As we get closer to the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, I’ll share short and sweet profiles of the inductees and some lesson ideas. Bookmark it.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band brought Chicago blues and rock and roll together in a way that hadn’t been done before and they did it as a racially integrated band in the middle of the 1960s. The blues had been dominated by black artists and Paul Butterfield and his crew cleared the way for white musicians to be taken seriously in the genre. Butterfield’s harmonica playing, in particular, is among the most influential performances on the instrument. On a much different note, they also provided the backbone for Bob Dylan’s iconic performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he famously “plugged in” and brought about the folk rock revolution.
“Born in Chicago”
The band’s signature song, it was their debut single and resonated well beyond Illinois. It features some incredible harmonica work by Butterfield and the raw power that was Chicago blues but gives it the electric treatment. It’s a gritty piece I play every year during my blues unit to reinforce the 12-bar blues chord progression and that blues doesn’t have to be slow.
“Maggie’s Farm” with Bob Dylan, Newport Folk Festival 1965
The moment when rock and roll woke up, this performance merged folk and rock in a way that had never been done before. It was very poorly received at the time, which the boos heard in the background can attest, but it was a watershed moment in rock history. Though not the entire band participated in Dylan’s iconic performance, several members did and it was the band’s performance the day before that had inspired Dylan to perform the electric set in the first place.
“Love March” from Woodstock 1969
Included on the Woodstock film soundtrack in 1970, this is the second incarnation of the band following the gradual departure of everyone but Butterfield himself. It features a more horn-driven sound.
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