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Live at Bill Graham's Fillmore West: 1969 CD

4 customer reviews

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Michael Bloomfield was one of America's first great white blues guitarists, earning his reputation on the strength of his work in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His expressive, fluid solo lines and prodigious technique graced many other projects -- most notably Bob Dylan's earliest electric forays -- and he also pursued a solo career, with variable results. Uncomfortable with the ... Read more in Amazon's Michael Bloomfield Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Raven
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,871 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. It Takes Time
2. Oh Mama
3. Love Got Me
4. Blues on a Westside / Nick Gravenites
5. One More Mile to Go / Nick Gravenites
6. It's About Time
7. Carmelita Skiffle / Nick Gravenites Instrumental
8. Killing My Love
9. Gypsy Good Time
10. Holy Moly
11. Moon Tune
12. Mary Ann

Product Description

Definitive version, on one CD, of a legendary concert by Michael Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore West in 1969. Raven presents for the first time on one CD, the legendary concert by Michael Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore West in 1969. With bonus track, superb quality audio, color booklet and informative liner notes. The late, great Bloomfield is recognised as one of the finest and most influential blues guitarists that America has ever produced. Best known for his astonishing technique and the piercing tone of his solos, he was a member of the ground-breaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band, played on Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone' and backed him at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when Dylan first went 'electric'. He helped pioneer horn-rock with the Electric Flag and the Super Session concept with Al Kooper as well as recording Triumvirate with John Hammond Jr and Dr. John. Bloomfield and Gravenites – lead singer of the Flag and a respected bluesman in his own right – cut an incendiary performance at the Fillmore West which yielded this phenomenal album. The concert was split across the original Live at Fillmore West vinyl and Gravenites' My Labors album, and the tracks have now been recombined on one stellar CD. Includes 'It Takes Time', 'Killing My Love', 'Gypsy Good Time', 'Blues on a Westside'

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fred Cordiano on 18 Dec. 2009
Format: Audio CD
I thank Amazon UK for having this great live lost album. This CD is not to be found in. The USA.
Mike Bloomfield was second only to Hendrix! From start to beginning this CD will thrill you and hold your attention. The musicans are tops. Listen to Nicks vocals. Blues on the West Side is just an orgy of changes.
Mike rest in peace and thank you!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. R. Bush on 11 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Just browsing through my 'Recommendations' page on Amazon and came across this lost gem. I've owned this album on vinyl for many years but never expected it to see the light of day on CD. You'll either love it (for the live musicianship and some great tracks) or you will hate it as being nothing more than pointless glorified jams. Personally I love it and my order has already gone into Amazon and can't wait to hear the extra tracks which didn't make it onto the original vinyl. One thing that always struck me as strange about this album is that it sounds as though there are only about 20 - 30 people in the audience
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. HOLMES on 31 May 2011
Format: Audio CD
I bought this on vinyl in the early 1970s, and always liked it, so I'm not quite sure why I did not replace it on cd when my vinyl was sold. I guess it was probably because it was not available!

However, here it is again, with the addition of some extra tracks (including, rather inexplicably, one from the Live Adventures album). Suffice to say that it is a good record of a typically loose Bloomfield jam, which seemed to take place fairly regularly in the late 1960s, when he was without a regular band gig. My favourite track was always the instrumental Carmelita Skiffle, but there are plenty of others to be enjoyed.

The playing and singing is good (though not great), but at least the bum notes and odd moments when the beat goes slightly astray have not been re-done later in the studio - leading to a genuine live gig feel for the album.

Personally, I wouldn't put Bloomfield in the same class as Green, Clapton and Taylor were at that time, but he certainly loved his blues, and it shows in his playing.

All-in-all, a very enjoyable album of guitar based blues, though probably not essential for every collector!
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By A. G. Ruck on 4 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD
one of the greatest live recordings right up there with the allmans fillmore live. mike bloomfield made great music with paul butterfield but never reached those heights again except with this recording. blues on a westside is essential for any blues collection and one of the greatest guitar solo's ever recorded. get this plus the first two butterfield albums and you have the best of bloomfield.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Stratospheric! 31 May 2009
By M. Bernocchi - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
You are in front of one of the greatest live blues album ever! I am not scared about making this statement as I believe that this is absolutely true. This live set recorded in 1969 finds Mike at the pick of his carrier and in a fantastic shape. Michael performance in here is so good to leave you speechless. Numbers like Blues On A Westside, Moon Tune, It Takes Time, Killing My Love, Carmelita Skiffle, It's About Time, One More Mile To Go are real gems that are going to remain in the history of blues music. More, they should be played in every music school to teach how electric blues is meant to be played! Surely Mike has been one of the most, if not the most, influential white blues guitarist ever lived. Just listen to the intro of Blues On A West Side and then to Ronnie Earl's Rego Park Blues final solo (live version) and you will see. However in this fantastic album packed from start to finish with excellence also the performances of the great vocalist Nick Gravenites deserves a special mention as it does the guest appearance of Taj Mahal. This is a 1969 recording sounding as fresh as it was recorded yesterday, a real masterpiece that deserves attention not just from blues lovers but also from everyone who love music.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Reissued at Last, and Still One of Bloomfield's Most Powerful 30 April 2010
By BluesDuke - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let's see if I have this straight---Sony/Columbia Legacy saw fit to let two of these performances ("It Takes Time" and the incandescent "Carmelita Skiffle") turn up to round off their excellent Michael Bloomfield overview ("Don't Say That I Ain't Your Man," in 1998) but not to let the entire original album (released in 1969), plus the performances that were saved for Nick Gravenites' "My Labours," see the light of day once more.

