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Guitar Gems from John Stix Music 

Guitar Gems from John Stix

Written by Mike Bloomfield

John Stix searches the web for choice guitar gems that you may have overlooked in the vast universe of Internet videos.

Wine by Electric Flap at the Monterey Pop Festival

I’m on a Mike Bloomfield kick. Bloomfield is the American equivalent of England’s Peter Green. Both of these guys are killer Blues guitarists with talent and style enough to make them major guitar heroes. Yet somehow in the 1960’s era of guitar greats, they remained at least partially in the shadows. Because of character flaws both guitarists were never in the spotlight long enough to sustain a career as big as their talents.

One of my ‘Let me turn you onto’ albums is the Mike Bloomfield lead Electric Flag debut, A Long Time Comin’. Bloomfield’s R&B, Blues band with horns, preceded Al Kooper’s Blood Sweat and Tears and featured Buddy Miles, Harvey Brooks and Nick Gravenites. This album was anything but Blues by the numbers and featured memorable songs, killer soul horn charts, sound collage and guitar playing that thrilled the likes of Carlos Santana and Robben Ford. Ford recalls, “When this record came out it was my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mike Bloomfield was my first guitar hero, and probably the only one that I ever emulated to the point where I used to sound a lot r like him.”

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Michael Bloomfield Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1970: Photo of Michael Bloomfield Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

But then there’s that shadow thing I mentioned. If you’re lucky, your band will have a bright moment ‘ when all eyes come your way. And if you’re even luckier, you can maintain that eye contact. For example, Santana jumped onto the world stage from a performance at Woodstock that was captured on film. The same is true of Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding and The Who, who crashed the party with incendiary performances captured on film during the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Somewhere on that bill and a day earlier, The Electric Flag played a short, four song set. And while Bloomfield is said to be disappointed in their performance, one advocate, Clive Davis, was not. It is said that this performance helped lead to him sign them to Columbia records, though Bloomfield himself had already been signed to Columbia as a solo artist by John Hammond in 1964. There is rumored to be a recording by The Group, as Bloomfield called them, that has yet to see the light of day.

The result of the Electric Flag signing is A Long Time Comin’. So let me present to you the final number of their live set from Monterey, the very one that perhaps helped get them signed. Bloomfield solo is both fiery and thoughtful. He is not playing licks, he is constructing ideas and building a path he invites us to take with him. I have also included a link to the opening number from A Long Time Comin’ which is the best Blues Rock rendition of . Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor. That says a lot considering you can find versions by Hendrix, Clapton and Zeppelin (The Lemon Song). If you’re a modern blues-­rock fan and haven’t found this album-yet, you are in for some good time. Enjoy.

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