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Monday, August 26, 2013

Al Kooper - I Stand Alone / You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (1968-69 us, outstanding art psych jazz rhythm 'n' blues folk rock, 2008 double disc remaster with extra tracks)

Another in the excellent  reissue, this is a musically sprawling double disc collection of two albums with bonus tracks by keyboard player Kooper who brought his particular genius to Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone single, Dylan's Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde and New Morning albums, and by the Seventies was working as a producer for artists as diverse as The Tubes, Nils Lofgren and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

During his Dylan period in the late Sixties he helped form Blood Sweat and Tears, but also recorded the jamming album Super Session with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield. He played on the Stones' Let It Bleed sessions and with Hendrix for Electric Ladyland, and along the way recorded his own albums.

The two collected here come from '68 and '69 -- and might be a trap for young players: they are "period pieces" we might say.

The first opens with a sound collage of noises, orchestration and jazz bits by Kooper credited to Spooner Oldham, and in other places there are horn sections (in the manner of BS&Tears), a Sgt Pepper's/She's Leaving Home-styled cover of Harry Nilsson's MOR pop ballad One ("is the loneliest number") which Three Dog Night would later turn into a chart-topper . . . as well as Bill Munroe's country classic Blue Moon of Kentucky where he channels Elvis '56.

Oh, and his own psychedelic organ piece Soft Landing on the Moon, barnyard noises, and Isaac Hayes' soul-funk on Toe Hold. Hmmm. You suspect the drugs were just kicking in.

Moments of great beauty too however, notably the string embellished Song and Dance for the Unborn, Frightened Child which once more reinforces how much of an influence the Beatles' trippy Sgt Pepper was having, even a year later in a fast-moving world.

The second disc/album is equally diverse, but you can perhaps add to the influences Brian Wilson/Beach Boys (Lucille), more straight-ahead soul (Norman Whitfield's Too Busy Thinking About My Baby), country-rock pre Elton's Tumbleweed Connection, more Nilsson (Kooper would record a whole album of Nilsson songs) and soul-blues. And more.

The lasting impression is that Kooper was a great sideman (all those Dylan sessions), a real lateral thinker (BS&Tears, the production work) and an ADHD kinda guy when it came to his own albums: too much musical information floating around inside him that couldn't be contained so just came flooding out.

Disc 1
1. Overture (Spooner Oldham) - 4:39
2. I Stand Alone (Al Kooper) - 3:37
3. Camille (Al Kooper, Tony Powers) - 2:55
4. One (Harry Nilson) - 2:53
5. Coloured Rain (C. Wood, J. Capaldi, S. Winwood) - 3:00
6. Soft Landing on the Moon (Al Kooper) - 4:01
7. I Can Love a Woman (Al Kooper) - 3:27
8. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe) - 2:15 
9. Toe Hold (D. Porter, I. Hayes) - 3:53
10.Right Now for You (Al Kooper) - 2:33
11.Hey, Western Union Man (J. Butler, K. Gamble, L. Huff) - 3:30
12.Song and Dance for the Unborn, Frightened Child (Al Kooper) - 4:33

Disc 2
1. Magic in My Socks (Al Kooper) - 3:54
2. Lucille (Al Kooper) - 3:22
3. Too Busy Thinking About My Baby (N. Whitefield, J. Bradford, B. Strong) - 3:19
4. First Time Around (Al Kooper) - 2:46
5. Loretta (Union Turnpike Eulogy) (Al Kooper) - 3:46
6. Blues, Pt. 4 (Al Kooper) - 4:36
7. You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (Al Kooper) - 2:52
8. Great American Marriage/Nothing (Al Kooper) - 4:44
9. I Don't Know Why I Love You (D. Hunter, L. hardaway, S. Wonder, P. Riser) - 3:21
10. Mourning Glory Story (H. Nilsson) - 2:14
11. Anna Lee (What Can I Do for You) (Al Kooper) - 3:17
12. I'm Never Gonna Let You Down (Al Kooper) - 4:36
13. Piano Solo Introduction (Al Kooper) - 2:00
14. I Got a Woman (Ray Charles) - 4:29
15. Buckskin Boy (Al Kooper, Charlie Calello) - 3:09
16. Sad, Sad Sunshine (Al Kooper) - 5:04
17. God Sheds His Grace on Thee (Al Kooper, Charlie Calello) - 2:07
18. Brand New Day (From the Landlord) (Al Kooper) - 3:15
19. Love Theme (From the Landlord) (Al Kooper) - 3:12

I Stand Alone
*Al Kooper: Piano, Organ, Ondioline, Guitars, Vocals
*Stephen Miller - Keyboards
*Wayne Moss, Jerry Kennedy,"Big" Charlie Daniels - Guitar
*Charlie McCoy - Bass, Harmonica
*Ken Buttrey - Drums
*The Blossoms - Vocal

You Never Know Who Your Friends Are...Plus
*Al Kooper - Piano, Organ, Guitar, Ondioline, Vocals
*The Al Kooper Big Band under the direction of Charlie Calello
*Ralph Casale, Stu Scharf,  Eric Gale - Guitars
*Ernie Hayes, Paul Griffin,  Frank Owens - Piano, Organ
*Walter Sears - Moog Synthesizer
*Chuck Rainey, Jerry Jemmott,  John Miller - Bass
*"Pretty" Purdie, Al Rodgers - Drums
*Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal and Marvin Stamm - Trumpets
*Ray Desio, Jimmy Knepper, Bill Watrous,  Tony Studd - Trombones
*George Young, Sol Schlinger, Seldon Powell,  Joe Farrell - Saxophones
*Hilda Harris, Connie Zimet, Albertine Harris, Lois Winter, Mike Gately - Voices
*Lou Christie, Robert John, Charlie Calello - Voices

1969  The Kooper Sessions With Shuggie Otis
1970  Easy Does It 
1973  Naked Songs ( Japan remaster)
with Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go (2013 Japan SHM double disc set)
1966  Projections (2013 Japan SHM two disc set)
1967   Live At Town Hall (Japan SHM edition)
1973  Reunion In Central Park (Japan SHM edition)
with Blood, Sweat And Tears
1968  Child Is Father To The Man
with Mike Bloomfield
1969  Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1968  The Lost Concert Tapes, Filmore East

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