Under the Hood: Mike Bloomfield on Paul Butterfield

In the early 1960s, Chicago’s gritty South Side was a hotbed of electric blues. Men like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter ruled the nightclubs, and anybody hoping to take the stage really had to have their chops together. Paul Butterfield was one of the first white musicians to make that move, and as a result the Butterfield Blues Band introduced Chicago’s finest music to vast new audiences. From the House of Blues archives, guitarist Mike Bloomfield remembers his bandmate Paul Butterfield.

I was scared to work with Butterfield. I was scared because he was bad. He was a bad guy, man. He carried pistols man and was down there man on the South Side holding his own and Paul was the real thing, you know. It fascinated me and yet it intimidated me to, you know. Because the cat just like went down there, went in the baddest Black ghettos man, and was just as bad as the baddest cats down there man. Wouldn’t take no jive from nobody, you know. And held his own, God did he hold his own. - Mike Bloomfield