Guitar King is what old-timers in the book trade call a doorstop or widowmaker, and it’s packed with enough info to make a blues nerd giddy with joy ... [a] rich, resonant, detailed account ... On page after page, [Dann] piles up minutiae as few music writers do ... Even when he’s not recounting a performance or quoting one of his hundreds of sources, Mr. Dann brings the reader into the story with little splashes of color and other sensory appeals ... this book draws you in the way a novel does, one by Dostoyevsky, say, in which the hero is part genius, part stumblebum, a flawed artist making his way half-aware through a world of joys and pitfalls—someone very much like most of us, in other words, if a lot more talented and a little more careless.
Musician, musical historian, and writer Dann...presents what may become the definitive biography of 1960s blues-rock guitar virtuoso Michael Bloomfield. This meticulously researched volume recounts how Bloomfield’s love of blues and folk, along with his restless and searching persona, made for a distinctly American story ... Dann describes gigs, recording sessions, and song creation with intimate detail and scene setting and uses dozens of interviews with Bloomfield’s associates and fellow musicians, as well as other sourced information, for a comprehensive narrative.
Dann follows Bloomfield’s career, playing Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood as well as New York’s Greenwich Village; his role in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band; and playing lead guitar on Dylan’s masterpiece, 'Like a Rolling Stone.' Despite some annoying errors, Dann makes a persuasive case for how this white kid from Glencoe, Illinois, played a central role in introducing white audiences to urban blues.
An exhaustive biography gives the legendary Chicago blues-rock guitarist his due—and then some ... Dann...has approached his task with an archivist’s expansiveness rather than the selection of detail and stylistic grace that distinguish a biographer’s craft. The author includes every club owner, performance booker, and long-forgotten sideman as well as every recording session in Bloomfield’s slide toward obscurity. Amid the dross, there is a compelling narrative of a young blues fanatic whose problems with drugs and mental instability predated his fame ... Those with a passion for the music will enjoy revisiting a time when Bloomfield’s influence exceeded even Stevie Ray Vaughan’s.