THE GHOSTS OF ELECTRICITY

August 1, 2008 – 6:38 am

There were hardly any divisions. Blues, soul, jazz and rock were together in one melting pot of pop culture. What bonded them was the new, loud sound of amplified music.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

ERMA FRANKLIN & THE ELECTRIC FLAG with MIKE BLOOMFIELD
Live At Carousel Ballroom [no label, 2CD]

Live in San Francisco, in April 1968. A stereo soundboard recording.

When bittorrent first started, there was a very popular site called Sharing The Groove. It opened Pandora’s Box. Collectors rallied to the website and offered many long-forgotten recordings, previously kept on dusty shelves, locked away in storage boxes and under beds. Very popular among collectors were recordings made in San Francisco at the popular venues of the ’60s and ’70s.

Erma Franklin is sister to the well-known Aretha. Erma’s career for Shout! Records resulted in several single releases in 1967 including Big Boss Man and her take of Piece Of My Heart, which Janis Joplin defined as her stomping ground.

This recording was made when Erma took the stage at the Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco for three nights in April from the 19th to the 21st in 1968. Backing her was Mike Bloomfield’s Electric Flag, a blues rock group.

Much of the research done in identifying the date, venue and personnel was by Dave M of the westcoastacidandpsychedelia Yahoo group. Says Dave: “The week before at the Carousel (April 14, 1968), there had been an unscheduled Sunday show and jam session featuring Quicksilver Messenger Service and numerous other musicians. The tape circulates, and since Gary Duncan jokes about Easter Sunday, it makes it easy to reliably date the show. All this points to another Sunday jam session, so if I had to guess I would pick Sunday, April 21 for the date of this show. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Dave also makes some conclusions about just who was playing what. You can read it all here http://db.etree.org/lookup_show.php?shows_key=299581

This is a typical San Francisco show for its variety of styles and its close knit community of musicians. Franklin’s repertoire covered The Beatles to Stevie Wonder and even down to Elvis with Big Boss Man. The Electric Flag surprise with a Miles Davis cover. She was an R’n'B singer who was not averse to pop or rock.

Erma Franklin’s best known recording was the original version of Piece of My Heart she recorded with Bert Berns. At this concert, she gives a shout of support to a younger Janis Joplin for “making it all happen with this song”. She left the music business in the ’70s. Erma Franklin died in 2002 at age 64.

A stereo soundboard recording that’s very good.
- The Little Chicken

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, this recording has never been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you want to download these tracks at a later time.

Disc 1
Track 101. Uptight
Track 102. Day Tripper
Track 103. Drivin’ Wheel
Track 104. Drivin’ Wheel continued
Track 105. The Theme [Electric Flag’s solo instrumental is a cover of Miles Davis’ The Theme]
Track 106. Goin’ Down Slow
Track 107. Big Boss Man

Disc 2
Track 201. Dr. Feelgood
Track 202. I Heard It Through The Grapevine/Mercy/Tell Mama/Chain of Fools
Track 203. Piece of my Heart
Track 204. Hold On I’m Coming
Encore
Track 205. Everyday I Have The Blues
Track 206. Killing FloorProbable lineup:

Erma Franklin - vocals
Mike Bloomfield - lead guitar
Terry Clements - tenor sax
Virgil Gonsalves - baritone sax, flute
Stemsy Hunter - alto sax
Marcus Doubleday - trumpet
Herbie Rich - organ (possibly some baritone sax on 5)
Harvey Brooks - bass
Buddy Miles - drums, lead vocals (tracks 1,2,3)
Nick Gravenites - lead vocals (tracks 6,7)

Erma Franklin’s Super Soul Sister was reissued on CD in 2007. Click on the link to order the album.

The Electric Flag’s best known album is 1968’s A Long Time Comin’, a fusion of blues, rock with a horn section. Click on the link to order the album.

  1. 28 Responses to “THE GHOSTS OF ELECTRICITY”

  2. Hey whats this ? What a surprise.I did´nt know that Erma Franklin was working together with Electric Flag.A super concert.All this fantastic
    members of Electric Flag.The quality of this recording is so good.You make us a nice gift for the weekend.
    Thank you boys !!!!!!!

    By Joe "The Catman" on Aug 1, 2008

  3. mille merci pour cette magnifique surprise,un concert réunissant mike et erma,c’ est un rève devenu realité.

    By BOB L INTERNAUTE on Aug 1, 2008

  4. Great addition to my archives. This is a good concert with equally good sound. Been a fan of Electric Flag since the early Seventies but not too many live recordings like this around. Great start to the weekend.

    By Crazy Horse on Aug 2, 2008

  5. what a great surprise !!
    A welcome addition to my collection..thanks !!

    sluggo

    By tony sloggett on Aug 2, 2008

  6. Dear Bigo,

    This is indeed big news. Electric Flag and Erma Franklin. Who would have thought it. I bought an Electric Flag cd in Chennai in 2005 which had tracks from their two albums and two live tracks from Monterey 1967.

    This is indeed welcomed.

    Regards.