Leaving it to Australia's Raven label to do what should have been done long enough ago. Considering Legacy's diligence in its "Roots 'n' Blues" series and with much of the Bloomfield canon from his Columbia years, that omission should be considered a crime. That said, thank Raven for its own diligence and for producing a set that presents everything Columbia recorded (save "Winter Country Blues," omitted for space reasons but still alive and well on the reissued "My Labours") the 1969 weekend Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, and a few of their regular musical partners (including Bloomfield's former Butterfield Blues Band teammate Mark Naftalin on piano, his "Live Adventures" bassist John Kahn, his soon-to-be-frequent drummer Bob Jones, and erstwhile Electric Flag baritone saxophonist Snooky Flowers) commandeered the Fillmore West for some freewheeling blues and soul jamming.

Concede the point that this isn't exactly "Super Session Mk III" (and not just because organist Ira Kamin is no Al Kooper, though he's quite tasteful and sinuous in his own right), and you have one of the most powerful documents in the Bloomfield catalog. The horns and the Gravenites voice may deceive you into thinking this was a kind of projection of what Bloomfield ultimately wished the Electric Flag to have been, but this music is far more tightly grounded in blues and soul than the eclectic (and ill-fated) Flag, and these musicians, whatever their individual inclinations, are most at home in those two neighbourhoods. Gravenites has rarely been heard in better or more soulful voice, even when it cracks now and then; Kahn, Jones, and conga player Dino Andino play as though they'd been welded together for years; Naftalin and Kamin are as supple a keyboard team as you could ask without stepping on each other's corns; and the horns---Flowers, Gerald Oshita (baritone sax), Noel Jewkis (tenor sax), and John Wilmeth (trumpet)---sound as buttery and exuberant as the tightest sessions of the Memphis Horns.

And Bloomfield? He gives more than enough evidence of what Al Kooper hoped to isolate with "Super Session" in the first place: catching him when he could just forget everything except playing his heart out, from the kickoff lick to "It Takes Time" (boy, did he never forget what Otis Rush among the other Chicago masters taught him as a teenager hanging around the classic southside blues clubs) to the last notes of "Moon Tune." And just about all points in between. If you missed out hearing it on "Don't Say I Ain't Your Man: Essential Blues, 1964-69" (it's since gone out of print), here's "Carmelita Skiffle"---the original vinyl release closer---and Bloomfield plain rollicking, practically squeezing everything he'd learned about and felt about the blues into one incendiarily melodious solo, before handing it off to Jewkis for a smooth saxophone break and Kamin for a soaring organ solo, before returning with an exclamation point of a coda.

In between? "Oh, Mama" is a Bloomfield composition, the kind of soul he'd begun exploring in the Electric Flag, and while the music is exquisite Bloomfield as a singer was a virtuoso guitarist. With Gravenites extending his breather, Jones takes a surprisingly solid vocal on the Arthur Conley chestnut "Love Got Me" (and you thought all Conley was good for was "Sweet Soul Music"). With Gravenites returning, "Blues on a Westside" lives up to its mini-legend as a wrenching jam, with Bloomfield absolutely soaring. Taj Mahal joins up for a throbbing "One More Mile," and Gravenites' "It's About Time" could be said to live up to its title, working blues into a James Brown-like groove in a more freewheeling style, guitar and piano wrestling each other's chords deftly and riding the rhythm smoothly, Bloomfield firing off a few horn-like bursts to set up his solo statement.

And the "My Labours" additions? All of them Gravenites compositions, the one that's most likely to stick in your head is "Gypsy Good Time," what they used to call funky blues, punctuated sweatily by Willmeth's trumpet phrases and Andino's rolling secondary rhythm, with the full band cutting a deep and wide groove over which Gravenites sings exuberantly and Bloomfield peels off a fiery, melodious solo.

