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The Butterfield Blues Band

East West (Limited Edition Hybrid SACD version)

Review by Gary Hill

This 1960s release is getting the audiophile treatment and what an album this is. If you’ve never owned this, rush out and get it. If you have owned it before, you probably have never heard it like this. The disc moves between blues, jazz and psychedelic rock and it’s effective start to finish. The lineup here is  Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica),  Mike Bloomfield  (electric guitar),  Elvin Bishop (electric guitar, lead vocal on "Never Say No"), Mark Naftalin (piano, organ), Jerome Arnold (bass) and  Billy Davenport (drums).

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Walkin' Blues

The cool traditional blues sound on this really shines in this high fidelity approach. The harmonica is a great touch in the song and the whole thing just rocks.

Get Out Of My Life, Woman
Sure, there is still some blues on this, but it’s more old school rock and roll blended with jazz. The piano lends a lot here. It’s a bouncy rocker that’s very effective.
I Got a Mind to Give up Living
Definitely back into pure blues territory, this is just incredible. It reminds me a bit of BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone.” Considering that to me that number is the greatest song ever written, that says a lot. There is some stellar guitar soloing on this and the “blues” of the soul and heart just shines through so well on this thing.
All These Blues
Blues and old time rock and roll merge on this number. It’s got a driving bass line and some cool vocal hooks. The harmonica brings extra class and charm to the piece.
Work Song
This instrumental is very much a jazz tune. As one of my music teachers said, though, you can have blues without jazz, but you can’t have jazz without blues. So, this has a lot of blues in it, too. The harmonica soloing lends to that quite a bit. The guitar soloing and the organ soloing are both more tied to pure jazz. This is another standout track and one of my favorites.   
Mary, Mary
A much shorter number, this is very much a psychedelic rock number. It’s got a real garage band vibe to it and it works quite well.   
Two Trains Running
Combining some blues with psychedelic rock, this is a real screamer. It’s another of my favorite pieces of the disc.
Never Say No
This is a very slow and very traditional blues oriented piece. It’s not all that great as far as I’m concerned. Still, it has its charms.
East-West
Psychedelia and jam band sounds are the driving factors on this scorching hot instrumental excursion. There are some really mysterious and wonderful sounds here. This is the longest piece on the album and in many ways the most involved and exploratory.
 
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