of Blues Harp
|This is the bio note on Paul Butterfield from my harmonica
transcription/instruction book Masters of Blues Harp, which has a
transcription of The Work Song from East-West (Elektra).
Paul Butterfield, one of the first blues harp players to cross over to rock,
was born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, and
studied classical flute with Walfrid
Kujala of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a teenager. He
also listened to his father's jazz records as a youth. In 1957 he and future bandmate Nick Gravenites began to catch blues acts
in the clubs of the South Side. There he met and started jamming with
the legends of the postwar blues scene: Muddy Waters, Little Walter
Jacobs, Howlin Wolf, and others.
From the first, he began to craft his own style-unlike the older players, he didnt tongue block (except to play octaves), and his phrases were often more drawn out than those of the Southside bluesmen.
In 1963 he and white teenage guitar virtuoso Michael Bloomfield lured a couple of Howlin' Wolfs sidemen away from Wolfs band to form the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Fronted by Butterfields strong vocals and harp and augmented by Bloomfields searing guitar, the band landed a deal for their first LP with Electra in 1965, and also backed Bob Dylan when the folk hero famously defected to rock at the Newport Folk festival that year.
The landmark East West, with its jazzy and even raga-rock overtones came out the following year and was a huge success for the group. But with rise of pychedelia the following year, Bloomfield left to play with Electric Flag. Butterfield then retooled by adding a horn section that included young saxman David Sanborn.
Home | Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar Books | Harmonica Books | Music Lessons | CDs
Harmonica Main | Celtic Main | Blues Main | Fingerstyle Main | Woodstock 69 | Reviews
Free Celtic Guitar Arrangements | Free Celtic Harmonica Arrangements | Online Celtic Tunebook
Writings | MySpace Page | Discographies | To Order Books | Contact | Links | Translate