Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield ranks among the most influential harp players in the Blues. Born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, he began playing classical flute as a child. He also grew up listening to his father’s Jazz records and in 1957 he and future band mate Nick Gravenites began to catch Blues acts in the clubs of the South Side. There he met and started jamming with the legends of the postwar Blues scene – Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs, Howlin’ Wolf, and others. In 1963, he and teenage guitar virtuoso Michael Bloomfield lured a couple of Howlin’ Wolf’s sidemen away from Wolf’s band to form the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Fronted by Butterfield’s strong vocals and harp and augmented by Bloomfield’s Blues-based guitar, the band landed a deal for their first LP with Elektra in 1965 and also backed Bob Dylan when the Folk hero famously defected to Rock at the Newport Folk festival that year. The albums released by the Butterfield Blues Band brought Chicago Blues to a generation of Rock fans during the 1960s and paved the way for late 1960s electric groups like Cream.

— (Blues Foundation press release, 2006.)

2016-11-10T17:06:59+00:00 November 10th, 2016|