Michael Bloomfield

It's Not Killing Me

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It's a shame that Michael Bloomfield's recorded legacy is so spotty. Generally speaking, the blues guitarist's finest moments are found on the universally praised first two discs with Paul Butterfield, the Electric Flag's A Long Time Comin' album, and the sporadic glimpses of greatness on his solo records. Unfortunately, there aren't many of those on It's Not Killing Me, Bloomfield's first solo LP released under his name in 1969. The main problem with this album is its lack of a powerful vocalist who could equally tackle blues, soul, and country. Singing was not one of the legendary guitarist's strengths, and he definitely wasn't capable of carrying that load over an entire record. Instead of focusing on Bloomfield's guitar prowess and letting him arrange the American music he obviously loved so deeply, you get the impression someone at Columbia, or maybe even Bloomfield himself, wanted to turn him into a hip frontman à la Eric Clapton. It's especially odd considering the presence of blues belter Nick Gravenites singing backup on this session, not to mention additional vocals by the Ace of Cups and Diane Tribuno. It makes about as much sense as Led Zeppelin having Jimmy Page sing lead while Robert Plant played tambourine! It's Not Killing Me is recommended for completists only.

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