Thursday, January 23, 2014

# 24 Strawberry Jam

    I wonder if Mark Naftalin has any idea what he's getting into when he accepts the offer to join the Butterfield band in 1965. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of that city's mayor, he grows up listening to, and playing Rock & Roll, as well as Blues. Then in 1961, he leaves Minneapolis to start his degree at the University of Chicago.

    While at the university, he is active in music scene, playing piano at the campus "Twist Parties". This is where he first meets Butterfield, Bishop, and many of the other young people who will become known on the West Coast as the "Chicago Crowd".  In '64, Naftalin graduates,  and moves to New York City with the intention of studying music at the city's prestigious Mannes College of Music. This is where the direction of his life changes.

    He isn't in New York for long when the Butterfield band arrives in midtown to record The Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Mastertone Studios. The size of the band has changed a little from its heyday playing Big John's on the North Side. The addition of Bloomfield has caused it to swell from a four to a five piece outfit. There has never been any serious talk of including keyboards, so, he, nor the band is expecting what will happen next.

    While in the studio on September 9th of '65, he ends up sitting in on organ as part of a band warm up before they start the recording session. Everyone in the group likes the added dynamic to sound enough that Butterfield asks Naftalin to contribute to eight of the eleven tracks, and of course the rest is history. You can hear that warm up instrumental Thank You Mr. Poobah, (Thank You Mr. Paul Butterfield) on the first album.

   After those sessions, Naftalin enjoys a rich three year career with the Butterfield band, writing, arranging, touring, and recording four albums with them from '65 to '68.  His contributions can be heard on The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East West, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw and In My Own Dream.  Then, in 1968 he leaves them for a new life playing music on the West Coast. It too, becomes a rewarding career of performing, writing, producing, and doing studio work for countless artists. As for his contributions to the four Butterfield albums, these are some of Butterfield's most creative albums. Fortunately, for fans of the earlier configurations of the band, Naftalin has the good sense to set up a tape recorder at some of the gigs in an effort capture some of the excitement they create in live performances.

    In 1995, he discovers these tapes, performs as the producer, and releases them as two separate  CDs :  East West Live, and the topic of this blog post, Strawberry Jam.  It's a mix of performances as they continue to change their sound from a Blues-Rock format to music with more of a Rhythm & Blues/ Jazz influence.
 
   Of particular interest to dedicated fans of the Butterfield band, as well as collectors, the recordings are a glimpse into the period in 1967 when Bloomfield is leaving leaving, and the new lineup prepares to play the Monterey Pop Festival in June of '67. The sound quality is just adequate.  Have a listen to the Naftalin composition Strawberry Jam, I posted below and decide for yourself.

    Strawberry Jam  is still available for purchase on Naftalin's Winner label. If you are a true fan of the Butterfield Band, I recommend it. However, if you are just being introduced to their music, I would leave it on the shelf for now.

1) Just To Be With You: (recorded at Whiskey A Go-Go in Hollywood California, winter of 1966)
    Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Michael Bloomfield: Guitar,
    Mark Naftalin: Keyboards, Jerome Arnold: Bass, Billy Davenport: Drums.  

2) Mystery Train: (recorded at Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, Cal., spring 1967)
     Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Mark Naftalin: Keyboards,
     Jerome Arnold: Bass, Billy Davenport: Drums.

3) Tollin' Bells: (recorded at Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, Cal., spring 1967)
     Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Michael Bloomfield: Guitar,
     Mark Naftalin: Keyboards, Jerome Arnold: Bass, Billy Davenport: Drums

4) Cha Cha In Blues: (inst.), (recorded at Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, Cal., spring 1967)
    Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Mark Naftalin: Keyboards,
    Jerome Arnold: Bass, Billy Davenport: Drums.

5) Rock Me: (recorded at The New Penelope , Montreal, summer of 1967)
    Paul Butterfield: harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Mark Naftalin: Keyboards,
    Bugsy Maugh: Bass, Philip Wilson: Drums, Keith Johnson: Trumpet, Gene Dinwiddie: 
    Tenor Sax.

6) One More Heartache: (recorded at The New Penelope, Montreal, summer of 1967)
    Paul Butterfield: harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Mark Naftalin: Keyboards,
    Bugsy Maugh: Bass, Philip Wilson: Drums, Keith Johnson: Trumpet, Gene Dinwiddie: 
    Tenor Sax.

7) Strawberry Jam: (recorded at JD’s Tempe, Arizona in the winter of 1968)
    Paul Butterfield: harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Mark Naftalin: Keyboards,
    Bugsy Maugh: Bass, Philip Wilson: Drums, Keith Johnson: Trumpet, Gene Dinwiddie:
    Tenor Sax, and David Sanborn: alto Sax

8) Come On In This House: (recorded at Golden Bear, Huntington Beach California, in the
     winter of 1967)
      Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Michael Bloomfield: Guitar, 
      Mark Naftalin: Keyboards, Jerome Arnold: Bass, Billy Davenport: Drums.

9)  Born In Chicago, (recorded at Golden Bear, Huntington Beach California, in the winter of 1967)
      Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, Elvin Bishop: Guitar, Michael Bloomfield: Guitar,
      Mark Naftalin: Keyboards, Jerome Arnold: Bass, Billy Davenport: Drums.

                                                     












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