Elvin Bishop - vocals, guitar; Don Baldwin - drums; Mickey Thomas - vocals, percussion; Johnny "V" Vernazza - guitar; Michael "Fly" Brooks - bass; Billy Slais - keyboards, saxophone
Although Elvin Bishop was born in Glendale, California, he grew up in the Midwest on a farm with virtually no exposure to African-American culture or music. At the age of 19, however, he won a scholarship to the University of Chicago. It was there that he first heard authentic blues music and, in time, became friends with members of Sonny Boy Williamson's band, who taught him guitar and history of the blues. After two years, Bishop dropped out of college to become a full-time blues musician.
He met up with a young harmonica player named Paul Butterfield, and in 1963 the two formed a duo and later a band, later to be named the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Also featuring Mike Bloomfield, the band went on to become one of the premier blues acts of the 1960s. While performing with Butterfield, Bishop played numerous high profile gigs, including the Newport Blues and Jazz Festival. He toured and recorded four albums with Butterfield before leaving to settle in San Francisco in 1968.
Bishop formed the Elvin Bishop Group and initally signed with Bill Graham, releasing two albums on Graham's Fillmore label. He then signed with Epic Records, the sister label of Columbia Records. He made four LPs for Epic and soon established his own group, playing frequently at venues like the Fillmore West and Whiskey a Go Go. In 1974, he moved to the Southern rock-driven label, Capricorn.
It was while with Capricorn, promoting his second LP, Struttin' My Stuff, that Bishop recorded this show for the King Biscuit Flower Hour Radio Concert Series. This was actually the first of two sets, and included classics such as "Juke Joint Jump", "Struttin' My Stuff", "Stealin' Watermelons" and his only Top 40 hit single, "Fooled Around and Fell In Love," which featured Mickey Thomas on lead vocals. Thomas would remain with Bishop for another year before departing for the Jefferson Starship, with whom he'd have a string of platinum hits. Bishop closes the set with a rockin' cover of Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle And Roll."
Very much an underappreciated artist among modern listeners, Bishop was certainly one of the most capable guitarists of his generation, and this show offers a rare opportunity to hear an expressive musician at the top of his powers.