Sunday, 1 May 2011

Al Kooper - White Chocolate

Kooper's Own Kite Mark

It goes without saying - though it will now be said - that Kooper is one of the greats, but the £50 price tag for this recording on Amazon co. seems to overstate that greatness in the relativity of musical supply and demand. You could coax that from me as the fee for a live gig, but it would be worth searching more widely for this studio representation.

Kooper's cv is one of the more impressive: recording with Dylan in the mid 60s and playing Hammond organ at the infamous Newport Folk Festival gig; member of The Blues Project; forming Blood Sweat & Tears and playing on their great first album Child is Father to the Man; part of the Super Session first ever supergroup with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield, and subsequent production of and playing with rock's greatest over a 50 year stellar career.

This album, released in 2008, is simply superb and reflects Kooper's soul leanings as well as clever pop sensibilities. Opener Love Time is the stand-out for me as a smartly smooth song with full-on horn orchestration and little Mexican trumpet rolls; there's the funky version of I Love You More Than Words Can Say; a reprise - 4 decades on from the Super Session album - of Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh (It Takes A Train To Cry); another full-on orchestration with soul choir for I Cried So Hard; the fine and funk personified tribute to Stax Records Staxability; those finely honed pop sensibilities in You Make Me Feel So Good (All Over); the classic soul of Hold On featuring the vocals of Catherine Russell who also supports with two others throughout the album; the retro No 1 2 Call Me Baby that could be a Stylistics track from long ago but without the falsetto, and a stonking version of Candy Man.

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