “Shut it off!”

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Mark Naftalin, org; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Big John’s, Chicago, IL; 5-6 week run, October/November 1965

 

Unknown titles           Live performances

 

BLOOMFIELD replaces his white 1964 Fender Telecaster with a gold 1954 Gibson Les Paul as his primary guitar in the fall of 1965. During their November/December stay in Boston at about this time, the Butterfield Band begins to play a long instrumental based in part on Indian classical music called “The Raga." Its bass line is derived from an extended version of Nick Gravenites’ tune “It’s About Time” which he and Bloomfield had developed in 1964.

 

*Nick Gravenites

Gravenites, v, g; Lester Bowie, tp; Julian Priester, tbn; Roscoe Mitchell, as; Elvin Bishop, Michael Bloomfield(?), g; Paul Butterfield, hca; Erwin Helfer, harpsichord; Scotty Holt, b; Steve McCall, d.

Michael Shea's studio, Chicago, IL; Fall 1965

 

Whole Lotta Soul                    Out of Sight Records

Drunken Boat                                                 

 

Mark Naftalin reports that aural evidence indicates Bishop is present on one of these titles but Bloomfield does not play on either of them. This was the first session Norman Dayron produced on his own; Dayron confirms that Bloomfield was not present.
 

*DICK CAMPBELL

Campbell, v, rhm g; Mark Naftalin, org; Jimmy Vincent, Michael Bloomfield, 12-string g; Paul Butterfield, hca; Peter Cetera, b; Marty Grebb, perc; Sam Lay, Larry Wrice, d.

Chicago, IL; Fall(?) 1965

 

Sandi                                       “Sings Where It's At,” Mercury SR61060

Despairs Cafeteria                                               

You've Got to Be Kidding        

Don Juan of the Western World 

Object of Derision        

Aphrodite's Child

The Blues Peddlers

The People Planners 

Approximately Four Minutes of Feeling Sorry for D.C.

 

Same or similar personnel as above.

Chicago, IL; November 1965

 

Ask Me If I Care                     “Sings Where It's At,” Mercury SR61060

Where Were You                                                             

Girls Named Misery                                            

 

This recording by folksinger Campbell was Mercury's attempt to cash in on the success Columbia was having with Bob Dylan.

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, hca; Michael Bloomfield(?), g; probably Robbie Robertson, g; Richard Manuel, p; Garth Hudson, org; Rick Danko, b; Mickey Jones, d.

Music Hall, Cleveland, OH; November 12, 1965

 

Unknown titles                       Live performance

 

A fan reported Bloomfield’s presence at this concert. In “If You Love These Blues,” Mark Naftalin recalled staying with Sam Lay’s family in Cleveland on the band’s way to the Unicorn gig, so it is quite possible that Bloomfield could have made an appearance at Dylan’s Music Hall show.

 

*PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Butterfield, v, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Elvin Bishop, g; Mark Naftalin, org; Jerome Arnold, b; Sam Lay, d.

Unicorn, Boston, MA; November 12-December 12, 1965

 

Unknown titles                       Live performances

 

Mark Naftalin reported that the band had a 5 to 6 week run at the Unicorn in the fall of 1965. The above dates are from advertisements; the duration of the run may have actually been longer.

 

Personnel as above

Town Hall, New York, NY; November 27, 1965

 

Unknown titles                       Live performance

 

Personnel as above; omit Lay, add Bill Warren, d.

The Chessmate Gallery, Detroit, MI; December 1965

 

Unknown titles                       Live performance

 

Bill Warren had been hired to replace the ailing Sam Lay and may have been the band’s drummer for this and the following engagement. His style was deemed unsuitable for the group after only one week and he was replaced by Billy Davenport by the time the band got to California.

 

Personnel as above; add Billy Davenport(?) for Bill Warren.
Big John’s, Chicago, IL; December(?) 1965

Unknown titles                         Live performances

Evidence for these performances exists in photographs taken by Norman Dayron and dated from December. The drummer may be Billy Davenport, though the drum kit appears to be the one used by Sam Lay. Big John’s closed permanently in September 1967.

 

*BOB DYLAN

Dylan, v, g, hca; Michael Bloomfield, g; Al Kooper, org; probably Robbie Robertson, g; Richard Manuel, p; Rick Danko, b; Mickey Jones, d.

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA; December 19, 1965

 

Unknown titles                       Live performance

 

A fan reported Kooper's and Bloomfield’s presence at this concert.

 

1958-1965 1966-1967 1968-1969 1970-1974 1975-1978 1979-1981 

Next Printable version

© 2008 David Dann

Michael Bloomfield Discography & Performance History

1958-1965

1966-1967

1968-1969

1970-1974

1975-1978

1979-1981

Sources

Printable version


A selection of remembrances of Michael Bloomfield from contributors to this site


A detailed look at the studio and live versions of the Butterfield Blues Band's "East-West"


An interview with producer Norman Dayron by Ralph Heibutzki


A check list of currently available recordings by Michael Bloomfield


© 2008 David Dann

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