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Thursday, November 30, 2006

PLANET KOOPER PART TWO

The comments on the last posting are varied and interesting, but some of the pro-Kooper contributors assume I must have attacked Kooper in the entry on him in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, in ways that justify his protesting that I've "defiled" his name, and that the entry is a "rant", and so on. They also seem to assume that this entry rubbishes his account of events. It might be helpful if I reproduce the entry itself. Can anyone but Kooper honestly say it denigrates his talents or his contribution? Or that I haven't bothered with factual detail, or that it can't have taken much work to write it?:

Kooper, Al [ 1944 - ]
The ubiquitous Al Kooper was born Alan Peter Kuperschmidt in Brooklyn, New York on February 5, 1944; his family moved to Queens, NY when he was four. At age 14 he was a guitarist with pop group the Royal Teens soon after they’d had a Top 10 hit with ‘Short Shorts’ in 1958. A session guitarist by the age of 19, he dropped out of college to train as a studio engineer and then teamed up with songwriters Irwin Levine and Bob Brass, with whom in 1964 he wrote the Gary Lewis & the Playboys hit ‘This Diamond Ring’ and Gene Pitney’s minor hit ‘I Must Be Seeing Things’, which became the title track of a Pitney album (and EP) and in French, as ‘Mes yeux sont fous’, a single by Johnny Hallyday.

After a brief first Manhattan stay on W.77th Street, Kooper moved into Greenwich Village and involved himself in a wide range of musical activity. At the 1965 NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL he performed with RICHARD & MIMI FARINA (plus BRUCE LANGHORNE) and the same year joined the group the Blues Project with DANNY KALB, Steve Katz, Tommy Flanders, Andy Kulberg and Ray Blumenfeld. Kooper, invited to join the group after playing first as a session-man for them, stayed with the group for its first three albums (two of which were live) and for a performance at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, but then quit, moved to the West Coast and formed Blood, Sweat & Tears, largely in order to create a rock band with a horn section. After one interesting album, The Child Is Father to the Man, Kooper left and the group became highly successful plying jazz-rock of the nastiest possible kind.

Kooper then recorded his solo album I Stand Alone and the album Supersession with MIKE BLOOMFIELD and Stephen Stills (both 1968), followed by live work with Bloomfield and the albums The Live Adventures of Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield and the solo You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (both 1969). In the early 1970s he made several more extravagantly-funded solo albums, among them the gate-fold sleeve LP Naked Songs (1972) in which what was naked was Kooper’s lack of having anything to say and lack of a voice to say it with. Nonetheless, sheer chutzpah gets him through songs like SAM COOKE’s ‘Touch the Hem of His Garment’ where any comparison of Kooper’s voice to Cooke’s would be ludicrous. In 1976 came Act Like Nothing’s Wrong, co-produced (like Child Is Father to the Man) by THE BAND’s producer John Simon, on which Kooper revives ‘This Diamond Ring’ with a mix of ironic superiority and obvious fondness.

In 1977 he published the first edition of his book Backstage Passes and the following year produced RICKY NELSON’s still-unreleased album Back To Vienna. He was a veteran producer by this point, having enjoyed a late-1960s stint as a Columbia Records A&R man, during which he had signed the long-uncommercial British cult band the Zombies, who promptly delivered the significant album Odyssey & Oracle and a major hit single, ‘Time of the Season’. In 1972, as his time with Columbia ended and he set up, courtesy of MCA, his own Sounds of the South studio in Atlanta, Georgia, he discovered the great Florida band Lynyrd Skynyrd (they were playing local bars) and duly produced their first three albums - including, on their début album, their great anthemic ‘Free Bird’. He sang back-up vocals and played on this album too (bass and mellotron), and, as on piano on the Tom Rush album Take A Little Walk With Me, he is billed here as Roosevelt Gook. Yes, the ubiquitous Al Kooper, not Bob Dylan, was Roosevelt Gook.

Lynyrd Skynyrd was a long way from the sound of the Zombies, and another demonstration of Kooper’s eclectic musical tastes and openness. He went on to produce albums by NILS LOFGREN, the Tubes, Joe Ely and B.B. King. He also wrote the music for the 1969 Jim McBride documentary film My Girlfriend’s Wedding, the 1970 Hal Ashby film The Landlord, various TV series and, after a long gap, the Peter Riegert short By Courier (2000) and the same director’s movie King of the Corner (2004).

