Wednesday, November 27, 2013

# 5 Paul Butterfield @ Newport July 25th 1965

Tearing it up at Newport 1965
    It must have been exciting for Paul, his band and extended entourage, to pack up the Econoline van in Chicago for the trip to Newport, Rhode Island. They had been a steady draw for the Near North Side's bohemian club, Big John's, but to play Newport must have been considered a huge break!

   When I think about it now, it's a testament to musicianship of Butterfield, Bishop and Bloomfield. Remember, they are all in their early twenties in 1965, and yet, each had his own distinctive sound and approach to the interpretation of standard blues songs of the day. All this young talent floating on the seasoned Arnold, Lay rhythm section, what a combination! If you compare this incarnation of the Butterfield band with any of the young blues bands of the day, you can sense, they deserved to play the prestigious event.
Newport Folk Festival, July 1965
 
   They weren't a headliner at Newport, but the
gig was an important foot in the door for all of them. Very few people outside Chicago had even heard of them, yet seen them perform live. So, playing Newport was a great opportunity to advertise their talent during a performance on opening night where festival patrons could see the band as they entered the grounds, and then again during two lengthy workshops over the weekend.

   You can see in the photo below that the band was unknown enough that festival organizers placed them on a stage too small to accommodate the whole band. However, the much appreciated and deserved opportunities were thanks to the intuition and initiative of A & R man, Paul Rothschild. He was the one who boasted about his discovery to Albert Grossman, and Jac Holzman. It is his business connections in New York which should be given the credit for getting Butterfield the gig. However, with all that confidence came expectations, and that must have created a powerful pressure on the confidence of the band.

The Butterfield Band playing on opening night.
    I'm not naive enough to think that Butterfield stole the show at Newport, Dylan did that, but he certainly made enough of an impact both on the festival patrons and industry people that he was rewarded with a recording contract with the premier folk label, Elektra, and in addition, they also secured representation with the successful manager Albert Grossman. Even if you subtract the business achievements, Paul Butterfield and his band made history in popular music at Newport.


      During that weekend in 1965, the Butterfield Band introduced authentic electric Chicago blues to an enthusiastic audience. There are countless interviews with artists and audience members who still speak of the excitement the band created. While both Dylan and Butterfield occupy the history books because of their performances, it was pretty much serendipitous. Dylan wanted to perform an electric set, and there were no other electric musicians available to serve his purpose, so really, Paul’s band were the first and only choice.

   Unfortunately, a recording of the complete Butterfield set does not seem to be available anywhere.
Juke, the Little Walter hit instrumental, Blues for Ruth, (probably a tribute to Butterfield’s former girlfriend who died of cancer in the early sixties), Why Don’t You All Quit It, Elvin’s Blues, But That’s Alright  (Nick Gravenites of vocals), It’s Time About Time (Nick on vocals) , and The Cannonball Adderley instrumental Work Song. None of these performances seem to have made it to commercial release. If you ever come across them, please let me know.
The original set list included:

   However, the Newport version of Born in Chicago, Look Over Yonder's Wall, Blues With A Feelin’ and Mellow Down Easy show up on a few Newport and Butterfield compilations as do the Dylan/Butterfield Band tracks: Maggie’s Farm, Like a Rollin’ Stone, with Al Kooper on organ. (Mark Naftalin had not joined the band yet.)
 
   There is another factor to consider when you listen to performances that are available. Contrary to what many critics of Butterfield have asserted, his band was doing their own arrangements of  the standards, they weren't just "aping" the originals. For example, Blues with a Feeling, Look Over Yonders Wall, and Mellow Down Easy are easily distinguished from other versions with journeymen Little Walter and Elmore James. Even Butterfield's version of Juke has a different tone and tempo to Little Walter's.

     As a little piece of Butterfield trivia, in addition to introducing electric blues played at rock tempo to the largely acoustic folk world, Butterfield also holds a unique title in the history of a generation's popular music. He is the only artist to play all the important concerts of an era: Newport 1965, Monterey 1967, Woodstock 1969, and then the Last Waltz 1975.

