MICHAEL PACKER is an american singer-songwriter, guitarist and Blues Hall Of Fame inductee who was born in New York City in 1950. He did his first gig at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village at the age of 15. In 1969 he formed the group 'Papa Nebo" which included saxophonist Bob Mintzer who went on to play with the Grammy award winning "Yellowjackets". Papa Nebo recorded an album for Atlantic records. They were personally signed by Ahmet Ertegun.Today it is a collectors item.
Packer soon took his sound to the West Coast with buddy Sandy Allen, playing on the streets of San Francisco during the day and The Coffee Gallery in North Beach at night, Michael met George Thorogood and was turned on to the blues.
Eventually Packer and Allen made their way back to New York where they started another project "Free Beer"."Free Beer" was born at Gerdes Folk City in Greenwich Village (1973) where they added singer-songwriter Bob Potter. Free Beer recorded 3 albums for Buddha and RCA records and toured extensively with the likes of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Johnny Rivers, Dr.Hook, Clifton Chanier to name a few. All of the albums made the Billboard top 100 and they were well on their way. But nothing lasts forever in the music industry and Free Beer broke up.
After the demise of Free Beer in the late 70's Michael opened for John Hammond Jr. and sang with the Matt Murphy Band. In 1984 in Boston he fronted a 10 piece band called "Coolstep" and opened for Huey Lewis on a New England Tour. After dropping out of the music scene in the late 80's and early 90's Michael Packer hit the skids. His drinking had escalated and he found himself living on the streets. He did a year in Rikers Island for attempted robbery but that seemed to be the turning point in his life. Even in prison he had a band. HBO did a special "The Prisoners of Rikers Island in which he appears.
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featuring Henry Butler, Jerry Jermot, Porkchop Willie, Danny Draher, Billie Williams & Michael Packer Blues Band