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My Labors

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Feb. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Acadia
  • ASIN: B00005JJ1M
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,909 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Killing My Love
2. Gypsy Good Time
3. Holy Moly
4. Moon Tune
5. My Labors
6. Throw Your Dog A Bone
7. As Good As You've Been to This World
8. Wintry Country Side
9. It Takes Time
10. Blues On A Westside
11. It's About Time

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jun. 2001
Format: Audio CD
One of the 5 best white blues albums ever. Nick Gravenites'tunes are among the best ever written in this genre (not only blues but also folk and R&B). Mike Bloomfield solos are IMHO his best captured on record (together with the "Fillmore West" LP). The brass section plays devinely. Do not miss that. My two vinyl copies will be at last safely stored.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Wall on 15 Jun. 2001
Format: Audio CD
After the breakup of Mike Bloomfield's Electric Flag, members of the band did 2 nights at the Fillmore West. Columbia recorded the shows and later divided the selections and released them on 2 different LPs, "My Labors" and "Live at the Fillmore West". The cuts on this new release contain all of the original "My Labors" LP and some choice cuts from "Live at the Fillmore West". Especially welcome is the inclusion of the extended track "Blues on the Westside". Gravenites is tremendous on this song; there is a terrific soprano sax solo, and finally one of Bloomfield's most searing solos. Another highlight is the number "Gypsy Good Time" in which Mike Bloomfield solos 4 choruses, introducing an incredible variety of feeling, intensity and melodic content, a real master class for anyone interested in hearing a I IV V refrain played to perfection. Copies of the original LP "My Labors" have soared at auction so the desire for this music has never disappeared, and now that longing has been fulfilled. Those who want to hear Taj Mahal's guest appearance with the group, singing "One More Mile" will have to continue to scour the Earth in search of ancient vinyl.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Buckjumper on 4 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A mixed bag as an album, but the best of Mike Bloomfield's guitar on the album is required listening for anyone who values his playing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Why did this take so long? 3 Dec. 2002
By Paul Ferris - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Many, many years ago I found a cutout LP copy of "Live at the Fillmore West" just before it disappeared from sight. For the last 15 years or so I was always on the look out for "My Labors" in used record stores figuring that Columbia would never issue it on CD. And it's not they who have. Nonetheless, when I saw the release of this material and promptly ordered a copy the days until the disc arrived were filled with great anticipation of hearing new guitar solos by Mike Bloomfield in his prime. Over the years, "Blues on the Westside" came to epitomize for me near perfection in the art of electric blues guitar. I'm glad to see it included here. I'd almost worn out my LP copy and finally made a CD of my own. If you are a serious fan of blues guitar and are hearing this for the first time, hold on. As a serious amateur player myself, I think this is really important stuff. I've studied his solos to death. Most of the rest of the material on "My Labors" was new to me and I was excited to hear it. All his (live) solos were obviously well received by the audiences at the Fillmore as can be heard by the applause after each solo. Bottom line is, if you are a Bloomfield fan or just a fan of good guitar playing I highly recommend this release. I could say you owe it to yourself to hear it. For all his personal problems and musical irregularities, when Mike Bloomfield was on top of his game, as he was on the nights of this recording, there was only a very small handful of guitar players who were in his same league.
FYI - Another recommedation, if you are interested in Mike Bloomfield the biography by Wolkin and Keenom offers a lot of good insight by people who knew him like Nick Gravenites, Charlie Musselwhite and Al Kooper.
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Some of Bloomfield's Best 31 July 2001
By N. Wakabayashi - Published on
Format: Audio CD
It's about time this album will finally be available on disc. One down, "Live at Fillmore West" to go....
This album is highly sought after due to the fact, it includes some of Mike Bloomfield's best playing that has been recorded. To my ears, this album has better cuts than the Butterfield albums & Super Session combined. Now, these albums have Bloomfield in fine form, but on My Labors, he's letting it all out as he proceeds to tear the roof off the sucka at the Fillmore.
Bloomfield simply rips into every cut with fury (after most solos, one can hear the audience in absolute awe) .... just listen to the tone he gets on this album compared with his other albums. While he really shines on every track, it's the slow blues numbers that are the absolute highlights. It's unfortunate that Taj's number doesn't appear to be on it...