As a session musician Al Kooper has played on records by a vast swathe of big-name artists, including Cream, JIMI HENDRIX (on ‘Long Hot Summer Nights’) the Who (‘Rael’), the ROLLING STONES (‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’) and GEORGE HARRISON’s Somewhere In England album. But his most significant contribution, by quite some way, has been to the work of Bob Dylan. Al Kooper is the hero who on June 16, 1965 in New York City inveigled his way into playing the organ part on ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, and was lucky enough to have Bob Dylan say ‘turn it up!’ and thus to help make history. He has told the story of how this happened many times, never more weirdly than as a hologram on the CD-ROM Highway 61 Interactive and never more endearingly than as a cool and genial interviewee in the film No Direction Home, released 40 years after the making of that record. He also provides a detailed memoir of the sessions for Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde inside the booklet issued with its audio partner, No Direction Home: The Soundtrack Album - The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 (2005).

Al Kooper helped to make history at Newport 1965 too, not because he played with the Fariñas but because he played ‘Maggie’s Farm’, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry’ with Bob Dylan on that tumultuous, historic electric début - since when his involvement with Dylan’s work has been plentiful. He attended and played organ on the later Highway 61 Revisited sessions (July 30 and August 2, 1965 in New York) and then saw action at the first electric concerts Dylan gave - at Forest Hills, New York that August 28 and the Hollywood Bowl on September 3rd. After that, Dylan’s band became the Hawks and Kooper returned to New York.

That November 30, he was back in the studios for the first of the sessions that yielded Blonde On Blonde, and was there again on January 25-26 and 27-28, 1966. When Dylan finished the album in Nashville, in mid-February (between tour dates) and March (between tour dates again), only Al Kooper and ROBBIE ROBERTSON were still with Dylan from the New York sessions (apart from producer BOB JOHNSTON, who was Nashville-based in any case), and Kooper is interesting on the cultural gulf between this long-haired East Coast triumvirate and the country musicians and downtown Nashville. The last session took place in the early hours of March 10th.

Next time Kooper came to a Dylan session, it was in back in New York and in the very different musical universe of the Self Portrait recordings. He and DAVE BROMBERG and others laid down basic tracks for ‘Little Sadie’, ‘In Search of Little Sadie’, ‘Belle Isle’, ‘Copper Kettle’, ‘It Hurts Me Too’, ‘The Boxer’ and ‘Woogie Boogie’ on March 3, 1970, though all but ‘It Hurts Me Too’ were overdubbed later without Kooper (and indeed without Dylan). The following days Kooper played again, contributing, altogether, organ, piano and guitar, though again there was much subsequent overdubbing on most tracks. He was also there at the June sessions (on organ) which yielded some of the tracks on the Dylan album and, more importantly, most of New Morning. Indeed Kooper claims to have produced New Morning, though Bob Johnston disagrees. (Al was also present on June 30, again in New York, playing guitar and organ when Dylan attempted at least 15 takes of ‘Blowin’ In the Wind’ with a small group of musicians: takes which have never circulated.)

A long gap in the Kooper-Dylan professional relationship followed. Al next turned up with Bob in 1981, when he replaced WILLIE SMITH as the keyboards player on the third leg of that year’s semi-gospel, semi-secular tour, starting on October 16 in Milwaukee and ending on November 21 in Lakeland, Florida: a total of 27 concerts. At one of them - at East Rutherford, New Jersey, that October 27, he had the unusual experience of hearing Bob Dylan introduce his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Kooper Senior (Sam and Natalie), to the audience from the stage of the Meadowlands Arena. The private recording of this surreal moment later circulated among Al’s friends on a custom-made LP. According to the description provided by someone selling a copy of this album on eBay decades later, for several years in the late 1970s and early 80s ‘Kooper put out an annual Christmas album filled with novelty and strange music and dialogue for his friends only…. the third, features a track with Bob Dylan in concert introducing Al’s parents…from the stage. Here’s what the notes say: “In 1981, I toured for three months with BD and my parents came to see us play in New Jersey. I mentioned to Bob that my folks were there before we went onstage, and this is what happened. Thanks Bob.” Bob introduces them, goofs around telling the audience they are the parents of a friend, but he’s not gonna tell the audience who. Then after a bit, he says “OK, I’ll tell you”. And introduces Al. No music, but a rare bit of Bob humour…. With a great cover and Al’s funny liner notes. Very very rare.’ This LP did indeed exist: it was titled The Third Annual Kapusta Kristmas Album, billed as by Al Kooper & Friends, privately distributed on Partners In Crime NL-109 that December. (The eBay store of the seller, ‘Nethollywood’, has since been closed and the result of the item auction is no longer known.)