   Personally, I've never been a big fan of the Newport recordings. It's probably because I was spoiled by the energy conveyed by the first album versions.  Still, the available Newport set is pretty good in sound quality and performance. Most of all, I wish I had been there that weekend in July of 1965

   Have a look at the video below. It is a clip from Murray Lerner's Festival and shows Butterfield playing Juke
  
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

# 4 Festival Documentary


    The original 97 minute documentary, Festival, was released in 1967, and covered various performances at The Newport Folk Festival from 1963 to 1965. It faded into history for a number of years; at some point, I concluded it was lost forever. However, after communicating with numerous collectors all over the world I managed to acquire a multi-generation VHS copy. The day I received that tape in the mail, I was one happy Butterfield fan! The image was terrible, and it took some serious concentration to see the Butterfield performance of Juke, but I was grateful. Fortunately, a few years ago, some kind soul at Eagle Rock Entertainment took the initiative to release it on DVD.


    It's in black and white, and for the most part you never actually see a full performance by many of the artists. I don't know if it was a legal issue at the time of original production, or maybe it was Albert Grossman's insistence. It seems like such a strange attitude for a businessman to have even in the 60s, but I have read that he was adverse to having his any of artists show up in films, fearing the record buying public would not buy his artist's records.

   Anyway, Festival is significant in that it puts Butterfield's original musical contributions to history in a clearer context.  The Folk Music Revival of the late fifties and sixties was originally about rejecting the mainstream commercialism of pop music by reviving the folk music tradition in the United States. However, many of the self appointed instigators of the revival became a little too zealous, and seem to have forgotten that folk music is a living breathing art form, and consequently does not adhere to stagnation. I've read and heard many interviews with these revivalists, to me, they come across as a little too rigid in their thinking.

   These Folk Nazis' would profess that in order for folk music to be authentic, it had to be acoustic and preferably old . Consequently, any artist who breached that inflexible ideal, had sold out to commercialism. Consequently, they were labeled as an enemy of the movement. In retrospect, it all seems so short sighted. Folk music isn't some dead language like Latin, it doesn't belong in a museum.

   Festival does document some memorable performances by several folk artists of the day, but for me, the the highlight of the documentary is the 1965 segment when the Butterfield band does Little Walter's Juke. After that, Dylan's performance of Maggie's Farm, backed by the Butter Band, is stellar! It's not just because I am a fan of both artists, but because they both made history on that day. Thank God Murray Lerner was contracted to recorded it! You'll notice in the documentary that all of the music presented was acoustic, so you can imagine the storm of controversy when Butterfield's band turn on the amps. The folk intelligentsia must have shuttered at the impending runination of their social engineering fantasy.

    There was another silly argument being made during this period: white people can't sing blues, because you guessed it, they haven't had the same experiences as the black man. There might be a small element of truth in the position, but I think the subtext is more a form of reverse racism. I mean, would they say, someone from Boston can't learn to play authentic jigs and reels because they aren't from Ireland, or a woman can't sing Opera because she didn't grow up in Italy? So, for some of the folkies, the thought of some middle class, white kids from Chicago, playing music from their home town was a heresy. Then to complicate matters, Butterfield had a black rhythm section, electric instruments, and they could really play them! It must have thrown many into a state of cultural confusion.
 
   Dylan saw through this facade though. He knew the times were changing, and hired Paul's band for his set on closing night. His performance with the Butterfield Blues Band is at least mentioned in every history of the era. Many of the folkies were so out of touch with the real world. They didn't seem to realize that blues and country musicians were using electric instruments since the forties. The Rolling Stones had commercial success with Willie Dixon's Little Red Rooster as did other rock bands. Kids wanted to hear authentic electric blues, and it they found it in Butterfield's interpretations.

   After all, most musicians had to make a living with their craft and they knew that making a living in music is an act of commercialism. I guess by this point you can tell I am not a fan of nativity demonstrated by some members in the folk movement. I understand the political statement of rejecting the commercialism of art in an effort to preserve its "purity", but artists need to make a living like everyone else. All of that said, the Butterfield band offered up some pretty convincing interpretations of authentic Chicago Blues which is what they were suppose to do and the audience got it.

     Also included in this documentary is an interview with Mike Bloomfield and Son House at the festival. I'll post that in the next blog as it will be about the Butterfield performances.

     Below, is a video of Elektra records founder, Jac Holtzman. He is a pretty important part of the success of many of the folk artists of the day including the Butterfield Blues Band. He has some interesting things to say about that day.

   

Friday, November 15, 2013

# 3 An Offer You Can't Refuse



   Too often we take our own local artists for granted, and it takes outsiders to keep the memory of their work alive. This is probably true of many great musicians in almost every culture; it's certainly true of American music. \For example, Europeans have a long history of preserving both American Jazz and Blues through literature, and with recordings. 

