Album of the Day
Born in Chicago, Paul Butterfield had assembled one of the city's tightest blues bands by the mid-1960s – Dylan was so impressed that he used much of the group to back him when he “went electric” at Newport in 1965. After their eponymous debut that year, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band returned with EAST WEST 55 years ago this month. Recorded at the legendary Chess Studios, the Elektra set is as steeped in taut electric blues as its predecessor, with driving covers of Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters songs, but there's a little more at work here. A version of Michael Nesmith's “Mary Mary” showed the sextet had their ears on contemporary radio and the proto-acid rock of the title track (which incorporated Indian ragas and jazz) put them way ahead of the curve. Harpist Paul Butterfield and dueling guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop are in stellar form throughout EAST WEST, considered by many to be the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' greatest achievement.