Been waiting a good long time for this one. Here’s Vintage Guitar magazine on the tendency Bloomfield’s playing had to change people’s lives.
Mike Bloomfield had that effect on people. For a Jewish kid playing the blues in the mid ’60s, that’s no mean feat. But regardless of who his inﬂuences were and how proﬁcient he became at various styles that preceded him, there was guitar playing before Bloomﬁeld and guitar playing after Bloomﬁeld. It’s as simple as that.
He was a pioneer, making his name as the beloved sideman/guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf. His riffs on Killing Floor, Smokestack Lightning and Spoonful became an essential part of the electric blues canon, just as elemental as Elmore James’ Dust My Broom and Muddy Waters’ Hoochie Coochie Man.
Settin at home with the old hound dog, rain falling outside, Phillies blowing out the Pirates on the AM radio. It’s hot as all get out and the a/c can hardly keep up. So I take another shot at that sound that’s driving me crazy. The arrangement is something I just came up with and the lyrics don’t really fit, but I’m not apologizing for nothing. I’m just going to keep on playing the blues.
I’m just going to play that north Mississippi hill country blues for the rest of my life. I’m going to do some other things too, but I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of this, and I don’t think I’ll ever get it right. But I’m going to try.
My take on Ry Cooder has always been that he’s an amazing guitarist who does not want to be a guitar hero and he does everything possible to distract from his considerable instrumental prowess. I pretty much lost patience with this routine when Cooder hit the big time with the Buena Vista Social Club. I had high hopes for his recently completed California Trilogy, but the music and lyrics just didn’t do it for me. This next record, and the rootsy mandolin on the first track, make me think I should, once again, approach this master’s work with an open mind.
Fake Thanksgiving is becoming a bit of a tradition around, and, frankly, I love it. So, with Dorothy and the kids arriving tomorrow, the excitement is at a fever pitch. I figured I cool things down with a little blues. Hope y’all like.
The Thanksgiving may be fake, but the fun (and the Blues) is real.