Friday, September 4, 2009

Family Vacations

When Michael and I were in our early teens we went with our parents on car trips to the west. Our father was the Captain and did all the driving. Our mother was the social director and was responsible for keeping us quiet by playing geography, sign reading and feeding us. The morning of the start of the vacation, after loading up, Mom brought out the wicker basket of fried chicken, potato salad and the likes. We left Chicago proper and about a half hour later, Michael and I were hungry again. Our Dad who was capable of moving to the red zone in an instant imparted these loving words, "shut up and sit back." This was a man who respected his Mark lV Lincoln and would not tolerate greasy fingerprints anywhere. He was determined to put at least 500 miles on each day and stopping to use a gas station bath room was met with disdain. Michael and I read all the signs; Wild root Hair Tonic, Red Man Chew, Burma shave and the like. When we learned of a Reptile Zoo 60 miles away we began the chant, " Let's stop there, huh dad, huh?" Tirelessly we asked, pleaded, and begged to stop and see the zoo. We were ignored in the beginning, but when we were with in 5 miles of the Reptile Zoo our Mom would add to our cause and say," come on Harold let the boys see the zoo it's their vacation too."
This was how we rolled, a challenge at every stop. One I cannot forget was in the mountains somewhere and they had the Seven Colored Falls and Indian Relics. The falls were beautiful and when the sun set they were illuminated in different colors and sight seeing boat rides took you into caves and underwater lakes. After you saw what was to be seen as if by magic one ended up in the general store with Indian Relics. If our Father was tough on stopping the car, asking for a souvenir was unthinkable. While I was messing around with the cedar boxes holding sharpened pencils I hear a, "Psst, psst Allie?" I turn around and there is Michael in a full Indian Chieftain's headdress, feathers reaching down to the ground, and Michael's shining face beaming at me. My reaction was taken as encouragement and Michael started to do an Indian dance yips and all. The store manager saw us and snatched the headdress off and returned it to prominent display case. He then took each one of us by the hand and out of the building. In the next inspired moment Michael announces he has to go to the bathroom. The manager releases our arms and begins wiping his face with a hanky. Michael returns to his native dancing to hold back his swollen bladder. The manger wants to know if he can hold it and Michael asks if he would like to hold it? Back we go to the store Michael yipping along the way. Hustling us to the Men's room, the manger starts calling out, " I have 2 boys here that have lost their parents, please take them." "Boys, boys where have you been? Your father is furious." Like we couldn't guess that.
Back in the car empty handed awaiting our next adventure.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michael Bloomfield"s Birthday Surprise

Make no mistake about it the finest tribute to Michael Bloomfield has been created by David Dann. David's new site and and the link are, also the link can be found on the front page of the official site.
David Dann has created a moving tapestry of Michael's life. Videos, interviews, Michael being Michael. Sort of like high style home movies and a selected short, and so much more. It would be near impossible to find a Bloomfield fan that would be disappointed after seeing this.
David Dann in his quiet way delivers time and again the essence and heart of my brother. On behalf of the family we are deeply grateful for your friendship and talent.
I am always amazed to find new and unexpected material on Michael. Be it a video or his voice time stands still and I reenter a world long gone. David "thanks" hardly seems to express the joy you have given to all of us. With profound appreciation, Allen Bloomfield

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What makes a hit movie?

I heard a head of a large movie marketing company speak about how a movie becomes a hit. When the audience is familiar with the actors, or the story line continuing from a past release which was successful, there is a good chance that the audience will want to repeat the experience. In the case of Bruno, they had that link and then had a massive advertising campaign to pump it even more. Critics were reviewing the movie as well. The first night it opened they had healthy ticket sales. Now here is the interesting part, once the initial audience was leaving out came the cell phones, and twitters, and text messaging and they called all their friends and family and reported that the movie was mediocre. The next night sales dropped by 40%. What this clearly shows is the power to influence another that overrides the advertising, critics or any type of hype. The speed that this electronic communication moved was astonishing. This phenomenon is unprecedented. This is truly power to the people.

Allen B.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's on your mind?

