Fifth Estate # 53, May 1-15, 1968

“A Long Time Comin'”
The Electric Flag (Columbia)

The Electric Flag’s long-awaited LP is in every respect a fine recording and well indicative of this group’s abundant talent and ability to communicate and excite.

It is due to Michael Bloomfield who has reigned in the U.S. as white bluesdom’s most charismatic guitarist and personality. He was perhaps the main attraction of The Butterfield Blues Band for more than two years.

His command over his instrument and the audience has assured his continued niche in the hearts of a certain group of blues fans.

This LP by Bloomfield’s ensemble is not straight blues but falls more into the line of commercial soul with Bloomfield’s unduplicated guitar technique ripping through.

This album makes several important points. The most relevant being that musicians of different backgrounds and experience can combine and groove, producing seldom approached professionalism and sophistication.

This LP also puts Bloomfield back in the spotlight as one of the most spectacular rock guitarists if not one of the best. The standouts are “You Don’t Realize,” “Sittin’ In Circles,” and “Over Lovin’ You.’

“These 23 Days in September”
David Blue (Reprise)

Blue’s second LP is exceptional in parts and ridiculously contrived in others. He is a good writer with a not – too – common ability to grip the emotions of the listener and hold them.

His most famous brain child, “Grand Hotel,” is a folk classic. He does it on this LP but his arrangement is not as effective as Jim and Jean’s.

There will be times when you may think he is emulating Bob Dylan, with backing courtesy of Buck Owen’s ensemble. His songs are excellent, but the arrangements for the most part are poor. His conception of his ability appears to be somewhat jaded. Ego has apparently won out.

“Eli and 13th Confession”
Laura Nyro (Columbia)

Laura Nyro’s second LP, her first for Columbia, is a success. She is undoubtedly a fine singer and interesting writer. She hasn’t mastered the profundities of a Dylan or Simon or the mastery of metaphor. She prefers to stand on a platform of predicament diagnosis.

As far as I know, she is the only one to record her own compositions. The reason may lie in the fact that her arrangements and rhythmic selections are confusing. Her standouts are “Eli’s Comin’,” “Sweet Blindness,” and “The Confession.”

Joni Mitchell (Reprise)

If there is a singer to compare with Judy Collins and Joan Baez it may well be Joni Mitchell. Her voice—clear, fluid and beautiful is superbly controlled and her songs are excellent.

Her “Circle Game” is a folk standard and has been recorded by Buffy St. Marie, Tom Rush and many others.

She floats with sincerity. She elicits effortlessly a sympathetic and warm response from the listener. Joni Mitchell has finally arrived on record…Superb.