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Music, Songs and Lyrics
Author Profile
Bishop, Elvin



Biography

Born 21 October 1942, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Bishop moved to Chicago in his teens to study at university. An aspiring guitarist, he became one of several young white musicians to frequent the city's blues clubs and in 1965 he joined the house band at one such establishment, Big John's. This group subsequently became known as the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and although initially overshadowed by guitarist Michael Bloomfield, it was here that Bishop evolved a distinctive, if composite, style. Bishop was featured on four Butterfield albums, but he left the group in 1968 following the release of In My Own Dream. By the following year he was domiciled in San Francisco, where his own group became a popular live fixture. Bishop was initially signed to Bill Graham's Fillmore label, but these and other early recordings achieved only local success.

In 1974, Richard "Dickie" Betts of the Allman Brothers Band introduced the guitarist to Capricorn Records, who favoured the hippie/hillbilly image Bishop had nurtured and investigated his m'lange of R&B, soul and country influences. Six albums followed, including Let It Flow, Juke Joint Jump and a live album set, Live! Raisin' Hell, but it was a 1975 release, Struttin' My Stuff, that proved most popular. It included the memorable "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" which, when issued as a single, reached number 3 in the US chart. The featured voice was that of Mickey Thomas, who later left the group for a solo career and subsequently became frontman of Jefferson Starship. The loss of this powerful singer undermined Bishop's momentum and his new found ascendancy proved short-lived. Bishop's career suffered a further setback in 1979 when Capricorn filed for bankruptcy. Although he remains a much-loved figure in the Bay Area live circuit, the guitarist's recorded output has been sparse during the 80s. During then 90s he signed with Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records, and the series of credible albums he has recorded with the label indicates that he has found a comfortable niche.




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