BLUES ROCK PIONEER LEFT US ALL TOO SOON
Paul Butterfield died on May 4, 1987 due to a heart attack brought on by decades of hard living. He was 44 years old. One of the key figures in popularizing the blues with young America in the '60s, Butterfield led one of the legendary ensembles of the era, The Butterfield Blues Band, which included among many others justifiably famous guitarist Mike Bloomfield and songwriter-guitarist Nick Gravenites. He was instrumental in bringing blues masters like Son House into the public eye after decades of disregard, and his harmonica chops and smoky voice made him a natural at hypnotic, slow blues and scattershot rave-up jams, too. The sensuality and urgency of his style of blues has influenced several generations, stretching the genre to include soul, funk and other elements his band explored. Tomorrow when you're waking up, spare a thought and a prayer for a seminal figure in modern music.
Here's the Butterfield Blues Band at Monterey Pop in 1967 doing "Driftin' Blues."
Jump to 1978 and we catch Butterfield sitting in with Foghat on a bulldozing version of "Shake Your Moneymaker."
It doesn't get much better than this version of "The Sky Is Crying" with Butterfield sitting in with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and B.B. King.
And we conclude with a simmering take on "The Thrill Is Gone," which shows the man at his best.
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