So about a year before Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons were forming The Flying Burrito Brothers, two blues musicians from Chicago went west to form the great American blues band. The result was the short-lived band The Electric Flag and the album A Long Time Comin’ has always been a favorite of mine. The album introduced me to the music of Mike Bloomfield. From Wikipedia:
The Electric Flag was a blues rock soul group, led by guitarist Mike Bloomfield, keyboardist Barry Goldberg and drummer Buddy Miles, and featuring other well-known musicians such as vocalist Nick Gravenites and bassist Harvey Brooks. Bloomfield formed the Electric Flag in 1967, following his stint with the Butterfield Blues Band. The band reached its peak with the 1968 release, A Long Time Comin’, a fusion of rock, jazz, and R&B styles that charted well in the Billboard Pop Albums chart Read more
So as I started to pay attention to Mike Bloomfield’s music, I came upon the album Super Session, On that album the first side is Mike Bloomfield – Al Kooper and the rest of the band and the second side was Stephen Stills – Al Kooper and the band……from Wikipedia:
Kooper and Bloomfield had previously worked together on the sessions for the ground-breaking classic Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan, as well as playing in support of his controversial appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965. Kooper had recently left Blood, Sweat & Tears after recording their debut album with them, and was now working as an A&R man for Columbia. Bloomfield was about to leave Electric Flag, and at relative loose ends. Kooper telephoned Bloomfield to see if he was free to come down to the studio and jam; Bloomfield agreed, leaving Kooper to handle the arrangements.
Kooper booked two days of studio time in May 1968, and recruited keyboardist Barry Goldberg and bassist Harvey Brooks, both members of the Electric Flag, along with well-known session drummer “Fast” Eddie Hoh. On the first day, the quintet recorded a group of mostly blues-based instrumental tracks, including a modal excursion “His Holy Modal Majesty” reminiscent of “East-West” from the second Butterfield Blues Band album. On the second day, with the tapes ready to roll, Bloomfield did not show up.
Needing to have something to show for the second day of sessions, to sit in for Bloomfield, Kooper hastily called upon Stephen Stills, also in the process of leaving his band Buffalo Springfield. Regrouping behind Stills, Kooper’s session men cut mostly vocal tracks, including “It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry” from Highway 61 and a lengthy and atmospheric take of “Season of the Witch” by Donovan.
Hum, so Chris Hillman and Al Perkins led us to Stephen Stills’ Manassas and now The Electric Flag leads us to Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper with friends Barry Goldberg and the replacement for Mike, Stephen Stills….. got it yet???
Well, let’s continue the evenings listening with one of my favorites, from The Electric Flag “Killing Floor” …. man, I’ve heard LBJ say those words many times over the years!!!