I need your thoughts and questions in order for this Blog to be of value. Do you want more of my recollections and experiences living with Michael? There seems to be an interest in the equipment he played. I will get that technical stuff if you want. If you find that I am not addressing what you wish to explore I will try my utmost to stay on point. Do you want music streamed on this site? Would you like me to make available some of Michael's writings?
This can only work if you the reader participate. We share a common interest in Michael and together new insights can be brought forth. This Blog is really for you please take advantage of it.
Anxious to please,

Friday, May 22, 2009


No one loved to laugh more than Michael. Be it Red Foxx, Rodney Dangerfield, Oscar Levant. Johnathan Winter, Lenny Bruce, they were all a joy to him. In the written form Bruce Jay Friedman, Patrick Dennis, Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh, Kingsly Amos, Thurber,
Terry Southern and many more. What stuff really makes you laugh out loud? Be it stand up, a TV show, or a book? Humor was so much a part of Michael.

Monday, May 11, 2009


It is with profound sorrow that my friend David R. Shorey AKA Gashouse Dave passed away on Friday May 8Th, 2009. He had level four cancer which finally took it's toll.
David played bass on several of the latter albums with my brother. He was also a exceptional guitarist and fronted the, "Gashouse Dave and the Hardtails." I suggest that you Google him, check and enjoy the great talent he had.
David was incredibly gifted not only in music but he had written and published an impressive array of books. Gashouse could draw and paint and was one of the best Literature Teachers I have ever known. His sense of humor was only second to Michael's.
I had the pleasure of his company two years ago when we went down to Clarksdale, Mississippi for The Paul Butterfield Reunion. We spent a week together and soaked up the rural south, the home of Robert Johnson, the Big Muddy, and the cotton fields at night. We read to each other our favorite southern writers and David played at all the jukes and clubs we could find.
My brother David, was incredibly kind, sweet natured, generous, and lived through his heart. Once I went with him to a barrio in LA where he taught disadvantaged children how to play music. The children loved David, climbed all over him and played with the utmost passion. I will never forget the joy he brought them.
As he loved my brother so did I love him. May peace and peace and peace surround him always. My deepest sympathy and condolences to Olga for her loss.

Allen B.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Direct From The Heart.

It is rare in these days for an artist to climb out of their persona and perform exclusively with talent and no artifice. I as well as millions witnessed that in watching and hearing Susan Boyle sing. I was reminded of identifying with the physical illusion, being judgemental and mean spirited all based on a lie. The sheath that encloses the essence means nothing. The essence means everything. If we were all blind who would are friends be?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Check This Out on April 10Th featured Mike Bloomfield and Friends live at the Fillmore. Excellent sound quality and musical selections. Vault concerts have three live performances to select from. Enjoy!
Allen B.

Monday, April 6, 2009

That Special Something

A friend gave me a CD by Bella Flect and The Flectones. I had never heard of them until now and I was knocked out hearing electric banjo and the complete mastery of the group. That got me thinking about unique sounds that leave a lasting impression. The first time I heard Paul Butterfield play amplified harp I thought that was the ultimate. The same with Ravi Shankar live at Monterrey. Michael hit it out of the park with his composition East West. Jimmy Hendrix created something totally new as did the Beatles with Sargent Pepper. Excellence in musicianship as demonstrated on a particular instrument is one component, but the composition can transport you on a musical odyssey to really new worlds.
I welcome your recommendations and experiences, this would be great to share.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Is In The Air

It is lambing time at the farm and I was reminded of the many pets that shared Michael's and my life. The first that came to mind was Amster the Hamster which was given to Michael to care for over summer vacation in fourth grade. Amster came in a cage with a wheel , shavings, food and water tray. He looked like Gus Gus, a pear shaped creature with brown little teeth, large distended tummy and a lethargic attitude towards life. I don't remember him ever running in the wheel, more often he was reclined at the bottom slowly swinging back and forth. Someone left the door ajar and little Amster moved on.

At Easter time we went to the neighborhood Woolworth's where they sold baby chicks that were dyed in pastel colors pink, blue, and green. Once you selected the one you liked they were placed on the moving check out counter and shoved into a paper bag which was stapled shut. You could hear them fluttering against the bag. I have no recollection what became of them once we got home.

