Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#46 The Butterfield Blues Band Where Are They Now?

    Paul Butterfield's career as the leader of both The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and then the Butterfield Blues Band establishes him as the master blues singer/ harmonica player of his generation. However, this reputation tends to overshadow his other talents as a songwriter, producer, and his unique skill as a bandleader.  

    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.


     Jerome Arnold - The quiet, unassuming, conservatively dressed bass player who also happens to be the brother of bluesman Billy Boy Arnold leaves the band after East West. Arnold seems to evaporate from the music business until he resurfaces in London, England during the late '70's.  At some point he changes his name to Julio Finn, and continues working as a bass player for artists like Archie Shepp. During his years living with his new identity, Finn also shows a talent for writing when he composes the liner notes for his brother's album Crying and Pleading, and in 1986 he publishes the book The Blues Man: The Musical Heritage of Black Men and Women in the Americas. He is also a public voice for gay rights, and black history. He 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 LoveNext 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. 

     Mark Naftalin - The son of the former mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota who moves to Chicago in 1961 to study music, and then on to Mannes College of Music in New York, joins the Butterfield band during the recording of the first album. He will contribute piano, organ, and chart arrangements to The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East-West, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, and In My Own Dream. Tired of life on the road, Naftalin leaves the band in 1968, settles in the San Francisco area and builds a successful career as a studio musician, producer, radio personality, record label owner (Winner Records), and concert promoter. He is still active in the music business.


      Billy Davenport - The Alabama native whose style is inspired by Jazz greats like Louis Bellison, and Art Blakey works with the Butterfield band during East West, and The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw . He leaves the band sighting road fatigue, and undisclosed health problems, and returns to his adopted home of Chicago where he retires from music. However, Davenport resurfaces from 1972 to 1974 to tour with Jimmy Dawkins, Willie Dixon, and Buster Benton, but then retires again from '72 to '81. He finishes his career playing with the Pete Baron Jazztet, and completes several mini-tours with Mark Naftalin as a Butterfield Blues Band tribute revue. He dies in Chicago on December 24th 1999.

     Bugsy Maugh - The Iowa native who does a brief stint with Wilson Pickett before being introduced to Butterfield by Buddy Miles, plays bass and vocals on The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw and In My Own Dream. Butterfield rescues Maugh from obscurity, providing him with a platform to showcase his talents as a soulful interpreter of Rhythm and Blues. After recording two albums with the band, Maugh leaves claiming artistic differences (he doesn't like the pop direction), but quickly signs a two album deal with Dot Records. Both his solo albums, Bugsy and Inside Bugsy are now deleted.  During the later part of the sixties, and into the early seventies he moves to New York, and works as a studio musician for artists like Todd Rundgren (Something-Anything). However, by the '80's he returns to the midwest where he works as a bandleader, and participates in several mini tours with Mark Naftalin, Billy Davenport, and Danny Draher. He is still living and working in the Midwest.


     Philip Wilson - The St. Louis native who is introduced to Butterfield by David Sanborn plays drums, percussion, and some vocals on In My Own Dream, and Keep On Movin' leaves the band to return to Chicago, and play Jazz in Art Ensemble of Chicago. He also works as a band leader, and sideman with several notable Jazz artists including Lester Bowie, and David Braxton. In the early '70's he helps form one of the first Jazz Rock Fusion bands, Full Moon, with other former Butterfield Blues Band members, Buzzy Feiten, Gene Dinwiddie, and Freddie Beckemier. Butterfield and Wilson cross paths several times over the next two decades, most notably for the 1985 album Down by Law by Jazz/Rock Fusion band Deadline.
     On March 25th of 1992, Philip Wilson is murdered at 440 East 9th Street in Manhattan by Marvin Slater who had been stalking the drummer for months. Slater is arrested in 1996 as a result of an episode of the television show America's Most Wanted. He is convicted of the murder in 1997, but never discloses his motive.


     Gene Dinwiddie - The LouisvilleKentucky 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.


