And brothers Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan must have been both bending and taking notes from Electric Flag cuts like the horn-driven “Killing Floor” to fuse Bloomfield’s psychedelic-blues soul food with their own Texas-bred guitar-slingin’ DNA.
Disc 2, Jams, shows why the Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills Super Session windouts were so, well, super. “Albert’s Shuffle” continues to explore the outer reaches of the Bloomfield/Kooper mindmeld, while “His Holy Modal Majesty” finds Bloomfield’s furious fingers ablaze in the left channel and Eddie Hoe’s hard-panned drums driving the pace quite royally in the right.
Disc 3, Last Licks, confirms that, whether supporting Nick Gravenites with gobs of tasty comps on “Gypsy Good Time” or marrying his frenzied riffage with Bob Dylan’s holy fury on “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar” (in one of his last live performances from 1980), Bloomfield always played the right notes. And Sweet Blues, the DVD documentary, collects a parade of testimonials from an admiring, learned bench as deep as any Rock and Roll Hall of Fame salute.
Sound quality varies throughout the box set, with some tracks being bootleg quality at best, but as Kooper says in the liner notes, those songs are all “worth having for the power of Bloomfield’s performance.” Whether he was leading the charge or supporting the troops, Bloomfield was a musical frontiersman connected directly and passionately to the source.
CD & DVD
Audio Format: 44.1-kHz/16-bit PCM Stereo
Number of Tracks: 46
Length: 3:13:13 (3 CDs); 57:41 (1 DVD)
Producers: Al Kooper (box set); John Hammond, Tom Wilson, 12 others
Engineers: Roy Halee, Roy Segal, Bruce Botnick, 20 others