Wednesday, March 5, 2014

# 35 In My Own Dream

    One of the significant contributions Bob Dylan makes to popular music is the introduction of singer who is also the composer of his own songs. After Dylan, pop music becomes an artist based art form where audiences expect their favourite singers to be guitar toting troubadours who write their own material. It opens many doors for songwriters, but it also places a lot of pressure on artists who aren't as gifted at the craft.

    This new artist based trend will become an industry trend for most of the sixties and early seventies before playing a less central role in the mainstream market. Woodstock introduces artists and promoters to the realization that large Rock concerts are not only possible, but will reap huge profits when they cater to big audiences. This seems to be the turning point where Rock makes a shift toward audience based music. Listen to Country Joe MacDonald lead 500,000 people in his Give me an F'.... cheer.

    Butterfield isn't a prolific songwriter, but he is definitely a member of the artist based trend. He plays the romantic role of the blues singer, offering his interpretations of songs with his harmonica in the supporting role. However, in '68, he retreats from this public persona, and tries to adopt the less romantic role of just a member of a band of musicians. Unfortunately for him, his fan base is not ready for the change.
   This may explain why his fourth album In My Own Dream marks the beginning of the end for the Butterfield Blues Band. (It peaks at #79) Butterfield only sings three of the seven songs, and only one of them is a blues standard. (Maugh takes the lead on two, Bishop on one, and Wilson on one.)  The more member inclusive format could be a result of the bad press he receives for his past behaviour as bandleader, or a personal need to get out of the spotlight, but it is a clear departure from his previous role as a front man.

   However, the music does not suffer as a result of his new role; it is a more mature set of tracks than previous albums. The songs are more methodical pieces featuring: fat horn charts, tasty sax solos, tight back beats, visceral vocal arrangements, as well as stinging harp and guitar solos. Butterfield's version of Just to Be With You should go down in history as the best version ever produced. (Yes, ever is not too strong a word). In addition, all of the tracks, especially Butterfield's autobiographical title song, do not sound dated, even forty-six year later.

     However, many of the Rock critics of the day, do not share the same affection for In My Own Dream. Some propose that Butterfield is traveling too far into the Jazz genre, and pushing away his younger audience who are already suspect of Jazz because of its affiliation with the establishment.
But, while the Butterfield band has become a proponent of a Jazz sensibility during their live performances, In My Own Dream is not a Jazz album. It isn't a Blues, Rock, Soul, Gospel, or R & B album either, but rather an amalgam of those elements. One critic even accuses the young mid-sixties audiences of being less open minded than they would like the world to believe. However, it seems that the greater problem for critics of In My Own Dream is that the album requires the listener to suspend the reflexive need to categorize, and let the music be itself.

    In My Own Dream also marks the end of yet another configuration of the Butterfield Blues Band. In 1968, Butterfield is a major creative force in Rock, and this type of public adulation leaves him vulnerable to departures by soloist in his band. Three important members will leave after the release of the album, in part, because of the recognition they earn as members of the Butterfield Blues Band.

   Mark Naftalin has been on the road, and in the studio with the Butterfield band for almost four years, and he chooses to pursue a more stable life in San Francisco area. He will become an active studio musician, performer, producer, radio show host, concert performer, and owner of his own record label Winner Records.

   Elvin Bishop collects his Crabshaw persona, and moves to San Francisco where he will begin a very prosperous career as a singer/songwriter, and band leader. He will record over 20 solo albums, and experience many of the perks, and challenges of having a mainstream pop hit. In 1976, Fooled Around and Fell in Love will peak at  #3.

    Bugsy Maugh is offered a two record deal by Dot Records. His first release Bugsy which uses Dinwiddie, Sanborn, Johnson,Wilson, and Bishop's  replacement Buzzy Feiten will receive a Grammy nomination in 1969. He will release one more album Inside Bugsy, and then return home to mid-west where he is still working as a musician.

    After the decline in popularity of the Butterfield Blues Band begins, Butterfield will make several attempts to return to his role as the Blues Singer, but it will prove to be a challenge. He will not return to a more member inclusive format until his period with his Roots band, Better Days.

Butterfield Blues Band : In My Own Dream     

1) Last Hope’s Gone, 2) Mine to Love, 3) Get Yourself Together, 4) Just To Be With You, 5) Morning Blues, 6) Drunk Again, 7) In My Own Dream.

Paul Butterfield: Vocal, Harmonica, (guitar on In My Own Dream),
Elvin Bishop: Guitar, (vocal on Drunk Again),
Naffy Markham (Mark Naftalin): Keyboards,
Bugsy Maugh: Bass ( vocal on Mine To Love and Morning Blues),
Philip Wilson: Drums and Conga,( vocal on Get Yourself Together),
Gene Dinwiddie: Tenor Sax, Flute, (tambourine and mandolin on In My Own Dream),
David Sanborn: Soprano, Alto, and Baritone Saxes,
Keith Johnson: Trumpet and Piano on Drunk Again.

The Icebag Four Vocal Group: Bugsy Maugh, John Court, Gene Dinwiddie, and Philip Wilson,

Al Kooper: Organ on Just To Be With You and Drunk Again.

Produced by: John Court for Groscourt Productions, Cover Art: Gene Safran, Art Direction:
William S. Harvey    


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