A brilliant, but personally unstable, white bluesman from Chicago, Mike Bloomfield was in the vanguard of the stateside revival of interest in the blues in the late 1960's. Although also a vocalist and occasional composer and songwriter, his most celebrated gift was for playing the guitar in a style that was not quite like anyone else, before or since. He first came to prominence as a session player on Bob Dylan's HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED, and as one of two lead guitar players in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
He first came to prominence as a session player on Bob Dylan's HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED, and as one of two lead guitar players in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. After only two albums with Butterfield, Bloomfield started his own band, the Electric Flag, but left that band too, before its first album had even been released. A series of collaborations with Al Kooper (another HIGHWAY 61 session man, who contributed the distinctive organ on "Like a Rolling Stone"), and good friend Nick Gravenites.
The seventies saw Bloomfield's rapid retreat from the spotlight. Recordings from the late sixties reveal some of the difficulties he had with insomnia, by the seventies (and probably before) he had already become deeply involved in drug use.
Nonetheless, with the pressure to succeed in abeyance, Bloomfield recorded some of his most interesting and enduring work in the seventies, mostly for smaller record labels. Most notable of these was an album called IF YOU LOVE THESE BLUES, PLAY 'EM AS YOU PLEASE, an instructional disc of various styles of Blues recorded and released by Guitar Player magazine. In addition to being a critical success (it was nominated for a Grammy), IF YOU LOVE THESE BLUES amply demonstrates the warmth of Bloomfield's devotion to the blues, and his mastery of a wide range of styles.
Michael Bloomfield died in February of 1981, of an accidental Heroin overdose.