It's a shame the compilers found no room for "Winter Country Blues" but chose to fill out the available space with "Mary Ann," a quartet performance (and a good one) from "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper," which is actually a good introduction to that set if you don't have it yet. Just why the new compilers saw fit to include that as a bonus track isn't made clear. But it shouldn't distract you from the power of the main attraction.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Best of the Best! 24 April 2009
By spudsurfer - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't say enough about this great album. I say album because I've owned the 8-track, the cassette, the LP and have pre-ordered the first release of it on CD next month. Taj Mahal, Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites anchor this music which surely was one of those moments in history when all factors converged to make musical history. The guitars, vocals, drums, they all came together to make the best blues album of the late 60's from Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium. You probably know of the legacy of the Fillmore aditoriums, East and West, and this album is true to that heritage. Maybe it doesn't contain the screamin' Janis Joplin, or the unorganized Jefferson Airplane, but it plays like a Family Dog poster, diverse groups meeting to make in tune, melodic music that has held up over the last 40 years. Don't miss this one. I strongly recommend it for all blues enthusiasts!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By BOB - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Raven release is simply the original "Live At Fillmore West", with the added live tracks from Nick Gravenites "My Labors", which were recorded at the same time.

The real oddity is the inclusion of "Mary Ann", which comes from the Kooper & Bloomfield Fillmore live album, recorded a year earlier.

However, the 2008 Japan mini-sleeve releases of both albums had even more tracks from these live sessions with Gravenites & Co.: "Stronger Than Dirt (6:20)" and "If I Ever Get Lucky (14:15)" on Fillmore and "Work Me Lord (4:25)", plus a blistering "Born In Chicago (10:04)" off Labors, over 35 minutes of additional, fabulous Fillmore bliss.

But, the Raven disc also has two tracks that do not appear on the Japan releases: "Holy Moly" and "Moon Tune".

So, if you want everything, you know what you gotta do! Unfortunately, good luck now finding the Japan Fillmore disc, as it is sold out & OOP. However, Sony does re-press/re-release mini-sleeve titles, so perhaps it will be available again in the future.

The Raven audio is a little louded-up, where the Japan discs are more accurate to the original dynamic range. There is also more in-between-song chatter on the Japan CD's that has been edited off the Raven.

Maybe someday, someone will do it right and release everything in one set. Who knows what else is in the vaults from these shows?


Have you ever lamented the loss of one of the 20th Century's great art forms, the 12" vinyl LP jacket? Then "mini-LP-sleeve" CD's may be for you.

Mini-sleeve CDs are manufactured in Japan under license. The disc is packaged inside a 135MM X 135MM cardboard precision-miniature replica of the original classic vinyl-LP album. Also, anything contained in the original LP, such as gatefolds, booklets, lyric sheets, posters, printed LP sleeves, stickers, embosses, special LP cover paper/inks/textures and/or die cuts, are precisely replicated and included. An English-language lyric sheet is always included, even if the original LP did not have printed lyrics.

Then, there's the sonic quality: Often (but not always), mini-sleeves have dedicated remastering (20-Bit, 24-Bit, DSD, K2/K2HD, and/or HDCD), and can often (but not always) be superior to the audio on the same title anywhere else in the world. There also may be bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.

Each Japan mini-sleeve has an "obi" ("oh-bee"), a removable Japan-language promotional strip. The obi lists the Japan street date of that particular release, the catalog number, the mastering info, and often the original album's release date. Bonus tracks are only listed on the obi, maintaining the integrity of the original LP artwork. The obi's are collectable, and should not be discarded.

All mini-sleeve releases are limited edition, but re-pressings/re-issues are becoming more common (again, not always). The enthusiasm of mini-sleeve collecting must be tempered, however, with avoiding fake mini-sleeves manufactured in Russia and distributed throughout the world, primarily on eBay. They are inferior in quality, worthless in collectable value, a total waste of money, and should be avoided at all costs.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fine Blues Music 8 Feb. 2010
By 6 String Guy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Lots of other reviews here so this will be my short 2 cents worth. This is a great CD and makes me sad to think that Bloomfield left us way too early. His solos are just beautiful on this show and the rest of the band are fine as well. Mike didn't play many solos less than 100% in his career and these are right up there with his best. He took the spirit of Freddie King and carried it on for us. No reservations on this one!

Side note - what's up with the person who reviewed the CD with 1 star because he/she did not receive it from Amazon as ordered? As I see it, the idea here is to review the music, not the retailer. How can you review a CD you haven't even heard?
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