Mike Bloomfield

Reis­sues FLoat­Ing WorLd

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - John ai­zle­wood

He couldn’t sleep, but he did have the blues.

Never know­ingly over­whelmed, when Mike Bloomfield met Bob Dy­lan in Chicago in 1963, he pro­nounced Dy­lan’s de­but al­bum “shit”. In re­sponse, Dy­lan de­clared that Bloomfield was his gui­tarist of choice.

Two years later, the pair were in New York record­ing High­way 61 Re­vis­ited and tak­ing Dy­lan pub­licly elec­tric at the New­port Folk Festival. The world seemed to be Bloomfield’s, but the blues purist spurned Dy­lan’s of­fer of a per­ma­nent side­man role in favour of work­ing with the But­ter­field Blues Band, then the Elec­tric Flag, then hav­ing a solo ca­reer. Bedev­illed by in­som­nia and heroin, he over­dosed fa­tally in 1981.

Th­ese com­ple­men­tary show­cases for Bloomfield’s ex­tra­or­di­nary way with a Gib­son Les Paul show just what the fuss was all about. Orig­i­nally re­leased in 1994, Don’t Say That I Ain’t Your Man: Es­sen­tial Blues 1964-1969 (7/10) bills him as Michael and is Dy­lan-free, but Bloomfield is breath­tak­ing on the But­ter­field Blues Band’s

Work Song, and his Al Kooper col­lab­o­ra­tion, Su­per Ses­sion, is a clash of ti­tans.

It shares two tracks with Live At Bill Gra­ham’s Fill­more West

(5/10), which was culled from two week­ends of jam­ming in 1969. It’s not wholly unin­dul­gent, but when Bloomfield takes the 15-minute Blues On A West­side home it siz­zles.

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