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. Number 1 (Spring 1994)


Try It -- Before It's Gone

           Try It Before You Buy It, the Michael Bloomfield solo album licensed from CBS/SONY Records in 1990 by the One Way Records label is out of print. CBS/SONY declined to renew the licensing agreement.

           Recorded in 1973, TIBYBI would have been Bloomfield's second solo CBS Records release. The label declined to release the album at that time, due to the lack of commercial success achieved by Bloomfield's first solo release, It's Not Killing Me. This marked the end of solo Bloomfield releases on CBS Records until the posthumous retrospective Bloomfield, released in 1983.

           The One Way Records CD release was the first time TIBYBI was available as intended, and included the original artwork.

           During the late 70's several songs from TIBYBI surfaced on solo Bloomfield albums released on the Takoma and Waterhouse labels, as well as on the CBS Records retrospective.

           Still available from One Way Records is the CD re-issue of the 1969 Buddah Records release, Two Jews' Blues, recorded by Barry Goldberg, which includes four tracks featuring Bloomfield on guitar.

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Sammy Knows

           Living In The Fast Lane, Michael Bloomfield's 1981 Waterhouse Records release has been re-issued on CD in the original and a slightly altered version.

           The original version is available as an import on the German label Line. This CD is identical to the 1981 release, except for a more closely cropped cover portrait.

           The domestic release on E.R.A. Records is identical except for one song substitution. A previously unreleased version of the Bloomfield composition "Sammy Knows How To Party," with Bloomfield on lead vocals, replaces "Maudie" as the first track.

           A different version of "Sammy..." had previously been released on the 1978 TK Records/Clouds album Count Talent and The Originals, with lead vocals by Anna Rizzo.

           The newly released version of "Sammy..." was supposed to have been on the 1981 release of Living In The Fast Lane, but was replaced at the last minute with "Maudie." The album is now available in what was to have been its original format.

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Play 'Em As You Please

           Two new CD compilations of Michael Bloomfield's post-CBS recordings have been released. Both draw from his Grammy nominated 1976 Guitar Player Records release If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please, as well as his 1979 Kicking Mule Records release Bloomfield/Harris, an album of instrumental gospel duets recorded with classical guitarist Woody Harris.

           True Soul Brother, on the French Sky Ranch Records label includes both records in their entirety except for a solo Woody Harris performance from the Bloomfield/Harris recording.

           Blues, Gospel and Ragtime Guitar Instrumentals, released on Stefan Grossman's Shanachie label, is an all-instrumental compilation assembled by longtime Bloomfield producer Norman Dayron.

           In addition to tracks from If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please and Bloomfield/Harris are selections from Bloomfield's later recordings for the Takoma and TK Records/Clouds labels.

           Liner notes for the Shanachie release are by Ed Ward, author of the book Michael Bloomfield, The Story of an American Guitar Hero.

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Dylan On Bloomfield

           "I was playing in a club in Chicago, I guess it was about 1959 or 1960 and I was sitting in a restaurant, I think it was probably across the street or maybe it was even a part of the club, I'm not sure, but a guy came down and said that he played guitar.

           "So he had his guitar with him and he began to play. I said, 'Well, what can you play?' And he played all kinds of things. I don't know if you've ever heard of a man, does Big Bill Broonzy ring a bell? Or Sonny Boy Williamson, that type of thing? Anyway, he just played circles around anything I could play and I always remembered that.

           "Anyway, we were back in New York, I think it was 1963 or 1964, and I needed a guitar player on a session I was doing, and I called (him) up, I even remembered his name, and he came in and recorded an album. At that time he was working in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

           "Anyway he played with me on a record, and I think we played some other dates, but I haven't seen him too much since then.

           "Anyway, he played on "Like A Rolling Stone," and he's here tonight. Give him a hand...Michael Bloomfield."

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Bolton On Bloomfield

           "Ever since I can remember, I've been singing R&B, though originally I was into hard core blues. I learned guitar by studying Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton."

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Blues Guitar: The Men Who Made The Music
by Jas Orbrecht - Miller Freeman Books

           This newly-revised edition is a "must have" for Bloomfield fans or anyone serious about the blues. The book compiles in-depth interviews with major blues guitarists that have appeared in Guitar Player Magazine over the past twenty years, and includes many photographs and an up-to-date discography.

           Michael Bloomfield's 1979 interview with the magazine is reproduced in full. Better yet, Mike is referenced dozens of times throughout the book by many interview subjects, including B.B., Freddie, and Albert King. B.B. King, for example, acknowledges Bloomfield's importance in expanding interest in the blues among white audiences. Freddie King gives Mike credit for learning the blues from the Chicago masters. And on the negative side, Otis Rush complains at length about Bloomfield's production on his Mourning In The Morning LP.

           The most memorable Bloomfield item in the book has to be his description of the first time he jammed with Jimi Hendrix on stage: "I was scared and kept thinking to myself...I wish I were Albert King," said Bloomfield.

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© 1994 Jan Mark Wolkin & Neal McGarity

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