The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Michael Bloomfield & Christian Moreau Chablis

Michael Bloomfield was born into a wealthy Jewish-American family on the north side of Chicago, but preferred music to the family catering equipment business. He became a blues devotee as a teenager and spent time at Chicago's South Side blues clubs, playing guitar with some of the greatest black bluesmen

Al Kooper, Bloomfield's later collaborator and close friend, wrote the young guitarist's talent "was instantly obvious to his mentors. They knew this was not just another white boy; this was someone who truly understood what the blues were all about." Among Bloomfield’s early supporters were B.B. king, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, and Buddy Guy.

During his tenure in the Chicago blues clubs, he met Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop. Bloomfield recorded a few sessions for Columbia in 1964 (which weren't released until after his death), but ended up joining the original Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which included Bishop, Howlin Wolf rhythm section alumni Sam Lay, and Jerome Arnold.

Bloomfield tired of the Butterfield Band's rigorous touring schedule and, relocated to San Francisco to create his own group, Electric Flag in 1967. The band was intended to feature "American music," a hybrid of blues, soul, country, rock, and folk, and incorporated an expanded lineup complete with a horn section. The inclusion of drummer Buddy Miles gave Bloomfield license to explore soul and R&B. Electric Flag debuted at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and issued an album, A Long Time Comin', in April 1968, one of my favorites.
Later, Bloomfield joined with al Kooper, with whom he recorded the Super Session album in 1968. It was a jam session that spotlighted Bloomfield’s guitar skills on side one. It’s still a classic to this day. Bloomfield's chronic insomnia caused him to repair to his San Francisco home the second day of recording, prompting Kooper to invite Stephen Stills to complete the album. It received excellent reviews and became the best-selling album of Bloomfield's career

The exact events and circumstances that led to his death are not clear. What is known is that Bloomfield was found dead of a drug overdose in his car on February 15, 1981. The only details (from unnamed sources) relate that Bloomfield died at a San Francisco party, and was driven to another location in the city by two men who were present at the party.

Long time comin-Full album:
Long Distand (with Muddy Waters):
Paul Butterfield Reunion:

I recommend a 2010 Christian Moreau Chablis while you listen to Michael. Chablis is arguably the most famous white burgundy appellation on earth, and rightly so. The wines also see relatively less oak influence than most regions working with Chardonnay. In the case of Christian Moreau’s basic 2010 Chablis ($25) one sees aromas and flavors of lemon and honey with a bright hint of minerality. I’m trying to force spring here by recommending Chablis, a wine I usually drink in warmer weather. Hopefully it works.


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