One of the greatest Blues guitarists to ever live — and die much too young — was Mike Bloomfield. He was born into a wealthy, North Side Chicago family and grew up a “Good Jewish Boy” — until he hit the age of 14 and discovered the guitar and Southside Chicago Blues.
Bloomfield’s gift was a manic musicality that had a driving rhythm and a pinging treble melody. He knew in his bones how to rock you with the Blues. His style is immediately identifiable as “That Bloomfield Sound.”
If you look for his music, be sure you search on “Mike Bloomfield” and “Michael Bloomfield” and “Bloomfield” — because all those terms will bring you unique, and not always cross-indexed, return results.
Bloomfield spent a lot of time performing with Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Buddy Guy.
His immense, innate, talent, brought him to their level of excellence. He was in demand as a session player and as a soloist.
Bloomfield found early fame as part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and when Bob Dylan asked him to join his band, he turned down the offer to stay with Butterfield.
Bloomfield found his first fame as a soloist with “The Electric Flag” — but that sort of stylized group playing didn’t satisfy him.
Mike found his greatest success in the “Super Session” series with Al Kooper and Steve Stills. Bloomfield didn’t like the record much — he considered it “too commercial” — but he was never more alive.
“Super Session” is Bloomfield’s legacy. You can’t listen to “Albert’s Shuffle” and not feel the center core of man’s immense talent. You immediately recognize his heart tugging twang from the first few pickup notes:
Unfortunately, Bloomfield’s demon was drugs, and like so many of the superstars before him in the 1960’s — Mike was dead at 38 of an overdose on February 15, 1981 — and so this celebration of Bloomfield’s immense talent ends up wasted in a mad, and madding, dead end, for him that many predicted, but that only one failed to cure.