Mike Bloomfield's work is quite frustrating due to his inconsistencies, his lack of focus, & Sony among others(there have to be more tapes of his gigs. Instead, we get Live at the Waldorf, which doesn't find him at his best). As good as the Butterfield albums & Super Session were, this was the album that really caught my attention to Mike Bloomfield. What was all the fuss about?? Take a listen to this album, & be prepared to be blown away by this ... kid with a fro'.
On a side note, if one can find the "Droppin' In With" shows with the Butterfield Blues band, get it.
It's funny in how many people revere the guitarists from the UK, when the US alreay had the biggest heavyweight in Bloomfield. While Clapton was playing the "blues" with Mayall.... Bloomfield was getting up on stage with Muddy, the Wolf, Otis Rush, & etc. He really had a large hand in how rock & roll has been shaped through the years (Dylan, the Super Sessions, East West, etc.) A truly forgotten talent that is missed.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
You Could Do That Back Then 18 Jan. 2004
By Jon Kleinman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The back cover of "My Labors and More" shows a black and white photo of Bill Graham's old Filmore West auditorium, located on the corner of Market and Van Ness streets in San Francisco. That same building is now a Honda dealership, and the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham left us a long time ago. The photo is a wistful reminder of a bygone era, and in many ways the same can be said for the music on this disc. Nowadays, blues acts tend to fit into neat, easy-to-recognize categories. You've got your Chicago revivalists, with their slide guitars, harps and Elmore James covers. And of course there are the guitar slingers, whose endless solos never seem to stray too far from Hendrix/Stevie Ray territory. While there are blues artists out there today that genuinely push the envelope, they often seem to be overshadowed by the acts that deliver more predictable crowd-pleasing music.
Nick Gravenites and his running buddy Mike Bloomfield (the guitarist on this disc) are two sorely overlooked figures in the history of blues and rock and roll. Mike Bloomfield was one of the original sixties "guitar gods", best remembered for his work with the Butterfield Blues Band and the "Super Session" album he recorded with Al Kooper. He also played lead guitar for Bob Dylan when he first "went electric"; he was onstage at the notorious Newport Folk Festival when Dylan was booed by folk-purists. Bloomfield died in the early eighties, but remains an idol for blues and rock guitarists to this day. Nick Gravenites remains an even more obscure figure than Bloomfield. In the early 60's Chicago, Nick was part of the small clique of "white blues kids" who pushed racial barriers by hanging out in Chicago's south side blues joints and jamming with the musicians. He was a close friend of Paul Butterfield, writing the song "Born in Chicago" for the Butterfield Blues band. In the late sixties, Nick and Bloomfield formed the short-lived rock and soul band Electric Flag. After The Flag broke up, Nick and Mike still performed together regularly; Nick's gruff voice and wry lyrics can be heard on Mike's "Live at the Old Waldorf."
My Labors and More" captures Nick and Mike live at the Filmore West, cranking out a unique blend of rock, blues and soul that you just don't seem to hear live onstage anymore. Nick's lyrics are introspective and contain a healthy dose of wry humor; as a songwriter, he's always known that the blues can be about more than just black cat bones and mojo hands. The man is also one fine vocalist; blues fans who believe that white vocalists can never measure up to their black counterparts may change their minds after listening to this disc. In addition to the fine lyrics and vocals, this disc has more than enough hot soloing to satisfy Bloomfield fans and other electric guitar hounds. The band backing Nick and Mike included a piano, organ and a four piece horn section. A band this size doesn't need to rely so heavily on the guitar as a rhythm instrument; as a result Bloomfield plays in a flowing, lyrical style that is noticeably free of the power chords and boogie riffs that are so often heard today. While clearly influenced by blues greats like BB and Albert King, Bloomfield's lyrical style often feels reminiscent of the best jazz horn players. All in all, a recording guaranteed to make you (to borrow a line from Tom Petty) "bust a move and remember how it was back then."
Note: For some inexplicable reason, this disc includes three previously unreleased studio tracks in addition to the live material. The less said about these tracks, the better. If you'd like to learn more about Nick Gravenites, Mike Bloomfield and the other "white blues kids" of Chicago, check out "If You Love These Blues: an Oral History of Michael Bloomfield." By Jan Mark Wolkin and Bill Keenon. Nick Gravenites used to write an autobiographical column for Living Blues magazine, these columns can be found archived at [...]