    Joseph.C.Pereira

    By Joseph Pereira on Aug 3, 2008

  7. Sweet jeebus, that’s some terrible drumming, at least on the medley and especially Piece of my Heart, which sounds like something from an open mic night. Buddy Miles, huh?

    Nonetheless, interesting post, thanks for all the great stuff here in the past.

    By Noam Sane on Aug 5, 2008

  8. Great recordings. But I notice that you credit Elvis with Big Boss Man. Sureley Erma grew up with the original version of this song by Jimmy Reed.

    Regards / Max

    By Max Sievert on Aug 19, 2008

  9. Just so used to Elvis’ version. Thanks

    By admin on Aug 20, 2008

  10. Actually, I believe ‘Big Boss Man’ was a Big Bill Broonzy song originally.

    By Society's Pliers on Aug 20, 2008

  11. It’s usually credited to Jimmy Reed, but all the old blues singers drew water from the same well, so who knows?

    By Private Beach on Aug 22, 2008

  12. I should have made it clear that my previous comment is about the song “Big Boss Man”.

    By Private Beach on Aug 22, 2008

  13. Anything with Mike Bloomfield (the most underrated A-List guitarist ever) is a must have for me. Very nice sound on this- so many of the late 60’s San Francisco stuff sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Simply an amazing recording of an amazing session. Thanks a million BigO!

    By Sluggo714 on Nov 2, 2008

  14. I know I’m a late comer with my comments on this second posting of this show here, but I just want to say thanks as I saw this, wanted to download it the first time it was posted but somehow got distracted and it was gone before I realized I had missed it.

    As someone who lived for this era of ‘horn bands’ (i.e. first two Blood, Sweat & Tears LPs, Paul Butterfield’s Ressurection of Pigboy Crabshaw, the first Electric Flag Lp, Supersession, first two Chicago LPs…there were more, believe me, I found them) and played in a high school band that covered many of the tracks off these group’s LPs, it is ALWAYS a joy to discover new lost/hidden gems from this era. Hmmm…after I hear this I will come back and comment more.

    By Duncan Walls on Nov 3, 2008

  15. Just a follow up comment…about Driving Wheel…I wondered looking at the title if it was the same song I thought it was…and after listening, it is.

    This is a tune I first heard sung by Bugsy Maugh, Paul Butterfield’s bass player on The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, Butterfield’s third LP. This edition of Butter’s band was ‘just’ post-Bloomfield in it’s configuration, with Elvin Bishop carrying all the lead guitar duties minus Bloomers presence at his side (also had a new young saxophonist named David Sanborn making his first professional appearance on record). I’m guessing it may have been in the Butterfield set list prior to Bloomfield leaving to form Electric Flag. It’s a revelation hearing it after all these years and I look forward to a more critical comparision of the two versions.

    If I’m not mistaken, this was a Roosevelt Sykes song or possibly a Bugsy Maugh original.(I don’t have quick access to a copy with writer credits.) Bugsy had a great voice, not unlike Nick Gravenites in timbre. He fronted a couple of obscure LPs under his name on Paramount Records after leaving Butterfield and slipped into obscurity. Anyone got any info on him?

    By Duncan Walls on Nov 3, 2008

  16. I haven’t seen Bugsy in 6 years or so, but friends tell me he still lives in Rosendale, MO Outside of St. Joseph. He still preforms,and fronts his own band, although on lead guitar and vocals. He plays mostly local gigs and festivals. Still has a good, gruff groly voice.

    By Rob Carraher on May 15, 2009

  17. Thank you so very much for this great concert !!!

    By Sharon Hickok on May 19, 2009

  18. Just for the record, after Goin’ Down Slow on disc 1, Mike Bloomfield is no longer present. In fact, I’m not even sure the rest of the Flag are there after that - maybe the horn section - but definitely no Michael.

    Visit Mike’s website for lots of interesting information. http://www.mikebloomfield.com

    There’s a fan site that has extensive info on Mike Bloomfield
    http://www.mikebloomfieldamericanmusic.com

    By Peggy on Dec 23, 2009

  19. Please repost
    Pretty Please
    In the name of god and all that are great and small, please repost.
    Thank You

    By Bluez Dawg54 on Jun 20, 2010

  20. very special that collaboration, i didn’t know about that.

    please, can you reload this show, i’m sure it can also interest other people not just me ?

    thanks

    By pe_35 on Mar 7, 2011

  21. I echo Bluez Dawg54 and pe_35 comments.

    This looks to be a fab sounding pairing with an interesting setlist. I look forward , hopefully, to listening. Thanks.

    By Russ on Jun 23, 2011

  22. available on Sugarmegs site under Electric Flag April 1968

    By Seth Haniel on Jul 6, 2011

  23. @ Duncan Walls: Bugsy relocated a few years ago to a place outside of King City, Missouri. Health is an issue: a bout with lung cancer has lingering effects. Was hoping for a trip last autumn to Bearsville to see Levon Helm, but ill health forced that to be canceled, and Levon has since passed, obviously. Playing, particularly in a smokey club environment, is a challenge for him: a section of his ribs were removed with the tumor and he can’t support the weight of a guitar for very long, nor muster up much air to sing like he used to; but he’s still game for a show now and then. He was inducted into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame in 2010, during a performance with a number of friends, and it was pretty cool to see him muster up for the show. You can catch a bit of it on youtube.

