Before the blues explosion in rock music in the late 1960s, and during the time the genre was being popularized in the UK, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band released their debut album in October 1965. The album was produced by Paul Rothchild (who would become notable for producing The Doors and Janis Joplin) and Mark Abramson.
There were three attempts in recording the album, first in December 1964, but those sessions were halted in favor for live recording from New York’s Café Au Go Go, which was also abandoned. The third time would be the charm, when the Paul Butterfield Blues Band went into the studio in September 1965.
The album contained a mixture of originals and covers, with three written by four of the band members (Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop and Mark Naftalin). They were “Thank You Mr. Poobah”, “Screamin” (both instrumentals) and “Our Love is Drifting”. Covers included Elmore James’s “Shake Your Money-Maker”, Walter Jacobs’s “Blues with a Feeling”, and Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train”. The band also worked with musician Nick Gravenites (later best known for writing songs for Janis Joplin), on the opening track, “Born in Chicago”.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s eponymous debut wasn’t a big commercial hit, as it only peaked at number 123. However, the album did paved the way for more successful albums like 1966’s East-West, and the album was recognized for it’s pioneering stance by sources like Rolling Stone and Down Beat. After that album, a slew of more bands would help further take blues rock it into the mainstream including Cream, The Doors, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin.