Digging out these old recordings has been fun, but it also has made me realize what a great place Ann Arbor was in the middle Sixties. The Prime Movers Blues Band formed in the summer of 1965, the same time as the Grateful Dead were doing the identical thing out in San Francisco. Neither knew about the other. Later, of course there was interaction among these new music groups that were appearing all over the country. There was something in the air. It was the Sixties!
The Prime Movers had gone to Chicago. We had seen Little Walter, Big Walter, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, and all the blues greats playing live.
I can remember one night listening to Howlin' Wolf play in a small club in Chicago. The room was empty and dark; there was no one there but a couple of us. Wolf was up front sitting on a chair next to the great blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin. Wolf's music went into our ears and then deep into my brain.
Time just slowed down and then seemed to stop. The walls around me (and my body) became sort of transparent and it was as if I was somewhere out in deep space, just my mind alone, outside of time and place. My body just kind of disappeared. All that I could hear was Wolf's sound in my ear and brain. I lost all sense of a personal who and where I am.
When folks ask me why I listen to and study the blues, it is more than just 'good music'. Blues (for me at least) has been a way to touch home, to go between the clock-ticking seconds of my life, somehow stepping outside of time, and get a sense of my life at a deeper level. Blues has always been for me a journey to see the nature of my own mind -- a refresher course in who I am and why I am here. Music has always been that for me.
The main band members included:
Michael Erlewine lead Singer, harmonica
Daniel Erlewine lead guitar
Robert Sheff (keyboards) AKA Blue 'Gene' Tyranny
Jack Dawson (bass)
James Osterberg (drums) AKA "Iggy Pop" Or J.C. "Jesse" Crawford (drums)
This video produced and edited at Heart Center Studios in Big Rapids, Michigan by Michael Erlewine.
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Poster images used with the kind permission of Gary Grimshaw, who can be reached at: