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One of the greatest guitar albums of all time and a real '60s classic, with Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield trading licks on the mind-bending title cut in particular.
If the Butterfield Blues Band's groundbreaking debut earned the respect of the group's elder influences, this one won over (and guided) the blues boys' psychedelic peers. Highlighted by the 13-minute-plus title track (an Eastern-influenced jam cowritten by guitarist Mike Bloomfield), East-West stretches the boundaries of the blues. It would prod many lesser groups to explore, with generally dreary results, interminable free-flight explorations. But while East-West and a cover of jazzman Cannonball Adderly's "Work Song" ventured in new directions, Paul Butterfield and company remained rooted in solid Chicago blues. East West presents the best of both worlds. --Steve Stolder
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Top Customer Reviews
songs, finding in that material a liberating emotional authenticity as well as a simple yet flexible 12-bar, 3-chord improvisational format. Gradually, electric blues morphed into psychedelic hard rock. East West was one of THE seminal albums that led and marked this transition.
The Butterfield Blues Band started out as a straight-ahead Chicago electric blues ensemble. If you're a blues purist, you will prefer their first album. But on East West, the band has clearly come under the influence of, ahem, mind-expanding substances. There are several traditional electric blues numbers here, but there are also several tracks that stretch the boundaries of the blues genre.
The band was remarkable for the work of two great soloists. Paul Butterfield was an outstanding harmonica player (as well as a decent vocalist), and Michael Bloomfield was an awesome guitarist. On this album, both get a chance to display soulful originality as well as technical chops. Unlike a lot of 1960s blues rock musicians, Butterfield and Bloomfield still sound fresh and unique today. In particular, Bloomfield's solos on "I've Got A Mind to Give Up Living", "Work Song", and "East West" have a modal quality totally unlike any of the other blues rock guitar gods of his era. The contrast between Bloomfield's complex droning runs and second guitarist Elvin Bishop's more traditonal lick-based solos are stunning.Read more ›
Right out of the chute, this is a strong album. Opening with "Walking Blues", the BBB struts their stuff with strong vocals, soulful harmonica, and wicked guitar. "I've Got a Mind to Give up Living" was most people's first taste of what Michael Bloomfield could do - simply a stunning blues solo to cap off a great twelve-bar blues.
The album highlight, in my opinion, is their rendition of "The Work Song". Always a great jam song, they carried it to new heights. Bloomfield plays a dizzying guitar solo for 4 verses; Butterfield smokes 2 verses on his harp; Mark Naftalin follows with an understated organ solo; Elvin Bishop gets down & dirty for 4 verses. Then it really gets good; trading off every 2 bars, the musicians rotate for a few verses, each time upping the ante on each other as the song intensifies before resolving into a final melody verse. Whatta song!!!
Noteworthy on side 2 is Elvin Bishop's singing and playing on the sultry "Never Say No". Who knew he could sing?
Finally, the album culminates with the title song "East-West", one of those 60's long-songs which were oftentimes wretched excess, but this one keeps your interest. For 5 minutes or so, guitar and harmonica imitate an Indian raga in a slowly building crescendo.Read more ›
And of course Booker T. & the MG's. And King Curtis. But the rock tracks were always special because there were so few.
If you don't know this track, I envy you because you have it to look forward to hearing for the first time.
Most recent customer reviews
Anybody who follows the blues will have to have this breakthrough album/CD in their collection. The Paul Butterfield Band exemplifies the "electric blues" that broke out in... Read morePublished 23 days ago by FerryDriver
Excellent blues album by a group that somehow seemed to be overlooked.Published 5 months ago by James Parks
Few white blues players have been able to transcend the traditional notion that blues is a music that is based on the shared experiences of African Americans. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2003 by Gavin B.
When you're a bit under the weather (if you know what i mean), a little bit above the surface of our blue planet earth (winks all around, chaps), then this CD is for you. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2003
He's right on the mark regarding the 2nd rate material.
The US version of this is very sorry indeed.
Finally a CD that sounds even worse than well worn vinyl. Read more
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the Rolling Stones are probably the sole reasons that most white people now even know that the blues exists: ... Read morePublished on April 27 2003 by .
All of the musicians come together on this recording and click- they interact with each other- its not just Bloomfield and Bishop wailing on guitar- theres Butterfield's vocals and... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2002