Nov 152009

Maybe it helps that Kooper is seated across from a guy wearing a vest and a ponytail. Maybe it helps that he displays his rock nerd credentials. Between this and the Skynyrd interview in TapeOp, I may be changing my tune on this guy…but there’s still no excuse for founding Blood, Sweat & Tears.


  17 Responses to “Al Kooper…In a Not-So-Annoying Light”

  1. i made it about a minute and a half.

  2. Ok, so I got involved in the Audio Engineering Society, which has monthly meetings in NYC. One of the people who shows up at almost every meeting is an eccentric elderly man. A few of us know his name, but nobody knows him professionally (ie who IS this guy?!). Mostly, he is known as “the man with the hat.” He always wears his hat, and he doesn’t take off his coat either. He tends to be, let’s say, “on his own wavelength,” interrupting meetings to say things like, “we used to go on trips. Are we going to go on a trip this year?” He’s not crazy, at least, at not predominantly so.

    December is usually the “special holiday meeting” and a few years ago, a member roped in Al Kooper to play some 5.1 mixes of the first BS&T album, which didn’t get released because Sony pulled the plug on new SACD releases. He was getting treated with due reverence and respect by those in attendance (and there were many) except it was clear that “man with hat” had no idea who Kooper was. This did not stop him from walking up to him and asking one of his favorite trivia questions, “Who were the five greatest songwriters of Tin Pan Alley?” If I ever saw a person with an expression that read, “I don’t have time for this crap,” it would’ve been Kooper at that moment. He could only name two, by the way. (I got four when he first cornered me with that question, so yay me.)

  3. BigSteve

    I don’t know, stating that Benmont Tench is a disciple “of me” is pretty insufferable.

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Great point, BigSteve. Considering my only abilities as a “big note” organist are also centered around Kooper’s work with Dylan, that would also make me one of his disciples. Ugh!

  5. With our Farfisa and Vox organs, you can claim to be a disciple of both Manzerak and Kooper. Congrat’s my friend!

  6. BigSteve

    That Art Fein guy (aka Fein Art) appears, against his will according to his blog, on the fringes of this Tom Waits bio I’m reading.

  7. Mr. Moderator

    How does he factor into the Waits bio, BigSteve?

    Despite – or because of – some of the creepiness of Kooper and Fein in this clip, does no one else sense a kindred spirit as they play this game of Name That Tune?

  8. pudman13

    Wait a minute here—the Kooper-led Blood, Sweat And Tears of CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN must not be lumped in with the David Clayton-Thomas version of the band. Kooper can’t be blamed for what they turned into after he left. CHILD is unquestionably the finest horn rock album of them all, and at the time it created a whole new, very viable genre. There was no way to know how pathetic it would become so quickly. Blaming him is like blaming Sly Stone for bad disco or Led Zeppelin for hair metal.

  9. BigSteve

    He was part of the group of people that hung around the Troubador in the late 70s, along with Waits and Chuck E. Weiss.

  10. Mr. Moderator

    pudman13, saying that album is the “finest horn rock album of them all” isn’t saying much, is it? What’s the second-finest one, Chicago II, III, or IV?

    I invite all Townspeople to revisit my time with that BS&T masterpiece (relatively speaking):

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    Re: the Big Choice Poll —


  12. Mr. Moderator

    What’s CHASE!, HVB? I think I vaguely remember some album by a nameless conglomerate with people “in action” on a white background, or something like that. Is that what you’re talking about?

  13. Why are you dissing the Ides of March? I’ve never heard anything but Vehicle, but I’ll stack that up against Blood Sweat and Turd’s entire catalog.

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    That’s what I’m talking about. A real stinker of an album, at least according to Dave Marsh (cough). My dad, as jazzbo-turned-rocker/hipster-wannabe, had a copy. I used to spend hours with the cover of that album as a 9 or 10 year-old. There was a guy on the back cover who I *really* wanted to grow up to look like. Let me see if the InterWeb has a picture…

  15. junkintheyard

    Hey all,

    First post here! I am kind of puzzled by the whole question. As an apparent youngster here, I struggle to find real worth in the whole horn-rock/jazz-rock thing. I don’t mean to sound callous but can’t we really distill the sub-genre down to a good compilation?


  16. Mr. Moderator

    Welcome aboard, junkintheyard! As one of the relatively older heads, I still question the worth in this genre myself. Personally, I find the whole thing really silly and efforts to expand the role of horns in rock highly disappointing. I wish more jazz musicians had been able to make inroads into rock. That may have worked better.

    That said, I guess this all started with thoughts on Al Kooper as an annoying interview subject, and despite my efforts at finding value in this guy’s value as a rock nerd, I couldn’t overlook his role in founding Blood, Sweat & Tears – just one of my many pet peeves. If you stick around you’ll see that we all have our pet peeves that we like to air out. Over time, we’re looking forward to reading about what makes you and other newcomers tick. If horn rock’s not the thing, chances are something will come up for discussion that will get an enlightening, funny, and/or passionate response from you, positive or negative.

    It may be time to put together a “Getting to Know You” post. Stay tuned!

  17. You’re gonna have a horn rock poll and not put any Tower of Power in the list? Geez…

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