Radio Broadcast. Record Plant, Sausalito, CA on 23rd October 1974.
Al Kooper is one of rock’s unsung heroes, best known for playing the organ on Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” and for giving Lynyrd Skynyrd a record deal and producing their first three albums. However, despite all the production accolades, Kooper has made his fair share of his own records. Originally a budding songwriter in the early 60s, he joined The Blues Project in 1965, one of a crop of electric blues bands that emerged in the US in the mid 60s. He left the band after their first studio album and after brief solo spell, formed Blood Sweat & Tears in 1967 and was the chief architect and singer of their debut album ‘Child Is Father To The Man’. The album met with modest sales but there was a mutiny and Kooper was ejected from his own band! A similar thing happened at the same time to his pal Mike Bloomfield (freshly booted out of The Electric Flag) so the two joined forces to create ‘Super Session’ although after Bloomfield disappeared halfway through the recording, Stephen Stills, fresh out of Buffalo Springfield stepped in to complete the album which was a big success in 1968.
Kooper then embarked on a string of solo records for Columbia (seven, all told, one of them a double) between 1969-1973 but to minimal sales. All of his albums are great but have seen limited release in the CD age however they are worth investigating, a mixture of psychedelia, blues, rock, soul, pop and almost the kitchen sink! He wound down his solo career after a move to United Artists for his 1976 album ‘Act Like There’s Nothing Wrong’ failed to excite recordland. Since then he has continued producing, occasionally playing live and writing books.
Al’s new radio show, “New Music for Old People” will be going on the air in June 2018 on WVVY, Martha’s Vineyard Radio. Be sure to tune in!