- Album name: Super Session
- Artist name: Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Stephen “Steve” Stills
- Year: 1968
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Columbia Records
- Collection: Friedman
- Buy it on Amazon: $29.29
Level of familiarity before listening
I’m not familiar with this record, but I’ve listened to a bunch of others from the Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills repertoires:
- The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (1969): 5/5
- Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield (1969): 5/5
- I Stand Alone by Al Kooper (1969): 2/5
- Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969): 5/5
- I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! by Janis Joplin (1969): 4/5
- Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970): 5/5
- Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More (1970): 4/5
- Stephen Stills (1970): 3/5
- 4 Way Street by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1971): 5/5
- Stephen Stills 2 (1971): 2/5
- So Far by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1974): 4/5
- CSN by Crosby, Stills & Nash (1977): 2/5
- Daylight Again by Crosby, Stills & Nash (1982): 1/5
What I expected
Rock and blues.
What it was actually like
There were two parts to this record. The first side was Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield, and was mostly blues.
Albert’s Shuffle was a pretty good instrumental blues jam, basically barbecue restaurant music. I hated the stereo, though, with guitar blasting in my left ear, while drums and horns were in my right ear. I guess 1968 was still early enough in recorded music history that they hadn’t figured out not to split the channels to such an extreme degree. Stop was also an instrumental, and it had a great keyboard solo.
Man’s Temptation was the only R&B song, and I didn’t like it as much as the others, especially its weird sounding vocals.
When His Holy Modal Majesty came on, I was completely befuddled by what kind of instrument could make that sound, which was sort of between electric guitar and keyboard, but I think it was the ondioline that was credited to Kooper. It was a very cool solo and I loved the song, an electric jazz jam that definitely evoked some of the more lively Miles Davis records. Really had a similar sound, but in more of a blues style, and without the ondioline.
The second side was Al Kooper and “Steve” Stills, and it was more rock.
As I mentioned when reviewing The Concert For Bangla Desh:
…how many people out there, even diehard Bob Dylan fans, can name Dylan’s greatest song? Is it Mr. Tambourine Man? No. Blowin’ in the Wind? No. Like a Rolling Stone? No. His greatest song is It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, and he performed it at the concert for inclusion on this album, which is great, even though his performance was kind of weak.
And as I added when reviewing Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits:
Needless to say, Bob Dylan’s greatest song is It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, but that one gets left out of every compilation or analysis of his accomplishments…
So I was excited to see that It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry was covered for this record, in a really creative rock interpretation that I definitely appreciated, but didn’t enjoy very much.
Their cover of the Donovan song Season of the Witch was another that went in a pretty different direction from the original, and at over 11 minutes long, was more than twice as long as it needed to be. It sped up and slowed down a few times, but was prety solid, and definitely more far out than Donovan’s version that was already a bit trippy. It had a good bass guitar, but I thought the appropriate time to end it would have been after the organ solo.
I did not care very much for the distracting sound effects on You Don’t Love Me, and Harvey’s Tune had some Barry Manilow or perhaps Kenny G level saxophone, and was quite bad.
4/5: would listen again
|↑1||Was this the only time in his career that he went by “Steve”?|
KENNm PARETZKY says
I have a couple of other suggestions for Dylan’s greatest song but that one definitely is up there. I do think Highway 61 Revisited is his best album
David Gessner says
This was a major album at the time. Everyone was listening to it and it was in my collection but likely in the lost box.