Lovely Recordings Hosted by Joe Vax

Greetings fellow Audio Streamers.

Michael has often stated that he doesn’t want reviews, he wants stories. Well Michael, having been a collector of recorded music for the last 50 years I have many stories, so for my first contribution to Lovely Recordings let me start with the very first one.

Oakland, California 1966. I’m hanging out with my buddy Gary in our junior high school art class. Now Gary was a couple of years older than me (he’s the first real hippie I ever knew) and Gary is going on and on about the Butterfield Blues Band. I had no idea what he was talking about, I’m sure the puzzled look on my face gave it away. ‘You’ve never heard Paul Butterfield?’ he asked incredulously! ‘You’re coming over to my house after school!’

Not only had I never heard the Butterfield band, I had never been to Gary’s house, so I’m game. Now Gary lived in his parent’s unfinished basement—bare studs, a concrete floor and an old washing machine, but the furnishings were the real story! In the center of this very large room was a mattress on the floor with one of those 1960’s East Indian bed spreads, a couple of fruit crates with a little all-in-one record player and a Goodwill coffee table with a giant hookah sitting on it. But it was the huge (old) American flag nailed to the studs in lieu of sheet rock that really said counter culture!

So I sat down on the edge of the mattress while Gary slipped a record out of it’s sleeve and handed me the cover. I am already blown away and I haven’t heard any music yet. This is 1966, there is white music and there is black music and I’m holding an album cover with a photo of a band that is both black AND white. Holy shit, what is this?

The album was East-West and the moment the needle dropped on track one my life and consciousness would be forever altered.

Ever since that afternoon in Gary’s basement I have had an insatiable appetite for what Lester Bowie called "The Great Black Music". From Son House to Sun Ra in all of it’s many forms I still can’t get enough, and it all started with the Butterfield Blues Band.

Butterfield albums were often criticized for being uneven, true enough, but each of the six albums contained in Paul Butterfield The Studio Album Collection 1965-1971 has many solid performances and will give the listener an excellent perspective on the musical growth of the band that the late Bill Graham used to say started it all.

This collection, available from HDtracks, is sonically the best I’ve heard of all six of these classic albums.

I am a retired graphic designer still living in Oakland (why leave paradise?) with my life partner Elaine and our Pit Bull mix Mona. Like you Michael, I am fortunate enough to have a free standing dedicated listening room. You have the barn, I have the garage which (here in Oakland) we like to call The Soul Hole! My system is made up of Sonus Faber, Ayre and Berkeley Audio Design with cabling and room treatment from Synergistic Research.

Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

Timcognito's picture

My story of finding it is virtually the same as yours and my love of the blues and my collection has grown quite a bit because of it too. Love Oakland. I lived there in my college years. Now I'm in Moss Beach but go there often. I will turn my kid on to the compilation as he is starting to get the bug for the blues. Great story, great digs. Thanks for sharing.

Also, you may also like these two if you don't have them already. (so lushes with all the horns in syncopation)

joakland's picture

Thank you so much for your warm comments and your suggestions. I‘m hip to The lost Electra Sessions but I missed that particular Brass Fantasy album. I will certainly place that at the top of my wish list. Thanks!