     David Sanborn - Another St. Louis native Sanborn's entry into the band is a bit of a fluke. He contributes soprano, alto, and baritone saxophones on The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, In My Own Dream, Keep on Movin', Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'.  After the Butterfield Band ends, Sanborn will work with Butterfield on several recordings. He will also record with too many Jazz, Pop, and Blues artists to list here. In addition, he becomes a bandleader, actor, television host, and the king of smooth jazz in the 70's. As of 2014, he has recorded 31 solo albums, plus movie soundtracks, and earned several Grammy Awards. He is still working.



     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. 

    Steve Madaio - The classically trained trumpeter contributes trumpet to Keep On Movin', Live, and Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'. After his position ends with the Butterfield Blues Band, he works as an arranger, and trumpet player with an extensive list of Jazz, Folk, Blues, and Rock artists including B.B. King, Flo & Eddie, Stevie Wonder, Kenny G, Meatloaf, and Rod Stewart. He is also highly respected trumpet teacher studio musician. Still working.


    Teddy (Ted) Harris Jr. - The childhood friend of Motown's Berry Gordy joins the Butterfield band while finishing up a gig with Tony Bennett.  He contributes his skills as an arranger, keyboardist to  Keep on Movin', Live, and Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'. After the band ends he returns to Detroit where he becomes the musical director for the Supremes for sixteen years, writes film scores, plays with Kenny Burrell, Thad Jones,and Lionel Hampton. Harris also becomes a highly respected music teacher in Detroit, and is given several awards, including the key to the City of Detroit in 1993, and title of Detroit's Godfather of Jazz. He dies at 70 in August 2005 of prostate cancer.   

   Trevor Lawrence - The respected New York studio musician joins the Butterfield Blues Band in '69, and contributes baritone sax to Keep On Movin', Live, and Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'. After the band ends he returns to the studio where he works as a composer, arranger, and sax player for artists such as Marvin Gaye, Macy Gray, Etta James, Donny Osmond, Eminem, and Ringo Starr. He also works as the musical director for films such as To Sir with Love 2, in 1996. He is still working.  

     Fred Beckmeier - Beckmeier is introduced to Butterfield in 1969 by Buzzy Feiten, and tours with the band on their Scandinavian tour. He plays bass on some of the tracks for Keep on Movin', but is replaced by Rod Hicks. After leaving the band he contributes to numerous projects, most notably Buzzy Feiten's Jazz/Rock fusion band Full Moon, and then with Beckmier Brothers. The brothers enjoy a minor pop hit, (#53) Rock and Roll Dancin' in 1979. During the late seventies he marries actress Katie Sagal who will later star in the hit television show Married with Children. He is still working.


    George Davidson - The Detroit drummer leaves his job with the Four Tops to contribute to the Butterfield Blues Band: Live, and Sometime I Just Feel Like Smilin'. After the band ends, Davidson returns to Detroit where he plays with the Four Tops, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Little Sonny, and Urban Griots. His most memorable contribution to the Butterfield band is his very lyrical drum solo on The Boxer  from the Butterfield Blues Band : Live. He is still working.





     Ralph Wash - The 19 year old California native joins the Butterfield band in late '69, and contributes guitar to Live, and then guitar and vocals to Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'.  At one point B.B. King mentions in an interview that Wash as his favourite guitarist.  After leaving the band he records with Van Morrison, Todd Rundgren, Sylvester, and Country Joe MacDonald in the 70's, and then seems to vanish from the music scene. He dies in 1996.


    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



                                                               


Saturday, April 12, 2014

# 45 Butterfield Blues Band Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'

   Twenty years after the great age of sixties Blues-Rock, sociologist Philip Ennis describes the death of the era by pointing to several events which he feels best symbolize the period. He lists: the death of Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the disbanding of the Beatles..., and then finishes with, By 1969, even the Haight was dead: ........, but in the middle of his list of iconic symbols, he makes a statement which doesn't seem to fit.

     He says, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was at the end of its creative life. He is implying the false notion that the Butterfield Blues Band has somehow run out of creative ideas at this time. The truth is that by 1971, the Butterfield Blues Band is still a creative force, but about to become another victim of the changing economic expectations of the Rock industry.

