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on 4 February 2014
This 3CD + 1DVD set has been a long time coming and Al Kooper has to be congratulated at least for his persistence with Columbia records in persuading them to get this set out. It is a shame really that it has come out hot on the heels of the tremendous and bar raising 7CD (!) Duane Allman box-set of last year (2013) which was just about perfect and consequently highlights the flaws with this set. Straight off the bat I have to say I am a huge admirer of Michael Bloomfield and reckon he was right at the top tier of guitarists in the 1960's and hugely influential on the psychedelic guitarists of the late '60's (just listen to "East-West" or his live performance of "Maggie Farm" backing Dylan at Newport and psych-guitar starts there!). The music on these CDs is spread over 3CD's but each CD only plays just over an hour which means almost an hour of potential playing time is lost - for a collector's set such as this and since Bloomfield was in his element on live guitar jams how come the free space wasn't filled up with some more examples of his live prowess such as "Moon Tune" or "Blues On A Westside" to name but two [or even better unreleased live material; there is plenty out there]?

More of Bloomfield's session work such as provided on the Duane Allman set would have also been welcome since he was arguably one of the most in demand session guitarists of the mid- to late- 60's after playing with Dylan. A whole disc of session work would've been welcome instead of the patchy final music disc (#3) which contains post-60's work which frankly doesn't do Bloomfield any favours sounding much diminished in performance and especially sound quality (he was playing club dates by this point with sadly his demons catching up with him). It would have been better to solely concentrate on Bloomfield's peak years from '64-'69; a harsh judgement perhaps but there is more than enough primo material in these 5-years to fill up six-discs yet alone three.

The music selections here in the main are excellent, including a couple of mid-60's Dylan ringers [esp. "Tombstone Blues" with Chambers Brothers backing vox], provided one doesn't include the post '69 work which with the exception of the poignant Dylan '80 reunion only weeks before Bloomfield's death is expendable and it would have been better to fill this space with higher quality peak period music (for example, where is the scorching "Work Song" by the Butterfield Blues Band?). However the closing, unlisted track, "They Just Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore", is a travesty being a synth-and-drum machine vocal tune by Al Kooper, presumably intended as a 'tribute' to his fallen friend? If so he really shouldn't have bothered since synth'n'drums [esp. a pseudo-polka rhythm!] really don't fit in with the remainder of the set and frankly the tune is crap - any sensible editor would have told him, "sorry Al this doesn't work, if you want an untitled track how about another unreleased live track with lashings of Bloomfield guitar or even some studio dialog featuring the great man?" It is a real pity that this horrifying track has been allowed to stand thereby marring what in general is a fine attempt at summarising Bloomfield's art (despite it's manifest flaws - too much unused space and lacklustre '70's tracks instead of more primo '60's work).
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This nicely packaged 3 CD / 1 DVD set from Sony Legacy is an at times simply majestic celebration of the guitar artistry of the late Michael Bloomfield. He played with Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 when Dylan decided to 'go electric', but his work with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Electric Flag or as part of the Al Kooper 'Supersession' album and beyond ensured that his playing skills would be the stuff of legend. His withering drug addiction problems would ensure that his life - he died when he was just thirty-seven years old - would be short and not always sweet - but this set is a suitable epitaph for an underrated guitar player.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 January 2016
Mike Bloomfield is an absolute guitar legend, from his early days with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (just hear the tracks here from the amazing East-West album), through the time with the Electric Flag, that lasted far too shorter time, the still incredible Super Session, recorded in one day before he went home with Al Kooper, the Fillmore East sessions which were for a time the lost sessions. We get some stunning coustic blues along the way, Bloomfield spend huge periods of time seeing and learning exactly how the blues greats played, he was passionate, his guitar became part of him as hunched over it he just poured evry ounce of his being inti his music with incredible results. Sadly though he was troubled inside and life was a struggle, but this absolutely outstanding box set gives an incredible insight to why he remains so reveared amongst guitarists today. Over three CD's and a documentary style DVD we are left in no doubt of his abilities and his stunning guitar playing, highly rated by Bob Dylan who brought him in on recording sessions, just put on disc three and the live take on Dylan.s 'The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar', the band really laying down a groove that Bloomfield weaves his magic over. Listen to his spoken intros, racks from the 1977 McCAbe's session with just voice and solo guitar, or playing on one of Muddy Waters songs joined by the man himself . Theamazing solo version of 'Darktown Strutters Ball', a challenge for vany would be guitarist.
One could write so much about Bloomfield, but start listening to this amazing box set, he's sad;ly long gone, found dead in his own car on a drug overdose, but what he left is a legacy of one of the finest and most exciting guitarists you will ever hear,Mike Bloomfield.
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on 5 February 2014
The songs Al Kooper has chosen for the Mike Bloomfield Box set. But there is almost nothing from 1970 till 1980. The only exception are the songs from "I'm with you always. No title from the solo-lp's from 1976-80, no song from the Electric flag reunion, no song from the lp with Dr. John and John Hammond, no song from the Bloomfield/Harris-lp, no song from the Woody Herman Big Band-lp, no song from the KGB-lp, no song from his lp's with James Cotton or Sam Lay. There is more important music from Mike Bloomfield! I think the examples show that Mike's work is represented only half. To show the whole work is at least one more cd necessary. Al Kooper let this chance go by! And the chances for another Mike Bloomfield box set are very little!
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2014
A non definitive but lovingly crafted box set featuring one of the best and underrated blues guitarists of the 20th Century.
The set was compiled by Al Kooper, but as some reviewers have noted is minus some key tracks from key bands KGB for instance. Each of the discs is not much more than 1 hour so there is approximately 45 minutes more music that could have been added easily. That said this is most likely down to getting the rights for the music. The box also does have an element of leave them wanting more, never a bad thing as there is nothing worse that a box which is bloated and has a 4th disc of music no one wants to hear.
For the casual Bloomfield collector there are a number of rare and previously unreleased tracks, while the set also serves as an appetiser for deeper diving the Bloomfield catalogue. The sound quality is top notch. My only real complaint is that the booklet is not anchored to the package and slides out very easily. That minor quibble aside great set. Recommended to anyone who like Blues music and would listen to Paul Jones show on radio 2 Monday nights.
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on 3 February 2014
Of the '60s generation of young, white, Les Paul wieldin', electric blues guitarists Mike Bloomfield stands astride them all. Peter Green is a close second, but both are light years ahead of Clapton and everybody else. Maybe the fact that they both remained blues purists explains why they didn't further develop their styles in the way that Clapton did. Certainly, in the documentary DVD included in this set, Blooms states that he never wanted to be a rock star, he just wanted to play guitar and play the blues. Boy does he play guitar.

