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Number 260

The Butterfield Blues Band - East West (Elektra EKL 315)

By the end of the 1970s, just as the music I was listening to had become rather stale, often pretentious and mostly dull, with the only other option to indulge oneself in the confrontational cartoon world of Punk, I did what any self-respecting music fan would do in such circumstances and dove head first into a world Chicago Blues. One of the earliest blues records I added to my collection around this time was the second LP by the Butterfield Blues Band, which had already been around since the mid-1960s. Most of the tracks on the album followed a standard blues format, yet it was the lengthy title track and album closer that sent appropriate shockwaves throughout the blues world, as East very much met West in this improvised instrumental showcase of a performance that signalled a new approach to music making and in effect provided the template for the later psychedelic acid rock scene. Recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago and with a cover that featured some bizarre sleeve notes, along with a photo of the band standing in front of the Museum of Science and Industry, also in Chicago, the LP featured some of the rawest blues recorded at the time and showcased the talents of not only Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield on harp and guitar respectively, but also a first class rhythm section of Elvin Bishop, Mark Naftalin, Jerome Arnold and Billy Davenport.