THE BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
(Elektra EKL 315) Original 1966 US 🇺🇸 Mono
East-West is the second album by The Butterfield Blues Band. Released in August 1966.
Review from Endless Trip
This is pretty much the peak of American white blues-rock, but how much you’ll enjoy it depends on your own willingness to embrace the genre. Some think of it as the purest form of what would eventually become rock and roll, while others (myself included) find it to be a repetitive and often unimaginative style, based on a structurally rigid format that needs to be significantly deconstructed in order to result in great music. Throughout most of side one, I find myself thinking “wow, can they play!” rather than “wow, I’m enjoying this”. The game-changer, of course, is the 13-minute instrumental title track, which isn’t blues at all, but an amazing integration of Eastern musical styles into rock and roll, rich with not only an exotic feel, but full of remarkable intensity, building to two powerful climaxes, and showing off some stunning guitar work from Mike Bloomfield. It’s one of the greatest jams in rock history, anticipating (and eclipsing) pretty much anything that would come from the psychedelic revolution. Other bands would very soon mix foreign musical styles into their rock; Kaleidoscope would be the only band to do it in a similar way, with a similar level of virtuosity, but even they would not reach the peaks climbed on this song. The other long instrumental, ‘Work Song’, isn’t anywhere near as unusual, but sports an almost equally amazing solo from Bloomfield. As with, for example, Quicksilver Messenger Service, it’s when they stop singing that things become really interesting.
Review written by Aaron Milenski
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