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Mike Bloomfield - Live At the Old Waldorf

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Album Review

If you've never really experienced Mike Bloomfield just letting loose and playing ripping and inspired guitar, this is a darn good starting point. Recorded live in 1976 and 1977 by producer Norman Dayron at the Old Waldorf nightclub on Bloomfield's home turf in San Francisco with a hand-picked band, the results are startling to say the least. Bloomfield plays with assurance and authority throughout, exploring new ideas with each new chorus from his guitar, arguably at his best since his early Butterfield/Dylan days. He plays a lot of slide guitar here, too, and tracks like "Bad Luck Baby," "The Sky Is Crying," "Dancin' Fool," and "Buried Alive in the Blues" showcase his mighty talents with the bottleneck, taking the lessons learned firsthand from Robert Nighthawk to places new and wild. Bloomfield was never much of a singer, and everybody from old pal Nick Gravenites to bassist Roger Troy to drummer Bob Jones ends up handling all the vocals on this disc. But one listen to the "Blues Medley" that kicks off the proceedings is reason enough to know why Bloomfield's reputation on his chosen instrument ranks up there with the greats. Consider this disc validation of that rep.

Biography

Born: 28 July 1943 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Michael Bloomfield was one of America's first great white blues guitarists, earning his reputation on the strength of his work in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His expressive, fluid solo lines and prodigious technique graced many other projects — most notably Bob Dylan's earliest electric forays — and he also pursued a solo career, with variable results. Uncomfortable with the reverential treatment afforded a guitar hero, Bloomfield tended to shy away from the spotlight after spending...
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