Grandpa Max took us to the circus one summer and bought us two chameleons that came with little collars and leashes which were attached to safety pins so they could be worn on your shirt.

The moron who conceived of this fashion statement was no friend of Petta. They would scamper around for a while and then hang at the end of the leash until their luminous green color changed to sickly gray.

When Michael was fourteen our house keeper bought him a very fine German Shepherd named Rex Von Sargent Hessian The Third. This was an outstanding dog with one slight weakness. He was never really trained and as he tipped in at one hundred plus pounds of frisky pup he would pull you with the might of a freight train on a walk. He also had a fancy for digging up the neighbors freshly planted rose bushes or go on a romp down to the beach and run hellbent along the surf barking incessantly. This prompted a call to the police department who picked him up and locked him in a cell until my mother could come down and pay the fine. This happened so often that we actually had a charge account at the station and they would just add on the cost of his tearing up the mattresses or eating a box of toilet paper which he did when he became bored. Rex was well known and loved by most of the police and fire department and became a sort of mascot to the men in service. It should be noted that all the dogs adored our mother. Case in point was Mama taking Rexie, Michael and myself out for frozen custard. Rex loved vanilla in a sugar cone. We are on our way back when a policeman pulls us over for some infraction. Rex always likes to lay on Mama's lap. The officer approaches the car with summons in hand intent on passing it through the window. As the window lowered Rex lunged towards the stranger's hand and just about nailed him. The officer explodes in anger and every time he approaches the car Rexie greets him with a full complement of ivory. Finally he shoves the ticket under the windshield wiper and screams," get a muzzle for that dog. It wasn't long after that incident that Rexie was in the back seat of my father's car sleeping contentedly and upon arriving home my Dad said," let's go Rexie". Rex replied with a deep growl and he received a very strong correction.

About three weeks later the crate arrived from the K-9 Corp and Rex was enlisted.

Our next additions came from a crazy aunt on my mother's side. She sent us two Myna birds in a ornate Indian cage. As luck would have they got out and Michael and I had the rare experience of complete identification with our mother's phobia. She was deathly afraid of birds and said this was because when she was a little girl bats some how got tangled in her hair. Sounds like the old crap a roo to me but, whatever? Those little fuckers were flying all over, banging into walls, flapping their little wings as hard as they could. Mama hightailed it, her hands covering her head as she made a run for the stairs. Directly behind her were Michael and I heads also covered in order to protect our self from their needle sharp beaks which were intent on spearing our brains. This newly acquired fear of birds was so well implanted that Michael would not enter a room unless he was assured that the bird was locked in a cage and could not get out. Even when he walked amongst pigeons his eyes grew wide and the color drained from his face.

Enter Corky Corkscrew our Boston Bull Pup. Corky was brindle in color and looked like the stub of a cigar butt. Full of love and affection he was a natural addition to the pack. Through no fault of his own his physical form created some side effects that amused and disgusted others. His face was pushed in and in order to breath he schnorkeled and snored like a asthmatic old man. Secondly he was the most gaseous dog I have ever know. He let out silent bombs that could wilt flowers and vacate a room. He was oblivious to all this and simply assumed that the humans were nuts. He finally bonded with a German couple who worked for us and they renamed him "Der Fluffer." Many a night the three would be on the sofa sharing a pint of ice cream, Fluffer in the center being fed by both of them. Eventually they took him and he lived a fat, happy life.

The last family dog was Pepper a Miniature Schnauzer of show dog quality. He claimed my Mother as his property and lived for her company. They both had their hair done each week and he was glued to her side. At night he would cuddle deep into her hip and this bothered my Father. After he was kicked off the bed he would trot into the living room which had very expensive floor to ceiling drapes and urinate on each one. Once relieved of his anger he would happily return to my mothers side basking in the comfort of my Fathers snores. The drapes became a shorter and shorter almost like cafe curtains. Pepper not fully satisfied with marking his territory would after my Father went to work climb up on his pillows and extend himself fully, then draw his underside over the top of the pillow. Pepper remained king of his dominion for some fourteen years.

