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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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
it's funny. i swore off blues for the last decade, as i was over saturated, and rather bored with it '' but then read about this particular release, and listened to it on youtube... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Paul Shikata
This is an old classic which featured players who went on to hugely successful solo careers.Published 4 months ago by R. Mckinnon
Excellent blues album by a group that somehow seemed to be overlooked.Published 11 months ago by James Parks
There were only a few. Jeff Beck on Rice Pudding. Apricot Brandy by the Rhinoceros. In Memory of Elizabeth Reid by the Allman Brothers. Samba Pa Ti by Santana. Read morePublished on April 10 2004
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