A little over four years later, Kooper was back in the New York studios for a couple of the sessions for the Empire Burlesque album, playing rhythm guitar on a rejected (but circulated) cut of ‘Something’s Burning, Baby’ (February 21, 1985) and two days later again played rhythm guitar on a number of attempts at ‘When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky’, one of which became the album track. Kooper is credited with playing on this, but so much was overdubbed later that it’s not certain his most minor contribution survives.

Quirkier and more interesting are his participations the following year. On April 28, 1986, in Topanga Park, California, along with other musicians and back-up singers, Al Kooper played keyboards on never-circulated attempts at ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Without Love’ and a song logged as ‘The Beautiful Life’; the following day they re-attempted ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Unchain My Heart’ (also uncirculated); and the day after that they laid down further never-heard versions of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Unchain My Heart’ and ‘Lonely Avenue’. On May 1 they tried ‘Without Love’ and ‘Unchain My Heart’ again, and on May 2 yet another ‘Unchain My Heart’ - but they also managed, across these two sessions, to overdub the backing to ‘Brownsville Girl’ that we hear on Knocked Out Loaded - a backing they dubbed onto the Dylan vocal he had in turn dubbed onto the original 1984 backing track just one day earlier (at the April 30 session). Again, Kooper played keyboards.

Later that month he was among those overdubbing onto a May 5 take of the KRIS KRISTOFFERSON song ‘They Killed Him’, a take of JUNIOR PARKER’s ‘You Wanna Ramble’ from the same day and a take of the old gospel favourite ‘Precious Memories’, and to record from scratch Dylan’s own song ‘Maybe Someday’. All these were duly released on the Knocked Out Loaded album that June - the same month that Kooper surfaced playing organ on ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ onstage with Dylan at a Cosa Mesa, California concert by Dylan and TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS. A month later (on July 21, 1986) the audience at Dylan’s East Rutherford New Jersey concert had the bonus of Kooper on organ for the last five numbers of the night: ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘In The Garden’, ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, ‘Union Sundown’ and ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’; on August 3, at Inglewood, California, Kooper repeated the process, this time squeezed onstage with DAVE STEWART and Annie Lennox, and this time with ‘Uranium Rock’ instead of ‘Union Sundown’. Two nights later Stewart and Lennox were out of the way and Kooper played on the last 11 of the set’s 26 songs: ‘Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35’, ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’, ‘Seeing The Real You At Last’, ‘Across The Borderline’, ‘I And I’, ‘Good Rockin’ Mama’ (with Dylan also joined on this one song by JOHN LEE HOOKER), and then the same five final songs as at the previous concert.

Another hiatus followed, but Al was back in the studios in Hollywood to lay down overdubs on various tracks for Under the Red Sky in 1990. He overdubbed organ on ‘Handy Dandy’ (originally recorded on January 6) and keyboards on ‘Unbelievable’ and ‘Under The Red Sky’ (both originally cut in LA in February or March), on May 3 and 4.

The two men had an odd semi-conjunction at the so-called 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration in New York on October 16, 1992 - because Kooper came on and played organ on ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat’ . . . not behind Dylan but behind JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP. But they were bound to come together again under more normal concert circumstances, and in 1996 they did. On Dylan’s first revisit to the city of Liverpool in 30 years - the city that he astonished when, with the Hawks in May 1966, he played electric rock infinitely more complex and radical than the city had ever heard from its beat groups when it had supposedly been the centre of the music universe just two or three years earlier - Dylan now came back in the middle of his Never-Ending Tour’s latest European leg (which had begun on June 15, 1996 at a festival in Denmark), and played two nights in Liverpool, June 26 and 27: and his band was augmented by Al Kooper on keyboards throughout the first concert and on all but two numbers of the second (Al disappeared for ‘To Ramona’ and ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’). Two nights later, at the Prince’s Trust concert in London’s Hyde Park, Al was there again (alongside RON WOOD too, this time) for the short nine-song Dylan set.

So far, apart from the No Direction Home contributions mentioned above, that’s been the last instance of a partnership that began with so triumphant a bang over 40 years ago.

