Mike Bloomfield - Blues On The Westside

Fillmore West (San Francisco, CA), 02/08/1969

Music Audio Mike Bloomfield
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Impressed by their opening performances a week or so earlier, Graham invited Bloomfield, Gravenites, Naftalin and friends to headline over The Byrds and Pacific Gas and Electric for three more nights the following week.

"Born In Chicago" is a different arrangement than the Butterfield Blues Band version. In fact, Bloomfield lays low throughout this song, letting the horn section lead the way. At times this approaches free jazz, but the rhythm section keeps it grounded in the blues idiom. "Big City Woman" is another feast for fans of Bloomfield's slow blues sensibility. He begins soloing immediately, and along with the tenor sax a few minutes later, continues to jam for almost six minutes before Gravenites even begins the vocals. Next up is a funked-out rendition of "It's About Time" that is much longer than the album version, with Bloomfield tearing it up. A second "Sweet Little Angel" featuring Snooky Flowers on soulful lead vocals is next. Bloomfield absolutely smokes on this, filling every vocal line with furious leads, and he delivers extended solos that equal or surpass anything on the album. Even Gravenites plays some remarkably fluid guitar solos. Snooky Flowers was a great soulful singer that only adds to the excitement of this performance.

The instrumental is the same version as the outtakes acetate, taken from the night Taj Mahal sat in. However, this is the full unedited take, approximately a minute longer. Bloomfield solos pretty much continuously during the number, often changing his tone to create different textures within the standard blues arrangement. His fluid guitar work and seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of techniques keeps it interesting throughout. For fans of Bloomfield and blues rock, essential listening.