googletag.enableServices(); }); Liberty Theatre | Camas WA | Horn from the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story
Horn from the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story () Release Date: November 27th, 2018
Runtime: 1 hr. 35 min.
Director: John Anderson
Genres: Documentary
Starring: Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan, Mike Bloomfield, Bonnie Raitt
New York Times Critics Pick!
By Glenn Kenny
The blues, once the foundation of several dominating modes of American popular music, still informs what we hear in our homes and on our devices, but not as overtly as it used to. We don’t talk about blues artists that much today. Like jazz and folk, it is, in its ostensibly pure form, appreciated in small corners by enthusiasts.
I have to remind myself of these things whenever I hear an artist like Paul Butterfield, the blues singer and harmonica player who was prominent in the ’60s and ’70s. He died in 1987 at 44 of an accidental overdose. As one of the interview subjects in “Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story” puts it, just three notes from Butterfield’s harp were enough to establish a groove, or vastly improve an existing one.

John Anderson, who directs this documentary, does a brisk job of explaining the milieu in which Butterfield learned his craft. As a youngster in Chicago he took classical flute lessons but was drawn to the city’s blues clubs. Butterfield answered the question, “Can a white man play the blues?” not just with his own excellence but with his dedication to racial equality as a bandleader. “I’m not bragging but I didn’t see nobody else who was better,” says Sam Lay, one of the earliest African-American drummers for the first Butterfield Blues Band. “And we happened to be black and white.”
In terms of production values, this is not a snazzy film. But the interview footage with family and colleagues, including Bonnie Raitt and Elvin Bishop, an early Butterfield guitarist, is smart and thorough. While the last third of Butterfield’s life is tragic, spending the better part of 90 minutes with the man and his music is exhilarating. The picture may get at least a few people talking about him again.
Also see "The Last Waltz" (1978) featuring Paul Butterfield and an amazing cast of rockers. The 40th anniversary presentation Nov. 30 & Dec. 1
The Abramorama and Liberty Theatre "Movies for Your Mind Series" presents a Special Two day only engagement. $10 General Admission evening, $8 General admission matinee (before 5 PM), $8 Senior/Child. Monday evening 5:30, Tuesday 2:30 & 7:30.
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