   When Swedish sound technician, and Chicago Blues enthusiast Olle Helander makes his journey to the Sutherland Hotel at 4569 Drexel Avenue in Chicago on May 22nd of 1964, he does it as an historian. At the time, he is thinking about the immediate benefit of recording some of the cities blues artists for his employer, but he does not know that he is making an important contribution to the history of a music unique to the U.S.. 
    So, armed with a Nagra tape recorder, and 4 channel mixer (state of the art technology in 1964), over a period of about a week Helander records a whole roster of little known South Side blues acts on behalf of the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation.

    During his visit he records Big Walter Horton, Eddie Boyd, Mike Bloomfield (before he joins the Butterfield band), Sunnyland Slim, Willie Mabon, among others, but the tracks by a 22 year old Paul Butterfield are what interests us in this post. When Helander returns to Sweden, the sets are edited, and then broadcast on Swedish radio under the title of Blueskvarter (At The Bluesquarters) volume 1 and 2. All of these remastered recordings are still available online through Amazon.

    Originally, Helander records the set with Butterfield on May 21st, but the Sutherland is under construction causing annoying noise to leak into the recordings, so they reschedule to the 22nd. It should be mentioned here that these tracks are advertised as Butterfield tracks, but they are really recordings of Paul Butterfield as a side man with The Smokey Smothers Blues Band, not the other way around. According to Smothers, while driving down the street one day he happens to hear a young Butterfield playing his harmonica and he asks him to join his band.                                  


    Often these tracks are sold under different titles, the most common one being the 1972, Red Lightning release An Offer You Can't Refuse. The liner notes of this official release says the tracks are from the summer of 1963, Big John's, but they are in fact part of the Sutherland Hotel recordings.

    These same tracks have been hawked by bootleggers for years under such titles as: Droppin' Out with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and include tracks from Newport Folk Festival, July 25th 1965, with some tracks from a tape Bill Graham makes of the band when they play the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. They recordings also show up as Sutherland Hotel Tapes (also a bootleg). Don't be fooled, they all originate from the Helander recordings.

   One way you can determine what you are buying is to remember that during the Sutherland Hotel session, these were the tracks captured: Everything's Gonna Be Alright, Poor Boy, Got My Mojo Workin;, Last Night, Loaded, and One room Country Shack, all other purported tracks from this session are from other sources.

   So, are these tracks worth the purchase? As a harmonica player, and devoted fan of Butterfield's style I think these tracks are an important part of any collection. However, when I first bought this set on vinyl as An Offer You Can't Refuse  the experience was disappointing. I remember  expecting more of the energy I heard on his later material, and thinking, it isn't here.

   Of course, the sound quality is victim of the technology of the early sixties, and consequently, doesn't carry as much punch as say the Paul Butterfield Blues Band conveys. The vocal track is a bit muffled and doesn't really showcase Butterfield's skill as a blues singer.

    However, considering Butterfield is only about 22 years old at this time, his playing is amazing! He demonstrates such a strong command of the harmonica, and vocal interpretation! 

   The composers of blues songs are a fairly small group in the early '60's, so, the fact that Butterfield is writing in the genre at twenty-two is significant. Latin rhythms are a trend in the 50s and 60s mainstream pop, so, he is trying to tap into that trend. For these reasons the stand out track in the whole set is Loaded

    In the end, all Butterfield fans owe a lot to the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation for sending Helander to Chicago to record Butterfield, even if he is a sideman at the time.

                                                                       





Saturday, November 9, 2013

# 2 Paul Butterfield and Rare Chicago Blues

    Fans of Post-war blues often don't realize that they are in fact listening to an urban folk music rooted in a the oppression created by a slave economy. It's a very humble beginning for a music which will become powerful enough to spawn the most important music of 20th century Western Culture.

    However, in spite of its international profile, blues is to all folk music in that it is created by a community of people with stories to tell in an effort to as Art Blakley says, to help settle the dust of the day. After all, authentic folk music, not the music manufactured in an advertisers office, breathes.

   Unfortunately, it seems that cultural movements, including folk music, become a victim of capitalism. It happens with Dixieland in the 20's, again with Rock 'n' Roll in the 50's and is happening now with Rap, and Hip Hop. During the 50's. the music industry is eager to capitalize on the popularity of Rock 'n' Roll naively over sell the music the mainstream audience and in the process a lose a an emerging group of baby boomers who are coming of age, The result is that millions of young fans are suspicious of the squeaky clean fun of Elvis, Pat Boone, and Jay and the Americans and listen for something new.  Traditional folk music will become their logical choice for some fresh and authentic.



   Their reaction is to turn away from the mainstream pop music of the day, and seek out music which they feel expresses something more authentic. During their quest, they reach back into the archives of their folk music heritage, and adopt some of it as their own.  In their quest for discovering their past they breath new life into hundreds of forgotten artists and their songs.

   By the late '50's the folk music fad becomes a movement, the audience grows, so does the commercialism of the movement. Recorded versions of old songs are bought, and being played in homes throughout the Western World.  Then, young folk singers begin appearing on television, radio, and in films, creating stars of kids who can play a couple of chords on a guitar and sing simple harmony. Once this market is established, a folk music festival circuit springs up across several countries and an official folk music revival is born.

    While hobbyists collect rare recorded performances, the real enthusiasts emulate the Lomax's, and literally track down long forgotten folksingers, documenting their lives. Many real fans are kind enough to invite artists into their homes, feed them, and then offer employment in local Coffee Houses.

    Some enthusiasts turn folk music into an academic venture, and engage in long circular discussions about genuineness of songs which often evolves into heated exchanges, and on occasion physical confrontations. Most of these young devotees are white, liberal educated, very middle class, and for many, the folk revival was just another form of cultural tourism.

    Paul Butterfield, and many other like minded kids in Chicago are drawn into this folk revival too. Folk music has become hip! Experiencing "authentic", "real" music is the de rigueur of the day, and they want to be part of that scene. So, it isn't unusual for a University of Chicago student like Norman Dayron to get involved in the local campus folk boom, and then venture into the culture of the South Side looking to record real creators of the art form.

     In the '40's, Chicago is a hub of the post war industrial migration of Afro-Americans, and the South Side is where most of them land. So, it is a community rich in the resource of a living folk music, called Post War Chicago Blues. It must seem like a gold mine for these young university students to realize they are only blocks away from such a resource. Butterfield, and a few other adventurous young people are rewarded for making the journey and end up with front row seats to see and hear some of the greatest blues singers of all time.

   Which leads us to the focus of this post. To be honest, when I first buy  Rare Chicago Blues, 1962 - 1968  in 1995, it's only because of the Butterfield tracks. I have heard of some of the other artists, but never entertain much interest in their work. However, I discover that most of the other music is pretty good too. It is also a great historical document for what was going on locally in Chicago and it is really well produced. I am happy to say, it has manages to remain one of my favourite Chicago Blues albums.

    Butterfield plays on three of the twenty tracks and as we are only interested in the Butterfield contributions, let's look at what he does on those tracks:

# 8 Diggin’ My Potatoes: Butterfield's playing is featured along with James Cotton on vocals, and Elvin Bishop, guitar. Butterfield's acoustic harp work is stunning when you consider he is only around 20 years of age. He has such a full, confident tone and already wailing in his own distinctive diatonic harmonica  voice. Keep in mind that James Cotton is a veteran bluesman by this point, and Butterfield the newbie. However, the listener will hear Butterfield as an equal not a novice.

 # 15 Big Joe Williams - Wild Cow Moan, You can hear Butterfield's  signature clucking single note tone and clean fast runs. Even his powerful vibrato is evident on this track. I am pretty sure he is using a harmonica in C.



#17  Three Harp Boogie(instrumental). James Cotton, (Muddy's former harp player), and a solo act by this time, and Billy Boy Arnold who is already a successful recording artist with a 1955 Veejay hit I Wish You Would . Butterfield's future bass player, Jerome Arnold is Billy Boy's brother.  Another point that should be mentioned about this track is how impressive it is that both Butterfield, and Elvin Bishop demonstrate that they can hold their own with established blues artists. This is quite a feat for guys who could not have been playing very long.

     If you are a fan of Butterfield's harmonica style this is a great place to start. These tracks are probably his first known recordings. It is inaccurate to think you will witness his playing in its infancy because at 20 years of age, he is advanced. He definitely capable of sitting in with these two veteran harp players.

                                                         


Friday, November 1, 2013

# 1 In His Own Dream


    #1 In His Own Dream


It is easy for the marketing department of a record label to promote one of their artists with words such as 'great', 'groundbreaking', 'innovative' or a host other superlatives, but quite another to demonstrate that through example. The historian's task is to dig deeper and uncover the evidence to support the claims. Paul Butterfield is good example of an artist who has been lauded by marketing departments and journalists for decades but little is known about what his deeper contributions were to American popular music during his career and his legacy which is being heard three decades after his death. He really did change the direction of popular music.