Lastly Michael and his wife Susan got a pup named Harry. This was a puppy that never lost it's puppy smell. It looked a little like a fox and had an interesting relationship with Michael. My brother spoke to harry just like any other person and Harry would cock his head and appear to be on the verge of speech. Being unable to master English he compensated by smiling and baring his teeth and yodeling which provided my brother with hours of amusement. Harry was the father of Harry 2 and lived to a good old age with just a small speech impediment.

Please excuse me for drifting a bit, but Spring is in the air.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Michael Bloomfield July 28, 1943 - February 15, 1981


And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall raise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no domimion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas (1936)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kooper's Birthday Bash at B.B. King's Club

People were waiting in a very long line on 42ND street to see Al Kooper and celebrate his 65Th birthday on Saturday February 7Th. It was standing room only and it was great to see this turn out. The show opened with Danny Kalb, fame guitarist of Al Kooper's Blues Project days. Danny played acoustic guitar accompanied by Al and up right bass and drums. It was as if time had ceased and the familiar groove was effortlessly found. Then Al shared a chronological walk down memory lane and playing guitar he recreated the sounds of the baby boomers youth. Next Jimmy Vivino was brought on and he and Al did two numbers on acoustic guitars from the Rekooperation days. I then was invited on stage to introduce the Mike Bloomfield Signature Les Paul 1959 Sunburst Guitar. I shared a true story which occurred some forty years ago with the audience.

Alan had introduced me to his manager, and I was hired to be his assistant. I was working in that capacity at a concert in Boston featuring Alan and my brother Michael. While we were waiting for the opening act to conclude, Michael had yet to arrive. As the band on stage began their finale still no Michael. The atmosphere in the office turned south and the promoter became more and more sullen and angry with each passing moment. Alan was trying to find a safe shelter and I became as still as a mouse. Alan and I made eye contact and I could see the proverbial light bulb go off in his eyes. As if transformed he rushes to me and says with the self confidence of a Prophet what we were going to do. He started by putting a jacket on me and began hustling me towards the stage. Next he draped a guitar on my shoulder and revealed his inspiration. "Here's what you do. You go up on stage and because you look a little like Michael you tell them you are really sick, have a very high temperature and can't play tonight, but want to thank them all for coming and hopefully I will be over this shortly and make it up to you. Then run for cover." Several things crossed my mind. This inspiration probably was similar to the one General Armstrong Custer had when he thought it might be a hoot to check out the Little Bighorn. Next I heard the mention of "we" which reduced down to me, translating into I am going to receive the hot lead enema. Lastly, while I was now walking down the last mile I see out of the corner of my eye this familiar form stomping down the aisle. Michael immediately recognizes me and removes his guitar from my shoulder and with a with a full grin says, " Allen I didn't know you play guitar!" Off he goes to the stage stopping every few feet, shaking his head and chortling to himself.

That was the first and only time I wore his guitar up until now. So much had changed and now I had the honor of placing this prototype into the hands of my most favorite guitarist and friend Jimmy Vivino to be played for the very first time. Jimmy V has been blessed with talent that seems to know no limits. This similarity with Michael is obvious. What is more significant in my heart is that Jimmy and Michael both shared a respect for the masters of the blues and reached out and supported their abilities and did all they could to introduce them to a greater audience. Both men maintained their friendships with musicians they started with and never abandoned them. Lastly each has a loving generous nature and remained humble in attitude toward others. When this outstanding character is coupled with great musical skill the sound is so pure and special it has a transforming effect. Jimmy then played the Michael Guitar from the Super Session period and brought the house down.

Al concluded with his Berkley Band and while on remote hook up left the stage and roamed into the audience singing and sharing his joy.

What a nice night. So much love and appreciation abounded, what a joy to behold.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mike Bloomfield Signature Les Paul Sunburst introduced at Namm Show

Jimmy Vivino called me last night from the Namm Show In Los Angeles to describe the prototype Mike Bloomfield Les Paul Sunburst. He said it was beautiful and that Gibson did an absolutely fantastic job. Jimmy will be taking that guitar back to New York and will be playing it at B.B. Kings on February 7Th celebrating Al Koopers birthday. I look forwards to seeing some of you there to share in this very special event.
Best regards,