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Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Paul Butterfield 
Born: December 17, 1942, Chicago, Illinois

Died: May 3, 1987, Los Angeles, California

At the age of 16, harmonica player Paul Butterfield regularly sat in with blues legends Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and Howlin’ Wolf, among others, at Chicago clubs. Butterfield formed his own soon-to-be-legendary band in 1963 with guitarist Elvin Bishop and eventually drummer Sam Lay and bassist Jerome Arnold. This lineup was one of the first racially integrated blues bands in the city. Their 1965 self-titled release, featuring the additions of guitarist Mike Bloomfield and keyboardist Mark Naftalin, had a huge impact on the 1960s blues revival, and they also broke ground backing Bob Dylan’s legendary performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival (the electric sound outraged many purist folk fans). Later the band changed personnel again, eventually including jazz great David Sanborn (in his early years) on saxophone. Their success began to wind down in the late sixties, although they did appear at Woodstock and released two final albums in 1968 and 1969. Paul Butterfield continued to perform throughout the seventies.

Paul Butterfield on record

Essential listening: “I Got My Mojo Working,” “Blues With a Feeling,” “Born in Chicago,” “Shake Your Money Maker,” “Mellow Down Easy,” “Two Trains Running”

Paul Butterfield