Al Kooper — “First Time Around”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 18, 2023

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

705) Al Kooper — “First Time Around”

Another glorious Band-y cut from Kooper’s second solo album, ’69’s You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (see #642). Kooper himself says that “This is one of my favorite albums and arrangement-wise, it’s probably song-for-song, my best batch. It’s recorded primarily with a big-band, and in the Summer of ’69, I took that big band on the road for my first tour since having left Blood Sweat & Tears the year before.” (https://alkooper.com/solo.html)

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)

Eder goes on:

[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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