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Elvin Bishop

A veteran guitarist who fused the blues with gospel, R&B, and country traditions, Elvin Bishop was born in Glendale, CA, on October 21, 1942. He grew up on a farm in Iowa with no electricity or running water, and eventually moved to Oklahoma with his family when he was ten. Raised in an all-White community, his only exposure to African-American traditions was the radio, which introduced him to the sounds of blues stations in Shreveport, LA. The piercing sound of Jimmy Reed's harmonica won his attention; Bishop would later liken it to a crossword puzzle that he had to figure out. What was this music? Who made it? What was it all about? Inspired, he began to put the pieces together.

However, it was not until he won a National Merit Scholarship to the University of Chicago in 1959 that Bishop found the real answers to his questions. He found himself in the middle of the Chicago blues scene and immersed himself in the genre. After two years of college, Bishop dropped out and pursued music full time, eventually meeting Howlin' Wolf's guitarist Smokey Smothers and learning the basics of blues guitar from him. In the early '60s, Bishop teamed up with Paul Butterfield helped form the core of the Butterfield Blues Band. Although he had only played guitar for a few years, he practiced frequently and played with Butterfield in just about every place possible, including campuses, houses, parks, and -- in the venue that helped launch the band -- Big John's on Chicago's North Side. Bishop also helped shape the sound of several Butterfield albums, including The Pigboy Crabshaw, whose title refers to Bishop's countrified persona.

In 1968, Elvin Bishop left Butterfield's band following the release of In My Own Dream. He launched a solo career and relocated to the San Francisco area, where he made frequent appearances at the Filmore with artists like Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and the Allman Brothers Band. Bishop recorded for four albums for Epic Records and later signed with Capricorn in 1974. His recording of "Traveling Shoes" (from the album Let It Flow) made a dent on the charts, but the single "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" (from Struttin' My Stuff) made a bigger splash in 1976 when it peaked at number 3 on the Billboard charts. Over the next few years, the Elvin Bishop Group dissolved. He released his album Best Of in 1979 and lay low for several years, eventually resurfacing when he signed with the Alligator label in 1988.

Bishop then released Big Fun in 1988 and Don't Let the Bossman Get You Down in 1991, both of which were well received. He also participated in Alligator's 1992 20th Anniversary cross-country tour; three years later, he toured with veteran bluesman B.B. King and released an album entitled Ace in the Hole. The Skin I'm In followed in 1998, and 2000's That's My Partner saw him teaming up with Smokey Smothers, the same musician who had originally taught him guitar. After a five-year hiatus, Bishop released Gettin' My Groove Back in 2005 via Blind Pig Records; he then jumped to the Delta Groove Music label for 2008's The Blues Rolls On, which featured guest spots by B.B. King, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, and others. ~ Michael Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

