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Mike Bloomfield: Chicago Blues, Via the Suburbs

Jan Mark Wolkin’s profile of Mike Bloomfield is affectionate and very interesting. This passage describes Bloomfield’s early exploits in Chicago:

Bloomfield was quickly accepted on the South Side, as much for his ability as for the audiences’ appreciation of the novelty of seeing a young white player in a part of town where few whites were seen. Bloomfield soon discovered a group of like-minded outcasts. Young white players such as Paul Butterfield, Nick Gravenites, Charlie Musselwhite, and Elvin Bishop were also establishing themselves as fans who could hold their own with established bluesmen, many of whom were old enough to be their fathers.

In addition to playing with the established stars of the day, Bloomfield began to search out older, forgotten bluesmen, playing and recording with Sleepy John Estes, Yank Rachell, Little Brother Montgomery and Big Joe Williams, among others. By this time he was managing a Chicago folk music club, the Fickle Pickle, and often hired older acoustic blues players for the Tuesday night blues sessions. Big Joe Williams memorialized those times in the song “Pick A Pickle” with the line “You know Mike Bloomfield…will always treat you right…come to the Pickle, every Tuesday night.” Bloomfield’s relationship with Big Joe Williams is documented in “Me And Big Joe,” a moving short story detailing Bloomfield’s adventures on the road with Williams.

Wolkin also put together what looks like a comprehensive discography. Bloomfield played with a tremendous number of very different artists due to his work as a session guitarist. It’s quite a list.

Above is Over Lovin’ You and below is Drinking Wine.

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