Firstly, Paul Butterfield is often remembered in skimpy histories of rock and blues as only a 'white' blues singer and harmonica player who was spearheaded an interest in blues by mainstream rock audiences during the 1960s. However, a closer look at his contributions, we will realize that his contribution were far more lasting than an artist. The facts point toward an artist who was He was an important artistic leader in Americana music, an innovative instrumentalist, a convincing interpreter of blues standards, a gifted songwriter, performer, and bandleader. All of his contributions helped to pioneer the benchmarks for Americana during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Unlike most of the blues men he learned his craft from in the late fifties, Butterfield did not grow up in a ghetto environment rife with racism, crime and poverty, he grew up in the leafy cosmopolitan Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park. He studied classical flute, was surrounded by art, and the benefit of opportunities. It was only because of its proximity to the surrounding ghetto neighborhood known as the south side he ended up being one of the first white kids to serve an apprenticeship with some of the greatest post war blues artists America has ever produced. He regularly spent face time with people like Muddy Waters, Jame Cotton, Little Walter, Jr. Wells, Otis Rush and a host of other Chicago blues luminaries.

Butterfield's first experience with real blues was around fifteen years of age when he watched Muddy Waters perform Mannish Boy in a south side bar. It was this experience that set him on his journey to become a blues man. By the early sixties, he was well known among the university of Chicago crowd, but he didn't achieve national and then international attention until after he performed at the July 1965 edition of The Newport Festival.

Butterfield's band The Paul Butterfield Blues Band were not a featured act at the festival, but the weekend help to catapult them into international consciousness. They were only presented on a very  small stage while festival goers entered the grounds, but there were two important events that weekend that changed the trajectory of both his career and popular music.

Firstly, as a background note, the folk revival of the late fifties and early sixties were coming to an end and the 'old guard' were still clutching to their old ideas about folk music. These 'folk purists' lead by people such as Pete Seeger and Alan Lomax were generally politically left leaning but quite conservative when it came to folk music. They thought of the music as more a history lesson instead of an active art form and were quite rigid when it came to both the performance of material and the instrumentation of that material. They wanted it to be acoustic and played as close to the original as possible. But they were outgunned. The folk purists didn't seem to believe any white artist could authentically interpret blues. It was a a case of reverse racism. This attitude would plaque Butterfield for most of career. He was falsely accused of only 'aping' Little Walter or not being an authentic exponent of blues because of his race.

The baby boomers were coming of age by 1965 and they wanted music that resonated with their lives not the previous generations. The Rock and roll of the fifties had become stale and had morphed into rock with a new generation of artists like the Beatles and Rolling Stones coming over in what the press labeled 'the British Invasion'. The 'new' music used some of the folk chord progression but it was louder, faster and most of all it was theirs. Even the emperor of folk revival Bob Dylan could see and hear the changes.

So the old guard saw Butterfield with his abrasive interpretations of blues as a blatant affront to the old ways. When The Paul Butterfield Blues Band appeared at a workshop the introduction from the 'old guard' was less than complementary. After all, in their minds they saw a young white middle class man of 23 years of age who had the temerity to call his band a blues band and claim to be able to play real blues only at rock tempos.

Little did these self appointed members of the folk intelligentsia know that Butterfield's band was racially diverse with a couple of south side journeymen in the rhythm section and everyone else had spent more time learning from the masters than most of the people in the whole folk movement. three white guys who had apprentice with some of the greatest post war urban blues artists in America. It could be argued that that event was both the beginning of the end for the folk revival and the launching of Butterfield's profile as a trailblazer. 


There was a new generation of fans who wanted folk to change with the birth of rock. They wanted music to be played louder, faster and reflecting the new sounds of British bands like the the Rolling Stones and Beatles. So when Butterfield's electric band appeared at a workshop the introduction from the 'old guard' was less than complementary. After all, in their minds they saw a young white guy of 23 years of age who had the temerity to call his band a blues band and play blues at rock tempos. Little did these self appointed members of the folk intelligentsia know that Butterfield's band was made up of journeymen with a rhythm section and three white guys who had apprentice with some of the greatest post war urban blues artists in America. It could be argued that that event was both the beginning of the end for the folk revival and the launching of Butterfield's profile as a trailblazer. 
Firstly because he was a white performer who was offending the folkies by playing amplified blues and secondly because Bob Dylan used his band as a back up band for part of his performance at the festival.

