Not long ago in this space I heralded the release of the Legacy label’s Michael Bloomfield box set From His Head to His Heart to His Hands
. Last week it was announced that the group that brought that fiery guitarist to the world at large, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, had finally received its long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The leader of that seminal outfit, the legendary late blues harpist and singer Paul Butterfield, was a long-time Woodstock resident and mainstay of the local music scene, making a guest appearance with his running buddies The Band in 1976’s The Last Waltz
Formed in the harmonica man’s native Chicago in the early 1960s, the interracial Butterfield band was instrumental in turning young white audiences onto authentic urban blues and pioneered psychedelia with their Middle Eastern-influenced 1966 sophomore album East-West (Elektra Records). The group is also remembered for backing Bob Dylan during his infamous electric debut at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
Savor this footage of the band, with Elvin Bishop on guitar, at the 1967 Monterey Pop festival:
Chronogram congratulations go out to Paul Butterfield’s Woodstock-area family.