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Bloomfield's Finest Recorded Moments 30 Aug. 2002
By Ganesh Vaidyanathan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Although the reviewer from San Jose does a great job of describing why this album's live tracks showcase Bloomfield's guitar playing at its finest, he neglects to mention the two slow blues tunes: Moontune and Wintry Countryside. Wintry Countryside, has in my opinion, has one of most soulful and melancholy blues guitar solos ever recorded. Mike's playing is so incredibly beautiful and in tune with the song's lyrics, that the sadness of the song simply envelops you.
Aspiring blues guitar players can understand how tempo, timing, and silence can all be used to evoke that deep blues feeling which is sadly all too absent in the fret-jockey school of playing, by listening to this CD.
Mike Bloomfield has a special place in my heart. I never met him in person. But on the eve of my intended departure back to India in 1973 I purchased and listened to Bloomfield's Super Session LP. I was full of mixed emotions about whether to stay or leave. I must have played Albert's Shuffle over 20 times that night while packing. Somehow that jaunty shuffle seemed to capture everything I loved about my time in Canada and the slow blues Really seemed to epitomize my sadness about leaving. This great music by Mike Bloomfield helped me to sort out what was important to me and the rest as they say is history.
It is a great tragedy that Bloomfield was never able to scale these heights again. I always bought everything he put out when he was alive out of loyalty and the hope that he had found that magic again. But, with very few exceptions (an lP with the tracks Lights Out and Your Friends on it -- sorry my vinyl collection is out of reach) most of the material is marred by inconsistent playing and lack of focus.
Luckily we have the My Labors CD to listen to and marvel.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
What you have is the Best of the Best. Thank you, Acadia 12 Jun. 2004
By Jon Garner - Published on
Format: Audio CD
for making this true treasure available.
Any serious blues musician or fan over 50 (I'm 52) understands the significance of this music being on CD. EVERY blues musician or fan of any age should GET this CD!
Nick Gravenites is a major talent with his unique crooning/growling blues singing style and his songwriting. He wrote Born in Chicago, Buried Alive in the Blues and Groovin' is Easy along with all songs on this album with the exception of Otis Rush's It Takes Time. He is brilliant on this album. But make no mistake - the star of this show is the great Michael Bloomfield.
What you have here is simply the best recorded playing of the greatest blues guitarist ever, superbly recorded, and surrounded with great musicians. Everything clicked completely, resulting in some of the greatest music ever. The fact that it took so long to get this material released and the that it is not readily available is absolutely criminal.
In addition to My Labors in its entirety, Acadia made intelligent choices on the songs they added from the complementary "Live at Fillmore West." The only ommission was the superb instrumental Carmelita Skiffle, but that's understandable since Nick is not singing. They mercifully left off One More Mile, on which Taj Majal's dreadful harp playing seems to contribute to Bloomfield's only uninspired solo on the record. The studio cuts from My Labors are all throwaways, but they were part of the album and at least they're all short.
No less than four songs, Killing My Love, Gypsy Good Time, Wintry Countryside and It Takes Time are all-time classics. In fact, I would consider Killing My Love to have the greatest blues guitar solo ever on a record! If played with some volume, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Wintry Countryside is worth a discussion in itself, starting with Mark Naftalin's beautiful, long, unaccompanied intro piano solo, continuing with Bloomfield's equally beautiful, delicate low-volume solo, to three verses of very soulful singing by Gravenites backed with Bloomfield's amazing fills, and reaching its peak with Bloomfield's incredibly powerful solo. He combines incredible chops, bends, blues feeling, note choice and raw emotion like there has never been before or since. And that TONE on his Les Paul. Absolutely nothing like it ever. He plays the blues like HE MEANS IT! It's too bad he never again played like this on record, because the rest of his career only offered occasional glimpses of his incredible talent. If you want just one Bloomfield album, don't be fooled into buying Super Session, the Electric Flag or even the Butterfield stuff. This one is his best by far.
If you've never done so, go to Mark Naftalin's web site, [...] There is some great stuff on Bloomfield and Gravenites. AND GET THIS ALBUM!
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