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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Original Blues Project - Reunion in Central Park (1973 us, outstanding live album, 2013 japan SHM issue)

In 1964, Elektra Records produced a compilation album of various artists entitled, The Blues Project, which featured several white musicians from the Greenwich Village area who played acoustic blues music in the style of black musicians. One of the featured artists on the album was a young guitarist named Danny Kalb, who was paid $75 for his two songs. Not long after the album's release, however, Kalb gave up his acoustic guitar for an electric one. The Beatles' arrival in the United states earlier in the year signified the end of the folk and acoustic blues movement that had swept the US in the early 1960s.

Kalb's first rock and roll band was formed in the spring of 1965, playing under various names at first, until finally settling on the Blues Project moniker as an allusion to Kalb's first foray on record. After a brief hiatus in the summer of 1965 during which Kalb was visiting Europe, the band reformed in September 1965 and were almost immediately a top draw in Greenwich Village. By this time, the band included Danny Kalb on guitar, steve Katz (having recently departed the Even Dozen Jug Band) also on guitar, Andy Kulberg on bass and flute, Roy Blumenfeld on drums and Tommy Flanders on vocals.

The band's first big break came only a few weeks later when they auditioned for Columbia Records, and failed. The audition was a success, nevertheless, as it garnered them an organist in session musician Al Kooper. Kooper had begun his career as a session guitarist, but that summer, he began playing organ when he played on the "Like a Rolling stone" recording session for Bob Dylan's album, Highway 61 Revisited. In order to improve his musicianship on the new instrument, Kooper joined the Blues Project and began gigging with them almost immediately. Soon thereafter, the Blues Project gained a recording contract from Verve Records, and began recording their first album live at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village over the course of a week in November 1965

This reunion concert, -the first featuring all five members since early 1967-, was a major event at the time. Heard today, the Project's unique blend of blues, pop, and folk rock is as potent as ever, and the performances here simply crackle with energy. Actually, on balance, this is probably the group's all-around best album, if for no other reason than the excellent sound quality; the Project's two "official" albums famously suffered from some of the tinniest sonics of the period.

Recorded live at The Schaffer Festival, Central Park, New York, on June 24, 1973.

Introduction: Ron Delsener - 0:37
1. Louisiana Blues (Muddy Waters) - 3:38
2. Steves Song (Steve Katz) - 3:34
Introduction: Al And Andy - 0:42
3. I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes (Blind Willie Johnson, Al Kooper) - 5:26
4. You Can't Catch Me (Chuck Berry) - 4:13
Introduction: Al - 0:55
5. Fly Away (Al Kooper) - 3:28
6. Caress Me Baby (Jimmy Reed) - 7:36
Introduction: Andy - 0:35
7. Catch The Wind (Donovan Leitch) - 4:22
8. (I Heard Her Say) Wake Me Shake Me (Traditional, ar. Al Kooper) - 9:11
Introduction: Danny Kalb - 1:00
9. Two Trains Running (Muddy Waters) - 13:30

Blues Project
*Roy Blumenfeld - Drums
*Danny Kalb - Guitar
*Steve Katz - Guitar
*Al Kooper - Keyboards
*Andy Kulberg - Bass

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  1. I attended this concert. Nice to be able to hear it again.

    A couple of things you should know:

    1. This is not the entire concert. A lengthy "Flute Thing" was also played that evening (after "Catch The Wind").

    2. The songs on the disc are not quite in the order in which they were originally performed. "I Can't Keep From Crying" was played after "Caress Me Baby".

    1. I also attended the concert with my brother. You have a very good memory, especially knowing the order of the songs. Flute Thing was my favorite because of the jazz feel to it. If a DVD is released, I hope they include the entire concert for those who missed it. It really brings back good memories from those days at the park.

  2. "Recorded live at The Schaffer Festival, Central Park, New York, on June 24, 1973."

    Hi Marios,Longtime fan of the group.
    A little trivia for you about the actual recording locale of the album taken from Al Kooper's biography "Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards" that I own.

    "By time we got to the last show in our hometown New York's Central Park,a lot of the spontaneity was gone. But the audience was fantastic. When I edited the album,I used most of the Washington performances,taking the introductions and applause from the Central Park show.Besides ,the title Reunion in an Indoor Venue in Washington,DC would not be as catchy as Reunion in Central Park." - Al Kooper

    He did the same thing with their "Live At Town Hall" album,which was actually recorded at Stony Brook University. None the less a dynamite band and great albums.

  3. Thank you Fiscus1 and Eric for your substantial information,
    much appreciate it.

  4. Your welcome Marios, I love little tidbits of trivia like that. I find it very interesting.

  5. Γεια σου Μάριε και Χρόνια Πολλά. Κατέβασα τους Blues Project από 2 διαφορετικά links, αλλά στο splitting μου βγάζει τα κομμάτια 1,4,7,10,13,14 στα 0 bytes. Έχεις μήπως καμιά λύση; Ευχαριστώ προκαταβολικά!!!

  6. Φίλε ARGS,
    μολις το κατεβασα απο ενα απο τα link
    το δοκιμασα και ειναι όλα μια χαρα,
    τα συγκεκριμενα που αναφερεις δεν ειναι ακριβως τραγούδια, αλλα οι παρουσιασεις και διαρκουν μολις λιγα δεπτερόλεπτα, κανονικα πρεπει να σου διαχωρίσει 14 αρχεια (9 τραγουδια και 5 παρουσιασεις).
    Τα λέμε/

  7. Μάριε τα κομμάτια υπάρχουν αλλά είναι μηδέν bytes και δεν τα αναγνωρίζει το player. Εσύ με ποιο πρόγραμμα κάνεις splitting?

  8. Άστο Μάριε το βρήκα: Θέλουν σβήσιμο οι άνω και κάτω τελείες μετά το Introduction, πριν το splitting. Μετά δουλεύει μια χαρά!


  10. Μάριε ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ για τη βοήθεια φίλε!

  11. excelente blues muchas gracias!

  12. Grato pela resenha do álbum. Sempre encontro boas resenhas em seu Blog. Vida longa à ele e à nós para continuarmos a curtir estas maravilhas sonoras.