This set contains 3 CDs focussed on his roots playing, jam playing and later period playing. A fine selection indeed and the documentary is fantastic. The set is worth buying just for the documentary alone - it's jut a shame that Blooms was filmed so little during his lifetime.

Al Kooper has done a fantastic job producing this, it is a real testament to his late friend and partner in crime.

To sum it up in 3 words: BUY BUY BUY!
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on 21 June 2014
Wonderful done booklet, CDs and DVD, missing some of his later work but as a retrospective from the time when Michael was the best Blues guitarist in the world, this is a wonderful, and long overdue, tribute to the man
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on 9 February 2014
As the guy from Quicksilver Messenger Service said Michael Bloomfield was better than Hendrix, Clapton, Sevie Ray, Beck and the rest. I have nearly all of Michaels recordings but wish someone would put together a DVD with all his live footage along with the other great Duane Allman.
When Michael was with the Paul Butterfield blues band they had the two stand out musicians of that or any other era. Paul Butterfield the best harp player Black or White and Michael Bloomfield the best guitar player.
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Mike Bloomfield had a unique sound and playing style. I love the way he phrases up during a solo with some strange notes that seem to blend brilliantly. When I tried to replay those notes on my guitar it sounded terrible.
These 3 CDs cover his career highlights apart from a few omissions I would have liked included.
The best years were from 1965-1969, after 1969 Mike sadly was drifting towards drugs and not focusing as much in music when he should have been.
The recordings he did with Al Kooper are my favourite parts. This box set does not have any rare stuff except for the Bob Dylan tracks. Bob Dylan showed a genuine love of Mikes playing and his comments on the closing 1980 track are emotional and heart warming. The solo played on that Bob Dylan 1980 live performance shows Mike near the end of his life, his solo has a wild, sad quality about it as if he is fighting with his guitar to play the best solo of his life. It is a special moment on this box set.

This box set is well worth getting if you don't have much Mike Bloomfield in your collection. The few rare tracks do make it more worth getting. I am happy with the sound and info provided with the box set.
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on 28 December 2014
Just wonderful. American music at its best. Should have been launched years ago, while those around in the late 60s are able to play and sing. I am just missing the collaboration with Mothe Earth on Living with the animals, as Mikal Blumfeld. Best guitarist ever in the blues genre.
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