note for note this is a SWAMP DOGG tune with elvins lyrics, damn good theft.
joel_v2002
I was stationed in the Navy in the Bay Area from '69 to '73 - must have seen him a couple of dozen times. He always puts on a good show.
csidney123
Saw him in a little hole in the wall bar in of all places Eugene Oregon, then ran into him at the airport the next day leaving.
AWESOME! Love this song! One of my all time favorites!
thepropernew s
A Talent and Style no one could ever properly Cover.....No sense in even trying. One and only Mr. Elvin Bishop. Can't remember anyone not smiling while watching and listening to him for no other reason but him.
tlazette
Ever heard a blues lick that was so damn good it made you shout like it hurt? UHN! While listening to EB at a concert at the University of Toledo fieldhouse in the early Seventies, that was me. Couldn't help myselfit just burst out from gut.
Allright elvin get down n boogie
I love Bish to death, but who the hells chords are they on Halfway Out The Door?! =h=
I remember him now he's great. love it.
I remember him now he's great. love it.
I remember him now he's great. love it.
jamesjones12 1
does he live in glendale,ca. ?
Saw him at aconcert at the orange show in san bernardino that was a blast i had a broken arm n we still had a great time
chrissarwine
A self made clasic
One of my all time favorites!
listen to east/west. he's second guitar to no one, and i love bloomy. he just makes it sound easy!
best instrumental ever:tulsa shuffle! who is applejack?
hey great for pandora to let us search for free on bands that we can't usually get a hold of EB is on my favorites old now that sounds bad but it is what it is. in florida now but was born and raised in CA. my mom usd to have a antique store in oakley, ca and heard he went fishing out there alot. with some ppl i used to know, still listening . . . . . any hoo like him and glad ppl are stil tallking about him
one of the best entertainers / g u i t a r i s t s out there...his shows are flat out fun...
I agree captain521. Mickey Thomas is why the song Fooled Around And Fell In Love was a hit. It is ironic that Pandora plays a live version with Elvin singing and says it is from Struttin' My Stuff which is clearly is not. I love Elvin and think he is a great artist but hate it when Pandora does not tell the truth.
Ok....Grew up listening to a band call the Jets in Valdosta, Ga. that went to Memphis where the lead singer, Mickey Thomas and the keyboard/sax player was picked up by Elvin....Lat e r Mickey sang the only number one hit Elvin ever had, Fooled Around And Fell In Love, He never got his just dues...went on to sing with Jefferson Starship when Grace had vocal problems Mickey recorded all the tenor track for Amanda and several others. Still no just rewards...bu t us hometown folks still appreciate wha
Hey Elvin, Had a great time at the concert in Grass Valley, CA @ the Center For The Arts.. Me and my friends had an awesome time. Thanks for bringing me up on stage to rock with you... I'm now a local star... Belinda
How come you mention Travelin Shoes as on the charts, but you don't have the album available? T.S. is a HOT cut.
cdcliff93
does anyone recall the song "Rock Bottom"
Never can get too much EB. He was often playing in Berkley in 1970 when I was out there in SF. I know he was hangin' in Macon and Athens later.
cjctripper
sittin on a dock jammin !
raydrcat
Saw him two weeks ago in Oakland. This guy sure still can play and John Nemath sure can sing. Elvin signed CD's afterward. Very cool!
He's Great! I love Fishing.
70ssoulchild
I Fooled Around And Fell In Love..with the song when it came out and still love hearing it to his day. Love you Elvin.
Seeing Elvin Bishop Live at the Towne and Country Lodge in Ben Lomand, CA near my parent's house every weekend in the 70's was a habit for me. He'd show up with Maria Muldaur, and other crew and play for hours. He is a complete blast to party with and what a good guy too - really fun.
elvin bishop at the bodega good times we partied until the cows came home
I stole his album from a friend and fell in love after I heard steelin' watermelons, travelin shoes and fooled around.
Juke Joint Jump is one of the rocking-est songs ever, great sound out of every instrument. And a kick butt vocal too.
best song"my little sweet potatoe"
76's Struttin' My Stuff helped me through H.S.! I was very impressed w/the whole MICKY THOMAS thing (i.e., sings "Fooled Around..."), but met MT at a JEFFERSON STARSHIP concert, his next persona, and found him not to be such a cool guy. Oh well, ELVIN's still my musical-madm a n , though! =h=
Elvin is Great In San Fran,1998 he broke a string in my face andwe laughed me off my chair.Tryem' n ' B u y e m '
"Travelin Shoes" is great also
Great artist.
Hey Pandora, why can't I find more than 3 albums from Elvin Bishop? Sure would like to hear a cut from "The Blues Rolls On"
js0801
My favorite album is Rock My Soul. The harmonies are fantastic!
gotta get his rasin hell cd its live an vvvvvvery goood
jerryallen2
Occasionally plays gigs @ Rancho Nacassio, in Nacassio, Marin County, Ca., (pop.50), near his home...a GREAT venue, a GREAT show.

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