THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
642) Al Kooper — “Anna Lee (What Can I Do For You)”
A glorious Band-y cut from Kooper’s second solo album, ’69’s You Never Know Who Your Friends Are, a song, as Ian McFarlane says, that is full of “swooping, soulful intensity” (liner notes to CD reissue of You Never Know Who Your Friends Are)
Kooper should have long ago been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Bruce Eder says that Kooper “by rights, should be regarded as one of the giants of ’60s rock, not far behind the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon in importance.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/al-kooper-mn0000509524) Yup.
Kooper should also have been inducted into the Chutzpah Hall of Fame. As the famous story goes, he bluffed his way into a Bob Dylan recording session. They took up Like a Rolling Stone, and as Richard Havers describes it:
“I’ve got a great organ part for the song,” [Kooper] told . . . producer [Tom Wilson]. “Al, . . you don’t even play the organ.” Before Kooper could argue his case, Wilson was distracted and so the twenty-one-year-old, “former guitar player,” simply walked into the studio and sat down at the B3. . . . During a playback of tracks in the control room, when asked about the organ track, Dylan was emphatic: “Turn the organ up!”https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/al-kooper/
Yes, that instantly recognizable organ riff!
[H]e was a very audible sessionman on some of the most important records of mid-decade . . . . Kooper also joined and led, and then lost two major groups, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He played on two classic blues-rock albums in conjunction with his friend Mike Bloomfield. As a producer at Columbia, he signed the British invasion act the Zombies just in time for them to complete the best LP in their entire history; and still later, Kooper discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their best work.https://www.allmusic.com/artist/al-kooper-mn0000509524
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