Michael Bloomfield and Edward Van Halen both moved the artistic needle, but which one was “better,” “greater” or “more important” to rock ‘n’ roll guitar?
I suppose I could pontificate about the merits of each, and I was about to write that I’ve heard more of Van H. than Bloomfield but how much of what Bloomfield did build the table upon which Young Edward did feast?
Can you see Bloomfield starring in a video like the one for “Hot For Teacher” (a song VH the band cribbed from a killer ‘70s Zappa tune)?
Herein lyeth (rhymes with “Wyeth”) the rub. Listen to “Let It Roll”
There are plenty of other “rubs” in Bloomfield’s saga, but what jumps out and grabs me by my mind-meld is the image of Bob Dylan and Maria Muldaur crawling through Bloomfield’s window to request his presence on what became “Blood on the Tracks.” (He said no, for better or worse I do not know).
I do know this: Of the Edward VH YouTube tributes I’ve seen since his sad passing, the one of him and his brother at the Kimmel show sound check gives us form following function instead of a gymnastic-atomic recitation of rock guitar’s version of the septuplet axel and probably 6,000 other moves.
Could that fucker play? Yes that fucker — Ed and Mike both, you can have both, this ain’t Beatles v. Stones — could play.
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.