In October of that year, his first album, "The Paul Butterfield Blues Band" was released and thousands of mostly white kids picked up electric guitars and harmonicas to form their own blues band in an effort capture that energy. This is pivitol where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had come ot America promoting Chess records artists like Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry, Butterfield knew all of these guys, had personal relationship with them and served an apprenticeship with them. He was playing authentic blues, taking the dying music to its next logical stage of growth and he was showing young white kids that they could do the same thing.

There is a problem with blues music, the subject matter is very adult and the listener needs life experience to capture its essence. This is a problem for record labels as their audience will tend to be young people with curiousity, young people who want to pretend to have life experience but don't and adults who know about infidelity, divorce etc. The bottom line is that blues doesn't sell very well in the all important 16 to 24 market and never has. When Butterfield named his band The Paul BUtterfield Blues Band, it was a brash statement in a an effort to in the door, but once established it was a marketing label which didn't reflect the content.
The first album was a collection of blues standards played loud at rock tempo with a some original material like Born In Chicago, Our Love is Driftin' thrown into the mix but by the second album Buttefield had moved on. He was now exploring hard bop jazz and long instrumentals in East West. His band was no longer a 'blues band' But Elektra, owned his brand and logo
He is important because he performed authentic blues and he was white.
In October of 1965 Butterfield released his first album The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. In the context of the late folk era and early days of Rock a young white man calling his band a ‘blues band’ would be considered brash. That band was an energetic group and showed promise to his lable Elektra who took upon themselves to change the band’s name to the Alliterated Butterfield Blues Band. This decision would end up causing both Elektra and Butterfield problems in the coming years.

It might be because the themes within blues are really of an adult nature that it does sell well in the mainstream markets. There are exceptions but generally speaking the 16 to 24 market are not consumers of blues. So, Butterfield two problems, one being in a ‘blues band’ created promotion problems because record stores, interviewers, trade magazines all want to discuss BBB as a blues band which they are not. By the second album East West the band was experimenting with hard bop jazz and longer instrumentals with Eastern influences. The blues label also followed Butterfield for the rest of career and he was constantly defending his music as blues based rather than blues.
So what was the music of Paul Butterfield? It is probably best to refer to it as Americana because while he played blues, almost as a tradition rather than a sensibility, his music is really a blend of blues, rock, jazz, folk, military, and even a little classical.
While Butterfield was not a prolific songwriter, he did write some good songs such Lovin’ Cup, In My Own Dream, Run Out of Time, Blind Leading the Blind, and You Can Run But You Can’t Hide. He never had any of his songs make the top ten lists but many of them have been covered by people such as Albert King and Karen Dalton or used for TV show soundtracks like the Wire.
Butterfield became a band leader at 22 years of age and had no experience in the area. His only models were people like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ wolf who often deal with older southside musicians who were not as reliable and dynamic seemed to be of a strong inflexible leader who delievered orders and often threats. This approach didn’t always work with the younger middle class people in his band and for a time he developed a reputation as a prick.
As he aged and gained experience he became a more egalitatian leader and was quite encouraging. He also had an ear for talent and many of a generation’s most influential musicians had their first international exposure in his band. i.e. Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop, David Sanborn, BUsgy Maugh, Buzzy Feiten, Maria Muldaur, Amos Garrett
Butterfield was a multi instrumentalist playing piano, flute and guitar but his primary instruments were his voice and diatonic harmonica. As a blues singer he was quite skilled and performed interpretations of standard blues with a visceral energy afforded only to greats like BB King and Muddy Waters. However, he is best remembered as a harmonica player. He used Hohner ten hole diatonic harmonicas which he endorsed in the sixties. The Marine Band covers three octaves over twenty holes so in order to attain many of the notes in a scale the player needs to use a technique to bend the reed. Blues often uses a minor third, a minor fifth and minor seventh to help create its distinctive sound.

Often it is the technique a musician uses on his instrument which differentiates him from his contemporaries. This techqiue say in the case of Django Reinhart may be the result of a physical anomaly or it could be a creative choice the artist make, but it is this that diffeentiatess them from their peers. Butterfield was different in that he used a technique called lip pucker to attain his tone on the harmonica. Most of the blues players use a tongue blocking technique. Butterfield had an very full tone and always deleivered his phrasing with a gret deal of intensity and utilized a very heavy vibrato.