Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Original Blues Project - Reunion in Central Park (1973 us, outstanding live album, 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. It's easy to understand why fans called them the Jewish Beatles. 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
*Roy Blumenfeld - Drums
*Danny Kalb - Guitar
*Steve Katz - Guitar
*Al Kooper - Keyboards
*Andy Kulberg - Bass