In July 2005, Kooper released his first solo album in almost 25 years, the well-received Black Coffee. He had been playing, meanwhile, with the awkwardly-named ReKooperation, from whom there was an eponymously-titled album in 1994, and with a bunch of Boston academics (Kooper has honorary degrees and taught at Berklee College of Music in the late 1990s) just as uncomfortably named the Funky Faculty. A second, much-expanded edition of his book, now entitled Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards and dealing with the first 54 years of Al’s life, was published in 1998. By 2002, unfortunately, it had been remaindered.

Al Kooper lives in Boston these days, and though he’s lost most of his eyesight he’s lost none of his acumen, and if anything has gained in self-deprecating grace down the years. Usually. 2001 saw the release a retrospective 2-CD box set, Rare & Well Done, going all the way back to previously-unreleased material from 1964 and his first solo single from 1965, the deeply obscure ‘New York’s My Home.’ It further includes an outtake of ‘Went To See The Gypsy’ from a New Morning overdubbing session on June 30, 1970. Dylan is absent from the track, which Kooper describes in the accompanying notes as ‘a conception I had for Dylan to sing over’. This may or may not be a Dylan claim too far.

[Al Kooper: Naked Songs, Columbia KC 31723, US, 1972, CD-reissued Sony SRCS 6201, Japan, nia; Act Like Nothing’s Wrong, Liberty US (United Artists UAG 30020, UK, 1976), CD-reissued One Way CD S21-18565, US, nia; Rare and Well Done, Columbia/Legacy AC2K 62153 US, 2001; Black Coffee, Favored Nations FN25202, US, 2005. Al Kooper & Ben Edmonds, Backstage Passes: Rock’n’Roll Life in the Sixties, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1977; Al Kooper, Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1998. Al Kooper with Dylan, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, Costa Mesa CA, 17 Jun 1986. The Blues Project: Live at the Café au Go-Go, NY, 1965, US, 1966; Projections, NY, 1966, Elektra US, 1966; Live at Town Hall, NY, May 1967, Elektra US, 1968. Blood Sweat and Tears: Child Is Father to the Man, Columbia CS 9619, US, 1968. The Royal Teens: ‘Short Shorts’, US, 1958. Gary Lewis & the Playboys: ‘This Diamond Ring’, US, 1964. Gene Pitney: ‘I Must Be Seeing Things’, US (& on EP Stateside SE1030, UK), 1964. Johnny Hallyday: ‘Mes yeux sont fous’, France, 1965. Tom Rush: Take A Little Walk With Me, Elektra EKL-308 & EKS-7308, 1966. Lynyrd Skynyrd: Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced ́́lĕh-́nérd ́skin-́nérd), Doraville GA, 1972, MCA MCL 1798, US, 1973.]

4 Comments:

Anonymous Dan Hollyfield said...

I ran out of steam before I finished the Kooper piece, but the only input I might provide is that the comment about the Blood, Sweat & Tears albums is subjective and certainly not representative of many of their fans. I liked the first album, especially their version of "Just One Smile", inspired by Gene Pitney. Otherwise, it was fine.

3:04 pm  
Anonymous Alastair Thomson said...

No one wishes ill to Al Kooper but he's got this out of proportion. If a fact about you is wrong, you contact the publisher: you don't abuse the author.

Take the Bob Dylan connection away from Suze Rotolo and she disappears into anonymity; no wonder she huffs and puffs so preciously about it forty-five years later, clinging to her little secrets. It's graceless.

Michael Gray's work in support of the understanding and enjoyment of Bob Dylan's art is incomparable and deserving of celebration. As a serious Dylan fan since 1976, I find The Encyclopaedia to be of profound historical and aesthetic value (it's also very funny in parts) and I thank and congratulate Michael and his publishers for it.

The entry on Sara is astonishing, touching and wonderful; the essay on Street Legal is scintillating; the speculation about the Ronnie Wood friendship is a hoot. There are hundreds of such ways in which this book is praiseworthy.

6:18 pm  
Anonymous Al Kooper said...

