3/01/2014

Blues Review: Michael Bloomfield-From His Head To His Heart To His Hands

Release Date: February 4, 2014
Label: Legacy

Michael Bloomfield had a short stay on this planet, a paltry 38 years, which is longer than some of the other guitar legends that have graced our ears. He was a highly regarded player and some of the people that had the pleasure to work with him at his peak believed he was vastly underated and even better than Hendrix. I would never put a label like that on any guitar player past or present, what I do know is that Bloomfield was outstanding, he took it all to another level. This box set From His Head To His Heart To His Hands is a testament to that fact. The 3 CDs and DVD Sweet Blues: A Film About Mike Bloomfield, features some of his best work. A generous booklet is included as well. The entire package is an excellent documentary and encapsulation of his rise as a musician.

Bloomfield was very humble and he stated in his interviews that “I am just a person, a guitar player.” He did not want all the attention and that explains why at the height of his career he stepped away and stopped the machine that was bringing him to the top.  Once he put the brakes on his meteoric rise he went back to playing the small clubs that he felt at home in. That is what his heart called him to do. He was very frank in his interviews stating he was an acid head but never got addicted to any drug because he wanted to enjoy all the creature pleasures of life. He explained how heroin for instance, would take so much of your time and steal your life away. He tested the waters one too many times and it was an overdose that ended his life. Bloomfield became another rock ‘n’ roll fatality to add to the history books of music. The great thing about recorded music and films is the images and sounds are kept alive for eternity (or least we hope so) and this box set tells the story of a great but tragic artist.

The probability of a Jewish white kid going to Chicago and playing with all the blues legends and coming out unscathed was very low. Bloomfield beat all the odds and made an impression with his peers and earned the respect and admiration of his heroes. He wanted to sing like Ray Charles and play like B.B. King. I think he had his own sound and his guitar did all the talking. His voice was average and his playing was otherworldly. The CDs provided in this set give a good overview of his versatility, technical abilities and down to earth persona. His warmth and sense of humor come through magnificently on tracks like “I’m Glad I’m Jewish.” His blues pedigree was obvious and everyone from Dylan to B.B. King and Santana respected him for his abilities.

Michael Bloomfield assimilated the blues and everything it encompassed From His Head To His Heart To His Hands. From the beginnings with Muddy Waters on the South side of Chicago to San Francisco and playing in the Super Sessions and jamming with The Electric Flag, he became a living legend in a few short years. Now he is gone and the legend continues to grow and new ears continually find his artistry through reissues and marvelous tributes such as this box set. This will be a complete musical experience if you are familiar with Bloomfield or the newly initiated. A must have for any fan of the blues!

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Albert's Shuffle, East-West, Sweet Blues: A Film About Mike Bloomfield

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder

March 1, 2014

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

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