    By Sluggo Ward on Jul 10, 2012

  24. PLEASE MAKE THIS ( ERMA & THE FLAG ) AVAILABLE AGAIN !!!!

    By WOLF RICKETTS on Apr 7, 2013

  25. Well, that looks fantastic, seems to be a treasure.
    So, as written before:

    PLEASE MAKE THIS AVAILABLE AGAIN!!!!

    Thanks

    By Wolfgang Giese on Nov 15, 2013

  26. Fabulous stuff!! Electric Flag and all that talent in concert with a soul singing lady like Erma–can’t be better

    By Norm on Jan 9, 2015

  27. Thank you for re-posting BigO - fabulous!

    By Michael Simmons on Apr 14, 2015

  28. My to c on the matter. From my Bloomfield discography:

    ELECTRIC FLAG - ERMA FRANKLIN
    1968. Apr.? Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco

    Michael Bloomfield, guitar - Buddy Miles, dr, vocals 1,2,11 – Nick Gravenites, percussion, guitar, vocal 4 – Herbie Rich, baritone sax - and probably: Harvey Brooks, bass - Barry Goldberg, organ, vocals 11? - Peter Strazza, tenor sax - Marcus Doubleday, trumpet –Virgil Gonzales, baritone sax 3 - Erma Franklin, vocals 6-10 – ? lead vocals 11 - ? flute –

    1. “Uptight/Daytripper–Medley” (7.00) (on CD-1 track 1 & 2)
    2. “Drivin’ Wheel” (7.40) (on CD-1 track 3 & 4)
    3. “The Theme” (Instrumental) (16.08) (on CD-1 track 5)
    4. “Goin’ Down Slow” (2.24) (cut short) (on CD-1 track 6)
    5. “Instrumental” (8.35) (fade in) (on CD-1 track 7)
    6. “Big Boss Man” (2.54) (on CD-1 last part of track 7)
    7. “Dr. Feelgood” (4.54)
    8. “Heard It Through The Grapevine/Have Mercy, Baby/Tell Mama/Chain Of Fools-medley” (4.05)
    9. “Piece Of My Heart” (3.08)
    10. “Hold On I’m Coming” (7.28)
    11. “Every Day I Have The Blues/Killing Floor-medley” (7.08/5.37) (cut short) (CD-2 track 5 & 6)

    Erma Franklin played The Carousel Ballroom on 19-20-21, April 1968. Electric Flag on May 17, 1968. In my opinion there must have been a recording of Electric Flag on the tape, when the owner started taping the Erma Franklin show over it – or rather “in it”. That’s why it comes in and goes out so abruptly. The Flag recording could be from any other place BEFORE April 1968.

    Anyway it is another great recording with Electric Flag. The band seems to be in fine spirits and plays in tune all the way! Buddy Miles is singing on the first two tracks. On track (2) he seems to be unable to end the song, he keeps going and going. The instrumental “The Theme” is primarily the trumpet player showing what he can but eventually everybody gets their turn to solo. When Bloomfield first time comes in with his guitar it sounds like he wanted to do “East-West”! A fine instrumental clocking in at (16.08) and it’s not a second too long. Apparently it was played by Miles Davis in the 60’s at the end of his shows! Unfortunately track (4) “Goin’ Down Slow” is cut short the second Bloomfield is going to play a solo.

    The next track (and the rest of the recordings) sounds like it’s from another recording. It’s mostly a tour de force guitar solo. There is also a flute player soloing. This could be the opening track by Erma’s band.

    After (5) there is a minute with talking in the background and then Erma Franklin is introduced. This was the time where she was most popular with songs like “Piece of my heart” and “Big Boss Man”. Track (7) “Dr. Feelgood” has a lengthy introduction from Erma. After the song Erma says: “That was a sort of request that we had for Kathy and Michael Sausalino(?) and the houseboat. Hope they got it together.”

    Track (11) sees The Flag back. “Every Day I Have The Blues” has a new voclist. It’s neither Miles nor Gravenites, and it sounds too good to be Goldberg, but maybe it’s him. Again nice guitar from MB. Towards the end at (5.37) Buddy Miles takes over with “Killing Floor” and starts wailing and he is drowning the vocalist, who just goes “Every Day – Every Day – Every Day…”.

    So despite the title of the bootleg, this is NOT “THE ELECTRIC FLAG with ERMA FRANKLIN”, but two acts joined by coincidence by a not too smart taper.

    1968 1-12 – CD-2 – “THE ELECTRIC FLAG with ERMA FRANKLIN” BOOTLEG 480

    *****

    By René Aagaard on Apr 17, 2015

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. Sep 8, 2015: roio » Blog Archive » ELECTRIC FLAG - SAN FRANCISCO 1968 (TomP Remaster 2015)

Post a Comment