Paul Butterfield


I figure I might as well get the ball rolling… I’m new to Harmonica & I’ve just discovered Paul Butterfield - anyone got any Butterfirld recommendations?


Try “The Butterfield Bluesband LIVE”, at the Troubadour in LA. Most famous title is probably “Everything gonna be alright”, played on a harp in C key.


Paul Butterfield is for shure one of my biggest influences…like Swieland says his album Live is really one of the best…he had a style of his own and introduced many people to this instrument,as he played in famous festivals as Woodstock…at the beggining he was playing Chicago blues standards but when he formed the band Better Days he started exploring soul,funk,and other colours of american music,and for me there is when he was at his best,also a great singer!!!i could be talking days about him,butthe best is that your hear his music!!!


Thanks for your responses guys - great suggestions! I’ve been learning harmonica for 8 months and have tried to soak up as much blues as possible so cannot understand how I missed Butterfield until 2 days ago??? I can’t stop listening to him - his voice is great and the way he plays is unlike anything else I’ve heard - amazing.


great that you like him!!!besides his albums you can hear him in the legendary Fathers & Sons with MuddyWaters and many other top bluesman


Butter in my opinion was very accomplished at mostly sticking to the blues scale. Joe Filisko


Hi guys!

I´m a big fan of Butterfield and guess what I see the moment I register to this community?
Did you know that there´s a documentary released in 2017 called “Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story”???

We have the honour in the Swedish “HarpMeet” event (11th of November) to screen this film for the first time outside US!

Check out this!
Horn From The Heart

//Markus Korhonen
Founder HarpMeet


Butterfield’s first album on Elektra, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1966), was one of the first blues harmonica records I listened intensively to when learning to play and it stands up very well today. It was revolutionary at the time because the band featured black Chicago musicians Sam Lay (drums) and Jerome Arnold (bass), previously from Howling Wolf’s band, alongside white kids (and later blues legends) Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop (guitar). This was recorded and released before racial segregation in the USA was abolished, so it was a significant political statement as well as the first genuine Chicago blues record by a white singer and harp player. Not to be missed :smile:


Lots of great suggestions here. I’ll be looking for that documentary and how good is it to see Joe Filisko joining in!


I’d be interested to hear you expand on that - is it a compliment or do you think he was restricted by the blues scale?
It’s interesting to get a professionals perspective on what makes player great (or not) as the case may be…


Compliment YES! Restricted YES! The great sounding blues stuff in my opinion is not available everywhere on the harp. What is cool is that he figured out where the range is that sounds best and stuck to it. Very much like Sonny Boy no. 1 but with more clean single notes. JF


Thanks Joe, really interesting!


My tastes must be similar to Steve Baker, since the first Butterfield Blues Band record is my favourite. Although I had bought Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf LPs, this was my first revival Chicago blues album. I had been a folkie, listening to folk musicians like Sonny & Brownie, Dave Van Ronk, John Hammond and Josh White, then in the mid-sixties I read a review in Sing Out! by Tony “Little Son” Glover (of Blues, Rags & Hollers fame) of the first Butterfield album and bought it and became a fan.
I heard somewhere that Paul Butterfield, like Sonny Terry, Willie P. Bennett and Catfish Willie, played the harp upside down. (left handed?) Is this true?


In the mid 60’s I learned blues harp from the best friend of my best friends brother! A guy by the name of Gerard Sayer later to become Leo. He played the harp left handed which was fine if you were facing each other as you were both moving it in the same direction (like playing in a mirror)
I’ve just posted this picture of two Echo super Vampers I bought in 1965…


Try using Spotify…It’s free Music & It has fantastic collection of Paul Butterfield album’s beside other Blue’s Harmonica legend’s…
Regards from Roy.
Hamburg, Germany


Paul Butterfield’s first two albums sound even better on vinyl !! What I like most about him is his raw energy and enthusiasm. The band really had something extra about them. Blues with a feeling.


In numerous photos, Butter can be seen holding the harp in his right hand. As he also appears to be playing mostly at that end, it’s a fairly safe assumption that he had the low notes to the right (upside down). Most people hold it with their left hand, with the low notes to the left. However, there’s no real evidence that this makes any difference to the sound.