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An Anthology: The Elektra Years

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Audio CD, January 20, 1998
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An Anthology: The Elektra Years + Butterfield Blues Band + East-West
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1965's Paul Butterfield Blues Band and 1966's East-West were masterpieces, but the rest of Paul's Elektra LPs were uneven. That's why this 33-track trip through his eight Elektra years is a godsend: Born in Chicago; Off the Wall; Mystery Train; Come On In; All These Blues; Work Song; Love Disease; Double Trouble; Love March; Driftin' and Driftin' , and more handpicked gems from this harp-blowin' blues-rock trailblazer!

It might be impossible to overestimate the importance of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band on American music in the latter half of the '60's. Unlike British blues revivalists The Rolling Stones, the Butterfield band was schooled in the tough Chicago bars that housed Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and Howlin' Wolf. They didn't imitate the blues, they were the blues. They were also virtuoso instrumentalists to the man; and the extended raga-like "East-West," powered by Butterfield's defiant harmonica and the guitars of Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield, virtually created the concept of psychedelic jamming. This 2 CD set profiles the best of their massively influential early work, and samples later R&B-inflected, horn-driven material as well. Essential for blues fans. --Michael Ruby

Disc: 1
1. Born In Chicago
2. Lovin Cup
3. One More Mile
4. Off the Wall
5. Come On In
6. Nut Popper #I
7. Ain't No Need To Go No Futher/It's Too Late Brother
8. Born In Chicago
9. Shake Your Money Maker
10. Blues With A Feeling
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. One More Heartache
2. Double Trouble
3. Last Hope's Gone
4. Mornin' Blues
5. Just To Be With You
6. Get Youself Together
7. In My Own Dream
8. Love March
9. Walkin' By Myself
10. Love Disease
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 20, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002HRB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,496 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By J. E FELL on October 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Elektra Years is a 2 cd anthology which features some of the best blues music from the early to late sixites bar none. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band played with Bob Dylan at his first electric performance at Newport in 1965 and at Woodstock in 1969. The band was formed in Chicago by avid blues aficionados Paul Butterfield on harmonica, Elvin Bishop on guitar and the former Howlin' Wolf rhythm section of Jerome Arnold and Sam Lay on bass and drums respectively. Butterfield and Bishop spent most of their time in Chicago bars listening to the blues masters perform live. It was then decided in a groundbreaking move to add a second guitarist and blues fan Mike Bloomfield to the band. The band was one of the first integrated blues/rock bands. The musicianship was uniformly excellent with Bloomfield and Bishop swapping leads inventively. By the time of their second album Lay was replaced on drums by the jazzier Billy Davenport and part-time organist Mark Naftalin joined the band permanently. The music became more jam oriented and the cuts "East West" with its modal soloing and a cover of Cannonball Adderley's "Work Song" provide ample evidence of the ever evolving musicianship of the band. However Bloomfield soon exited to form the horn driven rock band Electric Flag with ex- Jimi Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles. Instead of replacing Bloomfield with another guitarist, Butterfield elected to add a horn section himself and the music became more r& b driven. Among the musicians who joined the horn section was a very young David Sanborn. Eventually Bishop also quit to start a solo career and the band continued with a lower profile. This set contains 5 rare tracks from the band's great early period which were either non-lp singles on were on rare compilation albums.Read more ›
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band stayed true to the tradition of the blues. And it's no wonder. Butterfield grew up in Chicago and as a teenager jammed with the likes of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf. [In fact, the first incarnation of the Butterfield Blues Band featured two former members of Howlin' Wolf's band.]
Over the course of their first two albums the band featured the twin-guitar attack of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop (on all of Disc-1)in addition to Butterfield's gritty vocals and powerful harmonica playing. This multi-racial band could play the blues with authority. When they played tunes like "Born in Chicago," "Shake Your Money Maker" or "Walkin' Blues," it was with a firm knowledge of the roots of the blues.
But they weren't staunch purists either. Listen to the 13-minute jazz-rock-raga fussion "East-West." This isn't jerk-off showmanship; it's inspired improvisation and no one else at the time (1966) could touch these guys.
Disc-2 sees the departure of Bloomfield and has Butterfield experimenting with a horn section. While some might argue this version of the band lacked the bite of its predecessor, listen to songs like "Double Trouble" and "Last Hope's Gone" and Bishop steps up and delivers as the band's lone guitarist. Al Kooper's organ playing on "Just To Be with You" adds another facet to the band's sound. After the album In My Own Dream (tracks 3-7), Bishop left to go solo.
"Love March" with its flute and french horn seems like a complete departure from the blues, but "Walking' By Myself" returns the proceedings to the blues.
Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alex on April 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
No one who hasn't at least heard the Paul Butterfield Blues Band can consider him/herself a true, red-blooded blues fan. One of the greatest groups ever to grace the clubs of Chicago, the Butterfield Band was also perhaps the first blues band to successfully bridge the racial barriers and allow blues to become a music for anyone and everyone who cared to listen.
Without question, Butterfield's best recordings were done for the Elektra label. Therefore, it would make sense that Elektra's two disk anthology would be the perfect place to go for a one stop shot at this remarkable band. In fact, with both discs running over 75 minutes in length, this package is a bargain and then some.
Like all of the greatest bands, Butterfield's group had a very distinct sound, one which was both revolutionary and a treat to listen to. This anthology captures that sound and allows the listener to hear the evolution of the band throughout the years. Begining with some of their earliest sides in 1965, this anthology covers their careers all the way to 1971. There's a lot of great music to be found, particularly on the first disc. Classics like "Born In Chicago" (both the recognized version from their debut and an earlier take) and the ground-breaking "East West" are here along with lots of other great material. The second disc is a bit weaker, but still features pleanty of great tunes, especially the live songs "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" and "Driftin' and Driftin'," which are my favorite songs on the set. Butterfield's sound was always very contemporary and cutting-edge; I often find myself forgetting that these were late sixties and early seventies recordings.
By virtue of the outstanding music and the sheer amount of material on this set, I can wholeheartedly reccomend this. Any fan of the blues should hear this at least once; most will probably find themselves playing it again and again.
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An Anthology: The Elektra Years
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