In Horn from the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story, we are shown the life and talent of Chicago’s very own legendary harmonica player and bluesman Paul Butterfield. Born and raised in the Southside’s Hyde Park neighborhood, he was exposed to both music and the arts at an early age by his parents, and eventually began sneaking into blues clubs throughout the city, where he would meet and become influenced by legends such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
He eventually formed the Butterfield Blues Band with guitarist Elvin Bishop, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay (the latter two were pried away from Howlin’ Wolf) and were signed by Elektra in late 1964. A rare (for the time) mixed-race band, their success led to performances at the Newport Folk Festival (1965), Monterey Pop Festival (1967), as well as Woodstock (1969).
Although he struggled with addiction and personal demons long before his death in 1987, Butterfield’s influence as well as his ability to bring the blues to a wider audience were recognized by the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
The film serves as a great primer for those who may be new to the band or Chicago blues.