Song of the Day #4,759: ‘Born in Chicago’ – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

These Rock & Roll Hall of Fame posts often surface acts that are musical blindspots (deafspots?) for me. Such is the case with the next 2015 inductee, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Formed by Chicago-based harmonica-player/singer Paul Butterfield in 1963, the band recorded seven well-received albums before breaking up in 1971. They also made a splash as a live act, playing many festivals in the late 60s, including Woodstock.

The band included a dozen members during its lifespan, with seven players earning admission into the Hall and five getting snubbed. Among those admitted were guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, and drummer Billy Davenport.

Butterfield is credited with bringing attention to the Chicago blues sound, especially among white audiences, and for demonstrating that a white guy was capable of effectively playing the blues. He is also considered one of the greatest harmonica players.

Butterfield died in 1987 at age 44 after accidentally overdosing on heroin.

I was born in Chicago, nineteen and forty-one
I was born in Chicago in nineteen and forty-one
Well, my father told me
“Son, you’d better get a gun.”
My first friend went down
When I was seventeen years old
Oh, my first friend went down
When I was seventeen years old
Well, there’s one thing I can say about that boy
He gotta goincluded a s

Well, my second friend went down
When I was twenty-one years of age
Oh, my second friend went down
When I was twenty-one years of age
Well, there’s one thing I can say about that boy
He gotta pray

Well, now rules are alright
If there’s someone left to play the game
Well, now rules are alright
If there’s someone left to play the game
All my friends are going
And everything just don’t seem the same
Things just don’t seem the same, baby

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,759: ‘Born in Chicago’ – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I’ve never heard of Paul Butterfield either, but I do appreciate the Chicago blues sound.

  2. Rob says:

    My older brother bought me this exact LP when I turned 13 … his goal was to introduce me to the blues. It worked. This stuff is pretty hardcore Chicago blues. Elvin Bishop went on to have a top 5 hit with “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” in the mid-70’s. A great piece of R&B pop. I’ve attached a scorching version of “Mystery Train” by Paul Butterfield and The Band from the great concert flick “The Last Waltz”.

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