   In August of '71, Elektra releases the Butterfield Blues Band's seventh, and final album, Sometimes I Just Feel like Smilin', serving as both a final creative expression from the band as well as a symbolic tombstone for an important personality in the development of a generation's music. In the coming years, historians, music critics, and fans will try to simplify the reasons for the end of the Butterfield band, but as is the norm in history, the complex reality is most often a victim of neglect. One theory can be put to rest though, we only need to listen to the album to conclude that the Butterfield Blues Band is not lacking in creative energy. In addition, they aren't experiencing a massive decrease in audience support either, only a leveling, and they are still making money for Elektra, Albert Grossman, and concert promoters.

   Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin' is another one Butterfield's albums which is often overlooked by fans, and underrated by critics. However, it does have weak moments as in the use of Rod Hicks (1000 Ways), and Ralph Wash (Pretty Woman) as lead vocalist. Neither Hicks nor Wash possess the vocal dynamics to be awarded a place fronting a band as powerful as the Butter band. Also, the use of the two bland lead singers presents a frayed focus for listeners, the same error Butterfield makes with In My Own Dream in 1968. (Most bands with a scattered focus do not capture as much success as bands with a single voice, The Band is one example.)

    The other weakness of the album can be found in some of the arrangements. Throughout the latter half of the sixties, Butterfield plays a significant role in the introduction of Rhythm & Blues artists, and their music, to the fresh ears in mainstream Rock, but by '71, his contributions are forgotten. So, when he records a mere duplication of Ray Charles' Drown in My Own Tears or Albert King's Oh Pretty Woman it comes off as trite - lazy behavior for a band of Butterfield's stature.

    However, these are minor criticisms next to the album's strengths. Producer Paul Rothschild and Butterfield have added an powerful group of soulful background singers in Clydie KingMerry ClaytonVenetta Fields, and Oma Drake. Their addition to the band separates the album's music from all of the other horn bands which are springing up by the early seventies. The singers also allow for the addition of Gospel, Soul, and Funk influences into their music. Decades later, the album still sounds like a fresh blend of yeasty Americana music, with a soundscape reminiscent of a Phil Spector's, wall of sound.

    Butterfield shows up as a much stronger songwriter on this album too. He has credits in over half of the nine compositions, all of them well crafted. Two of those compositions Night Child and Song for Lee should be recognized as the first Jazz/Rock instrumentals which feature a harmonica.

    Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin' even has the most pop oriented song ever recorded by any of the Butter bands. Butterfield and his wife Kathy, are credited to Blind Leading the Blind, a catchy Gospel flavoured shuffle. Unfortunately, it proves to be no match for hits by other top 70's horn bands: Chicago Transit Authority's new album 111 reaches # 2, Lighthouse's single One Fine Morning peaks at # 2, Blood Sweat and Tears' single Go Down Gamblin' #10, and even newcomers Edgar Winter's White Trash's first album is working its way up to # 70 on the album charts. The lack of promotion from Elektra is part of the reason Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin' is struggling to hold on to #124 on the album charts.

    It is easy to point to the lack of mainstream pop hits as the reason for the decline of the Butterfield Blues Band, but during the sixties, and early seventies, it isn't unusual for bands to have very successful careers with no major mainstream hits. In fact, fans of artists associated with the counter culture movement often consider the position as a badge of honor. However, that attitude is changing. By the early '70's Rock is becoming a huge industry feeding off massive outdoor festivals and album sales. Consequently, record labels, promoters, and artist managers are expecting bigger pay offs for their investments.

   So, why does the Butterfield Blues Band end? There is no key breakdown in personnel as happens within the Beatles, or death of the voice of a band as is the case with Morrison or Joplin. There is none of that dynamic taking place in the Butter band. It seems that most plausible scenario is one which begins, and ends with one word, money.

    Around 1970, Butterfield's manager Albert Grossman is spending most of his time away from his New York City management offices, and instead, focusing his energies on building his entertainment empire in Woodstock, New York. Some sources suggest that he makes this retreat because of the death of Janis Joplin, but this seems unlikely as a key reason. He is disappointed by the Blues singer's senseless departure, but he also collects on the 200K life insurance policy he purchases before her death. Grossman seems too calculating to succumb to such intense emotions. Regardless, he does retreat upstate, and consequently his business interests in the city suffer. This will prove to contribute to the end of Butterfield's band, but also push Butterfield's career in new, and more positive directions.

