- Album name: The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper
- Group name: Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper
- Year: 1969
- Number of discs: two
- Label: Columbia Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: my father
- Buy it on Amazon: $6.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve never heard of this record before, but I recalled Al Kooper’s name from when I reviewed his solo record I Stand Alone (1969) four months ago. I did not like it.
What I expected
This is a live double album, so I’m optimistic that it will not annoy me in the way that Kooper’s studio record did, with all the absurd sound effects and whatnot; it’s pretty difficult and generally perceived as a waste of time and money to recreate all of that crap at an actual concert.
The back of the album also states: “Also featuring Elvin Bishop, Carlos Santana”. Last summer, I reviewed Let It Flow by Elvin Bishop (1974) and thought it was excellent, as well as Abraxas by Santana (1970) and thought it was very good, so that’s promising.
What it was actually like
This was a really excellent hard rock and electric blues record. In general, most of the songs were pretty slow, with minimal or no vocals, multiple (and sometimes elaborate) electric guitar solos, riffs, bass lines, &c, &c.
Several of the songs were too long: I’m not sure, for example, that Her Holy Modal Highness needed to last for nine minutes and eight seconds, that No More Lonely Nights needed to be 12 minutes and 27 seconds, or that Don’t Throw Your Love on Me So Strong needed to be 10 minutes and 56 seconds. Besides being too long, the latter two were also too slow, though I was satisfied with the length of Dear Mr. Fantasy (eight minutes and four seconds), because apparently that was how long it needed to be to incorporate a great guitar solo and the weirdest, most psychedelic (and superior) version of Hey Jude that I’ve ever heard.
On that note, I listen to Green Onions pretty often, but the version on this record was the most rocking one that I’ve ever heard. I also really liked the Simon and Garfunkel song The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy), which I would have heard it when I listened to Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by Simon and Garfunkel (1966) half a year ago, but I guess it didn’t make an impression on me then. It sure impressed me now, though (and just think of how lucky we all are that it was not “the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge song”).
The Band song The Weight was quite strong, but I wish that they had done it with vocals. I also really liked the outstanding electric blues version of the Elvis Presley song That’s All Right.
Another great one was Sonny Boy Williamson, and Finale-Refugee was pretty short, but it had the best guitar riff on the record.
Overall, despite the excessive length of some of these songs that easily could have been cut in half, I was very positively surprised by this.
5/5: love it