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Guitar King: Michael Bloomfield's Life in the Blues

Guitar King: Michael Bloomfield's Life in the Blues

by David Dann

NOOK Book(eBook)

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A Rolling Stone Best Music Book of 2019, this biography of blues-rock legend Mike Bloomfield “draws you in the way a novel does” (The Wall Street Journal).

Named one of the world’s great blues-rock guitarists by Rolling Stone, Mike Bloomfield remains beloved by fans forty years after his untimely death. Taking readers backstage, onstage, and into the recording studio with this legendary virtuoso, David Dann tells the riveting stories behind Bloomfield’s work in the seminal Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the mesmerizing Electric Flag, as well as on the Super Session album with Al Kooper and Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, and soundtrack work with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson.

Drawing from meticulous research, including more than seventy interviews with the musician’s friends, relatives, and band members, music historian David Dann brings to life Bloomfield’s worlds, from his struggles to fit in on Chicago’s wealthy North Shore with his Jewish family to the gritty taverns and raucous nightclubs where this self-taught guitarist helped transform the sound of contemporary blues and rock music. With scenes that are as electrifying as Bloomfield’s solos, this is the story of a life lived at full volume.
“Feels like one of the last great untold classic-rock tales, right up through Bloomfield’s mysterious passing.” ―Rolling Stone

“Reveals the depths of Bloomfield's musical passions, genius and personal despair . . . Guitar King establishes his pivotal role in American music history.” ―Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477318935
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 775
Sales rank: 340,488
File size: 17 MB
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About the Author

David Dann is a commercial artist, music historian, writer, and amateur musician who worked for many years in the news industry, including serving as copublisher of an award-winning Catskills weekly. Most recently, he was editor of Artenol, a radical art journal described by the New York Times as “a cross between The New Republic and Mad Magazine.” He has produced radio and video documentaries of Michael Bloomfield and served as a consultant to Sony/Legacy on their recent Bloomfield box set.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • Part I. Guitar King
    • Chapter 1. Social Misfit
    • Chapter 2. North Shore Hotshot
    • Chapter 3. Folk Fanatic
    • Chapter 4. Marriage, the Pickle, and Big Joe
    • Chapter 5. Old Town
    • Chapter 6. Auditioning for Hammond
    • Chapter 7. Big John’s and the Group
    • Chapter 8. Butterfield Blues
    • Chapter 9. Plugging in at Newport
    • Chapter 10. Electrifying Dylan
  • Part II. His Holy Modal Majesty
    • Chapter 11. On the Road with Butter
    • Chapter 12. East-West
    • Chapter 13. Blues to Britain
    • Chapter 14. Hoisting the Flag
    • Chapter 15. Music, Love, and Flowers
    • Chapter 16. Groovin’ Is Easy
    • Chapter 17. Another Country
    • Chapter 18. Shucks and Sessions
  • Part III. Knockin’ Myself Out
    • Chapter 19. Entertainer No More
    • Chapter 20. Live Adventures
    • Chapter 21. Michael’s Lament
    • Chapter 22. Stoned Leisure
    • Chapter 23. Reed Street
    • Chapter 24. Loving These Blues
    • Chapter 25. Count Talent
    • Chapter 26. Last Call
  • Epilogue: Great Gifts from Heaven
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Additional Resources
  • Recordings
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

Charlie Musselwhite

I love this book. It’s the best thing I’ve read about Mike Bloomfield and about the whole era.

Elijah Wald

An important and compelling book about an important and compelling artist. Bloomfield’s peers—Hendrix, Clapton, Joplin, the Rolling Stones, and of course Dylan—have had their lives chronicled in exhaustive detail, and this biography is long overdue. Dann's research is excellent, and the writing strong and engaging, tracing Bloomfield's journey and telling his story with skill and understanding.

Jimmy Vivino

Michael Bloomfield was a heart-to-hand guitar player who was able to take everything he learned from B. B. King, Hubert Sumlin, and everyone else he ever encountered—including the piano style of Little Brother Montgomery—and turn it all inside out and make it his own. He is still the well I draw from for inspiration in the blues, and I drink from it daily. Written from heart to hand just like Bloomfield played his music, Guitar King is a must-read book for all guitar players and music fans alike. It should be the final word on Michael Bloomfield’s journey and his legacy.

Michael Simmons

David Dann has restored bluesman Michael Bloomfield’s premier place in the pantheon as the very first American rock guitar god. The author brings the excitement of Michael’s searing licks to the written word and paints a poignant portrait of a man who was unequipped for and uninterested in playing the games that the entertainment-industrial complex demands of artists. This soulful bio reminds us of one man’s dedication to excellence at the expense of fame and fortune.

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