   In addition, Butterfield's label Elektra Records has made a complete transition from recording acoustic folk in the early sixties to electric mainstream pop artists. The change is proving lucrative for them as they now employ some substantial revenue generators: the Doors, Bread, and Badfinger to name a few. These assets are definitely making more money for them than the Butterfield Blues Band. The band has not become a financial liability for them yet, but the label is beginning to neglect their investments in the band.

    So, the end of the Butterfield Blues Band seems to be best described as a product of business the dynamics between Grossman & ElektraButterfield is just an artist caught in the middle. During this period he is about to be faced with decisions he does not want to make. He just wants to carry on creating music, but whether he likes it or not Grossman presents him with this ultimatum:, disband your group, leave Elektra, and come with me or face extinction. Grossman is starting his own label, Bearsville Records, and negotiates a distribution deal with Warner. He wants Butterfield to be one of his first artists, and so secures him a $250,000 deal. (a large sum of money in '71)

   The dilemma for Butterfield is if he stays with a Elektra, he will probably lose Grossman as his manager, and his future with the label is not looking positive anyway. As Nick Gravenites describes the situation, Albert had made Paul a huge record deal with Warner Brothers, which was affiliated with Grossman’s Bearsville label,  He told him, I’ll give the money to you, but I won't give it to (the other band members).  If you take it - just you can keep it.  If you split it with the band, they've got to pay off their debt to me.  Paying their debt consisting of expenses typically covered by management would have wiped out the funds from Butterfield’s deal, ....  Paul was begging pleading with him not to do that, says Gravenites.  In the end, though, Paul took the money. If you are standing on the outside of this decision, the solution may appear simple, but for Butterfield it is about more than just money, there is security, attachment to Grossman, and loyalty to his band members, and family to consider.

    In addition to all of the business issues facing him, Butterfield also has personal considerations too. He has been living in Woodstock for three years now, remarried, has a young son, Lee, a comfortable house with several acres on Highway 212, a couple of horses, two dogs, and many musician friends in the area. (the photos for the album cover are done in his backyard.) Most of his domestic stability is a result of his reputation as a musician, a bandleader, and seven years on the road. There must be times when he feels isolated, relieved, contented, and yet anxious about the potential of being unemployed with no band to call his own. The whole emotionally exhausting experience must leave him caught somewhere between smiling, and wishing for better days.
    Every artist's career conforms to its own trajectory, the commonality is that they all rise from obscurity, peak, and begin a descent back into obscurity. For pop bands the process usually takes about five years, but blues bands, it's only two years. Most of the time it has nothing to do with the creative energy, or the quality of music, but rather situations which are out of their control. The trick is that once an artist reaches their peak, they need to drag out the decline as long as possible. The Rolling Stones have been coasting down for thirty years, and the Beatles even longer. In the case of the Butterfield Blues Band's career, it seems to peak with The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, and then declines to reach its end with Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'.

    In '72, Elektra will release Golden Butter: The Best of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It is testament to the financial impact the band has on Elektra Records; most of the double album is devoted to the first two albums, offers only minor recognition to everything else the Butter Band records, and only whispered lip service to the other contributions he makes to popular music in the 1960s. It peaks at #136 on the album charts.  In addition, U.K. label Red Lightin' releases An Offer You Can't Refuse (see post #3) in 1972.

   The irony of the end of the Butterfield Blues Band is that for the remaining life of Paul Butterfield's career, he will be constantly measured by the what he accomplishes in his original Butterfield Blues Bands. The one relief for him in his the new phase of his career is that he will never have to answer interview questions requesting an explanation of why his music isn't blues. That question must have wiped the smile from his face a few times.

the Butterfield Blues Band : Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin'

1) Play On, 2) 1000 Ways, 3) Pretty Woman, 4) Little Piece of Dying, 5) Song For Lee, 6) Trainman, 7) Night Child, 8) Drown In My Own Tears, 9) Blind Leading The Blind.

Paul Butterfield: Vocal, harmonica, (piano on Blind Leading The Blind), Gene Dinwiddie: Tenor & soprano saxophone, flute, tambourine, (vocal on Drowned In My Own Tears), Rod Hicks: Bass, (vocal on 1000 Ways), Ralph Wash: Guitar, (vocal on Pretty Woman), Dennis Whitted: Drums, Bobby Hall:, Conga, bongos, Ted Harris:, Piano on Night Child, and Play On, George Davidson: - Drums on Night Child, and Play On, Trevor Lawrence: - Baritone saxophone, David Sanborn: Alto saxophone, Steve Madaio: Trumpet,  Big Black: Congas.

