Throughout his career he consistently demonstrates both an acute ear for talent, and an ability to successfully lead musicians toward his musical vision. Most of the talent Butterfield hires will become career musicians, and make their own significant contributions to several decades of popular music. It is while playing in one of the Butterfield bands that most will either receive their initial artistic credentials, and launch them into life long careers as great musicians.
So, what happens to all of these great musicians after the Butterfield Blues Band ends in 1972?
Sam Lay - The blues drummer earns the title the Shuffle Master while on The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It is on that album, that Lay also makes his first recorded attempt at being the lead vocalist of a band with his interpretation of Muddy Waters' I Got My Mojo Workin' . Unfortunately, Lay contracts the respiratory illness pleurisy, and is forced to hand over his role in the band to Billy Davenport. However, Lay's health will return, and in the coming decades he will record eight solo albums, tour and record with a Who's Who of Chicago Blues, and promote his brief time working with Butterfield. In addition to his many contributions to music, Lay was also a film hobbyist, and made many home movies of life in the Chicago blues clubs of the '50's and '60's. Some clips from these films are shown in a few different music documentaries. As 2014, Lay is still working.
Elvin Bishop - The academically gifted Oklahoma farm boy who moves to Chicago with a scholarship to study physics at U.of C., but instead pursues his love of Chicago Blues, becomes a regular in the South Side clubs, and a friend of Butterfield's. It is while working in the Butterfield band that he hones his skills as a blues guitarist, songwriter and singer. His work on The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East West, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw,and In My Own Dream provide him with enough personal, and music industry confidence to leave the band in 1968, and pursue a successful career as a solo artist. As a solo artist, Bishop will continue to develop his talents to become a respected songwriter, bandleader, and a master of the talking blues style. As of 2014, he has recorded over 20 albums, and enjoyed a #3 pop hit in 1976 with his song Fooled Around and Fell in Love. Next to David Sanborn, he is also the most commercially successful member of all the Butterfield Bands. He is also prodigious gardener, still tours, and records with his band.
Mike Bloomfield - He is the only member to enter the band sporting a recording contract with Columbia records, but it is while in The Paul Butterfield Blues Band that his career moves to another level. He becomes the first American guitar hero of his generation while in the Butterfield band. He plays slide & electric guitar, keyboards, contributes creative direction as well as original material to The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and East West. Bloomfield is the primary composer of the first extended instrumental in Rock, East West. He leaves the band after the release of East West, in part, to capitalize on the international recognition he earns while playing in Butterfield's band. Bloomfield will enjoy a successful career as: a guitarist, producer, composer, studio musician, historian, writer, bandleader, and guitar hero. Thanks to to a devoted fan base, his significant contributions to the popular music of a generation are well documented. He died as a result of an apparent drug overdose in San Francisco California on February 15th 1981.
Gene Dinwiddie - The Louisville, Kentucky native and oldest member of the Butterfield band, contributes tenor sax, flute, tambourine, mandolin, arrangements, and vocals, to The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, In My Own Dream, Keep on Movin', Live and Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin. In addition, his age and knowledge of Jazz often place him in the position of unofficial leader of the band. After the Butterfield Blues Band ends, he records with Greg Allman, Melissa Manchester, James Cotton, and Etta James. He is also a founding member of the Jazz/Rock Fusion band Full Moon. Later he relocates to California where he plays saxophone in his community church, and dies on January 11th 2002.
Keith Johnson - The New York City musician's primary role in the Butterfield Blues Band is trumpeter, but after Naftalin leaves he also fills in on piano, and organ. He contributes to The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, In My Own Dream and Keep On Movin'. After leaving the band in late '69 he returns to New York City where he works as an arranger, trumpeter, keyboardist, and producer. He also does brief stints with Van Morrison, Elephant's Memory, Etta James, and works with his wife in the 70's, Martha Velez. He is still working.
Buzzy Feiten - He joins the band as a guitarist when he is only 19 years old, but also contributes organ, piano, vocals, french horn to Keep On Movin'. He becomes disenchanted with the artistic direction (too much pop) of the band, and leaves to pursue a career as bandleader, studio guitarist, writer, producer, and inventor. The catalogue of music that Feiten contributes from 1970 to 2014 is impressive: Felix Caveliere, Rickie Lee Jones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Tanya Tucker, Edwin Starr, and Jennifer Warnes to name only a few. In addition, he becomes a much imitated guitarist, and develops a reputation as a musician's musician. Feiten is also founder, and leader of the first Jazz/Rock Fusion band Full Moon. In addition, he is also the inventor of the patented Buzz Feiten Tuning System which is popular with guitarists worldwide. He is still working.
Rod Hicks - The Detroit native joins the Butterfield Blues Band after six years with Aretha Franklin's band, contributes fretless electric bass (a new instrument in the '60's), cello, vocals, and composition to Keep On Movin', Live, and Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'. After the Butterfield Band ends, he moves back to Detroit where he becomes a fixture in the local Jazz scene, and works as a road musician, appearing with Paul Butterfield's Better Day's several times. One of his songs Highway 28 is used by Butterfield on the first Better Days album. Hicks also contributes to 1970's studio albums by artists such as Peter Paul and Mary, & Peter Yarrow. He dies Jan 2nd, 2013 at 71 of cancer.
Dennis Whitted - plays drums on Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin', and then goes on to play with the brilliant blues singer Karen Dalton, and then Geoff Muldaur. He also records with Terrence Boylan,David Sanborn, the Fabulous Rhinestones and Michael Kamen. Whitted's most memorable work can be found on albums by Bonnie Raitt, whom he records, and tours with several times. According to his youngest brother he dies in a motorcycle accident in 1993.
The video is a recording of Philip Wilson's Jazz/Rock Fusion band Deadline. The innovative 1985 album is called Down By Law, and features Paul Butterfield on the most impressive track - Makossa Rock