Friday, March 14, 2014

# 38 Muddy Waters & Paul Butterfield Fathers and Sons Band Live

   Muddy Waters' Fathers and Sons album is really just an accidental byproduct of the Cosmic Joy-Scout Super-Jam. The charity concert is the original reason Bloomfield and Butterfield are in Chicago, not to make a studio album. (see post #37)

    It never receives as much attention as the studio performances, but fortunately, some of the details associated with the live show are documented. The Cosmic Joy-Scout Super-Jamboree is a one time concert to raise money for the Wheaton based Phoenix Academy in Chicago. It isn't a four day concert as some in Rock press state; but rather just a one time performance, held on Thursday, April 24th, 1969 at the Auditorium Theatre. In the end, the live performance serves three purposes: it does raise money for the original charity, it acts as a promotion for the studio album, and in addition, the live tracks work as a tasty supplement to the final Fathers and Sons album.

    Concert organizers (Nick Gravenites is the concert producer) sell 2600 tickets, however, another 200 end up sneaking into the show. The Muddy Waters Fathers and Sons Band is the headliner, and will appear around 10:45 p.m., but organizers have planned a full evening of entertainment for fans.

 Here is the concert line-up:

    As patrons file in Jazz drummer Roger Wandershield is on stage playing an African Finger Piano.

   Then, the Phoenix Academy representative, Jo Anna Guthrie comes out, and gives a speech about people, language, and the academy's mission. However, many in the audience grow impatient during her speech, and yell out MUSIC!.

    After the formalities are satisfied, the five girl Rock band from San Francisco, Ace of Cups appear, and do an uneven set. They are a fairly new band on the rock scene. One critic calls their performance Amateurish.

    As the concert picks up energy, Nick Gravenites comes out with members of the Quicksilver Messenger ServiceGreg Elmore on drums, bassist David Freilberg and John Cipolina on guitar, and they perform a few songs.

    Then the bigger stars arrive, Butterfield, Bloomfield, Duck Dunn, Ira Kamin (organ), and Buddy Miles (in a shocking purple outfit) come out, play Good Morning Little School Girl, Butterfield does a very convincing version of  Losing Hand, the band plays a shuffle version of Down on Broadway, and Miles sings a song called Texas. One critic notes that Butterfield appears very uncomfortable with Miles' heavy drumming.

   Then, with no introduction, Sam Lay and Otis Spann appear on stage before Waters makes his star entrance. He sings Hoochie Coochie ManLong Distance Call,  Baby Please Don’t Go, The Same Thing, Sail On, and finishes with Mojo. As is the tradition with most Waters concerts, he works his audience into a frenzy with Mojo pt 1, exits, but returns to perform Mojo pt. 2. The curtain goes down, and the audience pays a ten minute standing ovation for the masters performance.

    Rather than ending the concert with such a moving climax, James Cotton, Otis Spann, Buddy Miles, Tom Webb of the Rock band The Flock, come out, and play a set of tunes. It is a good jam session to witness, but creates an anti-climatic ending to an otherwise great show.

   According to the review of the concert posted in Downbeat, All the men on the (studio album) session were suppose to play at the Thursday night concert, but none seemed particularly excited about it.

   However, Butterfield tells Rolling Stone, It really made me feel good to get back, and really be playing some shit on the harp that was the shit I came from.

   In August of '69, most of this Muddy Waters Fathers and Sons Band set is released with the studio album, and the double album manages to work its way up to peak at # 70 on Billboard Album Charts.

    It is the first of a series of albums that American blues artists will make with popular Blues Rock stars of the late '60's and '70's, some good, others are weak. For example, Fathers and Sons producer, Norman Dayron will do the Howlin' Wolf London Sessions the next year. Soon, B.B. King, and John Lee Hooker will follow the pack. It is a pretty impressive trend considering it all starts with a humble suggestion Mike Bloomfield makes to Marshall Chess in early '69.


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