GRAY-VE ERRORS

Here are the errors I found in just my entry in Grays
book. I am not pointing these out for any ego reason. I amdoing it because I know the truth and Gray doesnt. I like people to know the truth and I do my best to get it out to them. Selections from the original Gray entry are first, followed by my corrections

Hope this helps

and for a performance at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, but then quit, moved to the West Coast and formed Blood, Sweat & Tears,


I did not perform with The Blues Project at Monterey Pop. I did NOT move to California to form BS&T.
If the boundaries of your research precluded watching my performance or The Blues Projects in the Complete Monterey Pop DVD, it would've been completely evident unless you thought Harvey Brooks, Elvin Bishop & Billy Davenport were The Blues Project as they backed me up in a solo set. Or perhaps you thought I was just tan as you watched my African-American replacement perform with the actual Blues Project on the Monterey DVD.

"Nonetheless, sheer chutzpah gets him through songs like SAM COOKE’s ‘Touch the Hem of His Garment’ where any comparison of Kooper’s voice to Cooke’s would be ludicrous."

In the deepest recesses of your mind, do you think artists cover songs only to be competitive with the original versions ??? If artists thought like you than no one would have covered Otis Redding, Sam Cooke or Al Green AT ALL!!! EVER!!!. Do you think David Byrne gave Al Green any competition in Talking Heads "Take Me To The River?" Please.... I covered the Sam Cooke obscure gospel song so that people who listened to my work would hear that song, which was a favorite of mine. I was well aware I wasn't competing with Sam Cooke. Your way of thinking is far removed from that of a recording artist. Your ego, which has no problem ridiculing people's performances, can't take the same ridiculing, can it ??

stint as a Columbia Records A&R man, during which he had signed the long-uncommercial British cult band the Zombies, who promptly delivered the significant album Odyssey & Oracle and a major hit single, ‘Time of the Season’.

Does "long uncommercial" negate their two everlasting American top ten hits??? Also I did not sign The Zombies to Columbia Records. If you did SIMPLE research, you would have seen they were already signed to Columbia Records WORLDWIDE.
What I DID do, was implore Clive Davis not to drop them, as he intended to do, thereby negating the US release of Oddessey (thats how it was spelled in The Zombies title, Mr. Research) And Oracle. I also wrote the liner notes for the US release explaining all this. but I know your research doesn't go that far if its not a Bob Dylan album.

Al Kooper helped to make history at Newport 1965 too, not because he played with the Fariñas but because he played ‘Maggie’s Farm’, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry’ with Bob Dylan on that tumultuous, historic electric début - since when his involvement with Dylan’s work has been plentiful. He attended and played organ on the later Highway 61 Revisited sessions (July 30 and August 2, 1965 in New York)

I hate to tell you this, Mikey, but Highway 61 was already recorded when we played The Newport Fest. And you can wave all your "research papers' in my face, but I knew all those songs because i had ALREADY RECORDED THEM!!
And do you think Dylan would ask me to play without knowing what I would do up there? Shame on you. And remember, whatever you were doing at that time, I was THERE. And the Alzheimers hasnt hit hard yet and I'm fighting merely for the truth here; not for my status as the world's greatest Dylan historian, which I am pointing out to you as best I can, you are NOT.

That November 30, he was back in the studios for the first of the sessions that yielded Blonde On Blonde, and was there again on January 25-26 and 27-28, 1966. When Dylan finished the album in Nashville, in mid-February (between tour dates) and March (between tour dates again), only Al Kooper and ROBBIE ROBERTSON were still with Dylan from the New York sessions (apart from producer BOB JOHNSTON, who was Nashville-based in any case), and Kooper is interesting on the cultural gulf between this long-haired East Coast triumvirate and the country musicians and downtown Nashville. The last session took place in the early hours of March 10th.

Now this is TOTAL hogwash.
There was only ONE trip to Nashville for Robbie & I, and ALL THE TRACKS were cut in that one visit. People like you with limitted reasearch ability have promulgated that actuality into two trips and now, bored with THAT, you make it three trips in your latest lies. Recently, I spoke with one of your competitors, Sean Wilentz, and I told him about the one trip reality. He promptly called Charlie McCoy, leader of the Nashville musicians for that session, and Charlie corroborated my claim by stating he remembered it as one group of sessions as well. Thats when you clowns take out the Columbia session sheets which NONE of you know how to TRULY interperet, and start screaming dates at me. A Columbia session sheet from that time period had to be filed for ANY sort of work done in the studio; that includes editing, mixing, cutting disks on a lathe, etc. There were often no distinctions on the sheets about WHAT was taking place, but only the inclusion of the song titles and their master numbers, so I understand how someone who didnt work at Colimbia could misconstrue all those sheets and dates with what actually happened. And so began the era of Dylan mythology, largely trumpeted by you in your various works.

