Paul Butterfield - Footage

Why else would you want to visit this website? If you have the slightest interest in Paul Butterfield and his various bands, you will want to view and listen to the music. On this page you will find links to some of the best of the music, with a brief commentary as to why a particular performance is significant. I am not a professional musician, and my taste might be idiosyncratic, so you might disagree with my choices and/or opinions. Fine. If you are motivated, go to the Contact link, way above, and send me a message: "How the hell could you leave out [this or that]?" "Are you crazy for including [this or that]?" And so on.

This website is fully a work in progress, so I will be making changes: additions, deletions, modifications of opinion. So, for the purpose of improving this website and, at the same time, better honoring the legacy of Paul Butterfield, let me hear from you.
“Blues With a Feeling,”
From the Newport Folk Festival, 1965. Music in G, Butterfield using a C harp. The 6-note introductory riff (listen for the slide over the 4-blow, C note) is stated, repeated, and answered. Sometimes with the harp, sometimes with other instruments from the band. That is followed by “Look Over Yonders Wall,” then the we-have-it-in-our-pocket “Born in Chicago,” which had pretty much become the band’s anthem.
“Nobody’s Fault But Mine,”
A gorgeous 12-bar blues song originally by Blind Willie Johnson. Beautifully rendered here by Butterfield using an F harp, which project a very high tone, and was unusual for Butterfield. Music in C. Listen for the solo at the 1:50 mark. It’s a nice example of Butterfield’s restraint in not playing a single note too many. Off the album
“Nobody’s Fault But Mine,”
A gorgeous 12-bar blues song originally by Blind Willie Johnson. Beautifully rendered here by Butterfield using an F harp, which projects a very high tone, and was unusual for Butterfield. Music in C. Listen for the solo at the 1:50 mark. It’s a nice example of Butterfield’s restraint in not playing a single note too many. Off the album "Better Days."
Marin Civic Auditorium in San Rafael, CA
This one takes a little bit of patience, but is well worth the 11 minutes. Butterfield is leading a band on September 29, 1984 at the Marin Civic Auditorium in San Rafael, CA. The concert was staged by Bill Graham. The backup band included Butterfield’s old friend and bandmate, Elvin Bishop, as well as Carlos Santana, and Rick Danko, lately of The Band, and an excellent horn section called the Tower of Power.
From Butterfield’s first 3-note trill at the 6-second mark, 2-draw, 3-draw bent, 4-draw slightly extended, you can see who is in charge here. That trill is not answered on his harp, but by one of the guitarists almost 6 minutes later. You will hear it and recognize it. During the first half of the video, guitarists and horn blowers play freely, with musicians grabbing solos in turn, almost at will. Watch what happens at the 6:00 mark, however: Butterfield takes charge, changes the rhythm and pace, and launches into a hard version of “New Walkin’ Blues,” blowing on the harp then taking the vocals for himself. Stunning. Yes, this song is an updated version of Robert Johnson's classic "Walkin' Blues," and you will not find a better rendition of it anywhere. And if you can stop yourself from bopping and rolling in your chair as you watch Butterfield establish then dig into that pulsing beat, good for you, ‘cause I can’t.
Marin Civic Auditorium in San Rafael, CA
This one takes a little bit of patience, but is well worth the 11 minutes. Butterfield is leading a band on September 29, 1984 at the Marin Civic Auditorium in San Rafael, CA. The concert was staged by Bill Graham. The backup band included Butterfield’s old friend and bandmate, Elvin Bishop, as well as Carlos Santana, and Rick Danko, lately of The Band, and an excellent horn section called the Tower of Power.
From Butterfield’s first 3-note trill at the 6-second mark, 2-draw, 3-draw bent, 4-draw slightly extended, you can see who is in charge here. That trill is not answered on his harp, but by one of the guitarists almost 6 minutes later. You will hear it and recognize it. During the first half of the video, guitarists and horn blowers play freely, with musicians grabbing solos in turn, almost at will. Watch what happens at the 6:00 mark, however: Butterfield takes charge, changes the rhythm and pace, and launches into a hard version of “New Walkin’ Blues,” blowing on the harp then taking the vocals for himself. Stunning. Yes, this song is an updated version of Robert Johnson's classic "Walkin' Blues," and you will not find a better rendition of it anywhere. And if you can stop yourself from bopping and rolling in your chair as you watch Butterfield establish then dig into that pulsing beat, good for you, ‘cause I can’t.