CD If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please [029667005920] (CD 115842),
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If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please [029667005920]

  • 1. If You Love These Blues
    2. Hey Foreman
    3. WDIA
    4. Death Cell Rounder Blues
    5. City Girl
    6. Kansas City Blues
    7. Mama Lion
    8. Thrift Shop Rag
    9. Death in the Family
    10. East Colorado Blues
    11. Blue Ghost Blues
    12. Train Is Gone
    13. Altar Song
    14. I'll Overcome
    15. I Must See Jesus
    16. Great Dreams For Heaven
    17. Gonna Need Somebody on My Bond
    18. I Am a Pilgrim
    19. Just a Closer Walk With Thee
    20. Have Thine Own Way
    21. Farther Along
    22. Peace in the Valley
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): KMCD9801

  • Credits

    This release, originally recorded in 1976 for Guitar Player magazine, features Michael Bloomfield playing a range of blues guitar styles, as well as commentary on each track.
    If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please was an unusual project for Michael Bloomfield. Although recorded as a blues guitar instructional album for Guitar Player magazine, it ended up being acclaimed as one of his finest solo recordings, of interest to both guitar players and the general listening public. Bloomfield had been in commercial and artistic decline for years prior to cutting this disc, and there's the sense that he welcomed the chance to get back to what he knew and loved the best, selecting and laying down material without having to worry about how well it would sell. That relaxed quality comes through on the performances, in which he goes through a wide assortment of electric and acoustic guitar styles, the songs specifically designed to illustrate guitar sounds associated with heroes like B.B. King, Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, T-Bone Walker, Blind Blake, Guitar Slim, Lonnie Johnson, and others. The cuts with band backing are no-frills, straight-ahead affairs that avoid over-production, interrupted by a few showcases for Bloomfield's considerable and underrated abilities as an acoustic guitarist. His singing, as always, was merely serviceable, but suitably respectful of the material and the styles to which he was paying homage. Sprinkled throughout the program are brief, unobtrusive spoken introductions from Bloomfield himself succinctly explaining the songs, what they're examples of, and how they're being played. Long after it was made, it's still useful as a primer for aspiring blues guitarists, but also reasonably satisfying as a blues record on its own terms. The 2004 CD reissue on Kicking Mule adds a lot of value by tacking on the entirety of his 1979 album Bloomfield/Harris, a joint effort by Bloomfield and acoustic guitarist Woody Harris that's a nice, if peripheral, wholly instrumental excursion into gospel-oriented folk-blues. ~ Richie Unterberger

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (No. 968, p.72) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "[A]n intimate lesson that doubles as a moving study of Bloomfield's rare gifts and love of the music..."
    Uncut (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 - "This is easily his best solo work....Bloomfield introduces and executes a series of acoustic/electric guitar styles associated with his mentors..."
    Living Blues (pp.72-73) - "[H]e deftly explains the rudiments of the genre before turning in an impeccable performance."
    Mojo (Publisher) (p.111) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[H]e deftly explains the rudiments of the genre before turning in an impeccable acoustic performance."
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