A little over four years later, Kooper was back in the New York studios for a couple of the sessions for the Empire Burlesque album, playing rhythm guitar on a rejected (but circulated) cut of ‘Something’s Burning, Baby’ (February 21, 1985) and two days later again played rhythm guitar on a number of attempts at ‘When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky’,

I NEVER played on Somethings Burning, but only on The Night Comes Falling.

Quirkier and more interesting are his participations the following year. On April 28, 1986, in Topanga Park, California, along with other musicians and back-up singers, Al Kooper played keyboards on never-circulated attempts at ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Without Love’ and a song logged as ‘The Beautiful Life’; the following day they re-attempted ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Unchain My Heart’ (also uncirculated); and the day after that they laid down further never-heard versions of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Unchain My Heart’ and ‘Lonely Avenue’. On May 1 they tried ‘Without Love’ and ‘Unchain My Heart’ again, and on May 2 yet another ‘Unchain My Heart’ - but they also managed, across these two sessions, to overdub the backing to ‘Brownsville Girl’ that we hear on Knocked Out Loaded - a backing they dubbed onto the Dylan vocal he had in turn dubbed onto the original 1984 backing track just one day earlier (at the April 30 session). Again, Kooper played keyboards.
Later that month he was among those overdubbing onto a May 5 take of the KRIS KRISTOFFERSON song ‘They Killed Him’, a take of JUNIOR PARKER’s ‘You Wanna Ramble’ from the same day and a take of the old gospel favourite ‘Precious Memories’, and to record from scratch Dylan’s own song ‘Maybe Someday’. All these were duly released on the Knocked Out Loaded album

Mikey, Dont you know how albums are made ?? Ya book a buncha time and you go in & record til ya get what ya
need. Are there REALLY people besides yourself that care how many times the songs above were attempted even though you dont include the changes in personnell for each evening /attempt ? This is how artists commonly make albums over the years and covering it partially anally without explaining WHY they were attempted different times,
in my humble opinion, is just taking info of studio sheets again with no DEEPER research. Bollocks, mate




that June - the same month that Kooper surfaced playing organ on ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ onstage with Dylan at a Cosa Mesa, California concert by Dylan and TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS. A month later (on July 21, 1986) the audience at Dylan’s East Rutherford New Jersey concert had the bonus of Kooper on organ for the last five numbers of the night: ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘In The Garden’, ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, ‘Union Sundown’ and ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’; on August 3, at Inglewood, California, Kooper repeated the process, this time squeezed onstage with DAVE STEWART and Annie Lennox, and this time with ‘Uranium Rock’ instead of ‘Union Sundown’. Two nights later Stewart and Lennox were out of the way and Kooper played on the last 11 of the set’s 26 songs: ‘Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35’, ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’, ‘Seeing The Real You At Last’, ‘Across The Borderline’, ‘I And I’, ‘Good Rockin’ Mama’ (with Dylan also joined on this one song by JOHN LEE HOOKER), and then the same five final songs as at the previous concert.,

I joined the tour for the ENTIRE CALIFORNIA leg because Petty & Dylan were good friends and I was invited. I played mostly organ to Benmont Tench's piano for the last leg of each show (approx. 11 songs) At Shoreline Amphithater I pertformed two vocals backed up by The Heartbreakers. Thats pretty significant to be left out of your
date-vomiting above

Another hiatus followed, but Al was back in the studios in Hollywood to lay down overdubs on various tracks for Under the Red Sky in 1990. He overdubbed organ on ‘Handy Dandy’ (originally recorded on January 6) and keyboards on ‘Unbelievable’ and ‘Under The Red Sky’ (both originally cut in LA in February or March), on May 3 and 4.

I overdubbed NO organ on Under The Red Sky. I played on the original track dates with the other musicians. You see how all this paperwork causes you to CONSTANTLY make errors based on your translations of peoples paperwork? You should have simply asked SOMEONE THAT WAS THERE who did what & when.

The two men had an odd semi-conjunction at the so-called 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration in New York on October 16, 1992 - because Kooper came on and played organ on ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat’ . . . not behind Dylan but behind JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP.

I played organ behind Dylan on the last three or four numbers of the show. Booker T played piano and it was the only time in both our careers that we played keys together. But I guess you only look at papers and not released DVDs of these shows you falsely talk about.