Background Vocals: Clydie King, Merry Clayton, Venetta Fields, Oma Drake, Paul Butterfield, Rod Hicks, Ralph Wash, Gene Dinwiddie.

Producer: Paul Rothchild, Recording Engineers: Fritz Richmond, Bruce Botnick, Marc Harmon. Re-mixing Engineer: Fritz Richmond. Mixing: Todd Rundgren,   Album Photography: Barry Feinstein.
                           

video
                                                                      

Friday, April 4, 2014

# 44 Butterfield Blues Band Live at A. & R. Studios on WLPJ

    The success of any artist is a big major business venture. It's one thing to record an album, quite another to get the product promoted, and sold to the public. If you have a motivated label, they will do the manufacturing and distribution, but you also need a capable manager to secure the high profile gigs too. Then there are the producerslocal retailers, and a multitude of other talent involved in the whole process. However, for all artists the most important feature of the whole venture is the live performance. 

     By 1970, live broadcasts of musicians has become a staple of radio, FM and stereo sound isn't new either, but during the '60's all of these technologies are uniting into common features for anyone with a home radio. (It seems similar to the transition of regular analog television into digital high definition broadcasts.) 


    Part of the success of this transition is because of a couple of enterprising young men with a vision to record quality music. In 1958, Jack Arnold and Phil Ramone establish  A. & R. Recording Studios in Manhattan, New York City. (Ramone is an innovator! On Oct. 1st, 1982 the first compact disc is released, and so, on that date he releases a digital version of Billy Joel's 52nd Street to help promote the new Sony compact disc player being released in Japan.)

    During the sixties Ramone develops a reputation as a skilled sound engineer, and producer which attracts a really diverse collection of top recording artists to A. & R. StudiosThe list of people who use the state of the art facility is lengthy, and quite impressive. Everyone from Ray Charles, The Band,and Bob Dylan to Anne Murray, and Frank Sinatra want to reap the commercial benefits of Ramone's talent in the engineering booth.   


   So, as the Rock music trend grows, Ramone and his company team up with WLPJ FM to produce, and broadcast concerts live from A & R Studios.  Artists like the Allman Brothers,(another band inspired by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band), Procol Harum, Elton John, and Jimi Hendrix are some of the first to participate in the live simulcast concerts. Unfortunately, in spite of the popularity of the series, it proves financially unreliable for sponsors, and it's cancelled. 

    However, the Singer Sewing Machine Company rescues the series with an offer to act a the main sponsor. As unorthodox as the marketing strategy sounds today, the sewing machine company actually has a record department in most of their New York stores. In addition, as part of their promotion of the new series, Singer will offer a discount on the albums of the artist being featured that week. The very first band to appear on the new series in December of '70 is the Butterfield Blues Band who are promoting their Live album to Christmas shoppers. As a piece of trivia, all the Singer stores will offer fans the new double album the Butterfield Blues Band Live for $3.97, and all of his previous albums for $ 2.89, quite a deal!!

    Of course, the sound quality of the show is excellent, and the performances rival the ones on Live. Also, listen to George Davidson's replacement on drums, Dennis Whitted. Highlights of the show are Born Under a Bad Sign, and the outstanding harmonica solo on Everything's Gonna Be Alright.  

The Butterfield Blues Band: Live at the A&R Studios on WLPJ in New York City, December 1970.

1) Born Under a Bad Sign, 2) Play On, 3) Driftin’ and Driftin’, 4) The Boxer, 5) Everything’s

Gonna Be Alright, 5) Drown In My Own Tears (Gene Dinwiddie vocals), 6) Country Side, 7) Love March, 8) Back Together Again, 9) So Far, So Good.

Paul Butterfield: Harmonica & Vocals, David Sanborn:  Alto Saxophone, Gene Dinwiddie: Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Vocals, Dennis Whitted: Drums, Steve Madaio: Trumpet, Rod Hicks: Bass, Ralph Wash: Guitar, Trevor Lawerance: Baritone Saxophone