He had been playing, meanwhile, with the awkwardly-named ReKooperation, from whom there was an eponymously-titled album in 1994, and with a bunch of Boston academics (Kooper has honorary degrees and taught at Berklee College of Music in the late 1990s) just as uncomfortably named the Funky Faculty

only awkward for you because that band is actually called The Rekooperators and has always been
And im so sorry the name The Funky Faculty (a band of professors from Berklee that play funk music as good as anyone) is an uncomfortable name for you. I thought it fit the situation perfectly myself. Calling your book THE Bob Dylan Encyclopedia and berating me for my various group names is awkward & uncomfortable for ME.

further includes an outtake of ‘Went To See The Gypsy’ from a New Morning overdubbing session on June 30, 1970. Dylan is absent from the track, which Kooper describes in the accompanying notes as ‘a conception I had for Dylan to sing over’. This may or may not be a Dylan claim too far.


I have no idea what that last sentence means, but Dylans voice WAS on that track.
He asked that it be erased when he decided to recut it but allowed me to keep the track.
Also, that track was NOT cut during ANY sessions for New Morning. I did it with other musicians
outside the scheduling of New Morning so I'm sure the above date is incorrect.

Now what does the below data represent ????
BTW, I never played on Short Shorts by The Royal Teens and EVERYONE knows that.
I had NOTHING to do with the recording of This Diamond Ring by Gary Lewis; I Must Be Seeing Things by Gene Pitney;
or the below mentioned Johnny Hallyday recording. I was co-composer of those songs ONLY.


Al Kooper: Naked Songs, Columbia KC 31723, US, 1972, CD-reissued Sony SRCS 6201, Japan, nia; Act Like Nothing’s Wrong, Liberty US (United Artists UAG 30020, UK, 1976), CD-reissued One Way CD S21-18565, US, nia; Rare and Well Done, Columbia/Legacy AC2K 62153 US, 2001; Black Coffee, Favored Nations FN25202, US, 2005. Al Kooper & Ben Edmonds, Backstage Passes: Rock’n’Roll Life in the Sixties, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1977; Al Kooper, Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1998. Al Kooper with Dylan, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, Costa Mesa CA, 17 Jun 1986. The Blues Project: Live at the Café au Go-Go, NY, 1965, US, 1966; Projections, NY, 1966, Elektra US, 1966; Live at Town Hall, NY, May 1967, Elektra US, 1968. Blood Sweat and Tears: Child Is Father to the Man, Columbia CS 9619, US, 1968. The Royal Teens: ‘Short Shorts’, US, 1958. Gary Lewis & the Playboys: ‘This Diamond Ring’, US, 1964. Gene Pitney: ‘I Must Be Seeing Things’, US (& on EP Stateside SE1030, UK), 1964. Johnny Hallyday: ‘Mes yeux sont fous’, France, 1965. Tom Rush: Take A Little Walk With Me, Elektra EKL-308 & EKS-7308, 1966. Lynyrd Skynyrd: Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced?l?h?nérd?skin?nérd), Doraville GA, 1972, MCA MCL 1798, US, 1973.]

You left out other recordings I did with Bob including
a duet with Joan Osborne for the soundtrack of an American Tv show.

7:11 am  
Anonymous Alastair Thomson said...

Yeah, but it's not the Al Kooper Encyclopaedia - and there will not be a single reader of this book for whom the nuances of the contractual relationship between Columbia Records and The Zombies in 1969 matters.

A recurrent complaint in the litany is that Michael Gray bases his research on contemporaneous documentary evidence instead of human memory. This is the norm for writers of history. Bob Dylan once said "My childhood? I don't even know if what I did yesterday was true."

The inaccuracies in Michael Gray's text that cause such offence to Al Kooper are risible in their triviality - a spelling mistake, attribution of the wrong demo, the wrong US state, a performance at a pop festival not with his fellow band members but rather adjacent to a performance of his fellow band members now joined by a new black musician. Three quarters of Michael's summary of Al Kooper's career escapes criticism, which can only mean that these sections must be exceedingly accurate.

More to the point, in a book about the achievements of Bob Dylan, Michael Gray affords considerable space to the contribution of Al Kooper (rightly, as everyone would agree). He describes Al Kooper as a "hero" who "helped to make history".

Who could disagree with that?

1:01 am  

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