Records That Made History

Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper

todayApril 6, 2024 14

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The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper is a double live album recorded at the Fillmore West. The album is essentially a follow-up to the commercially successful and critically acclaimed Super Session studio album, which featured Stephen Stills in addition to Bloomfield and Kooper, earlier in 1968.

The performances, the recordings as well as the production cannot be described as flawless. In the liner notes, Kooper describes the difficulties of finding rehearsal time, Bloomfield’s insomnia and broken microphone during “Dear Mr Fantasy” as well as the inexplicable blackout of “I Wonder Who” during a solo Bloomfield.

Nevertheless, the album remains an important, if raw, source material of a live blues-rock performance of the era and, aside from its intrinsic qualities, is notable not only for being one of Carlos Santana’s first live recordings but also for Bloomfield’s debut as a singer. Although not historically noted in this role, on “Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong,” according to Kooper, “he shows flawless execution of the traditional guitar-vocal harmonies”.

The idea of musical spontaneity in both live performances and studio recordings had reached its peak in 1968 and spontaneous outings by musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Steve Winwood and the Southern California musical heritage that eventually culminated in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, as well as a host of other musicians, was indeed a sign of the times. But it was the union of Bloomfield and Kooper that can really claim where this phenomenon started, and to what level this album took it.

Using a thin and tight beat, John Kahn and Skip Prokop fight and embrace each other on tracks like “Her Holy Modal Highness” and the big, revamped rock/soul cover of Paul Simon’s “Feelin’ Groovy”, which is supported by overdub vocals and the composer himself. The album’s high point may be Bloomfield’s rendition of Albert King’s epic “Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong”, which may be one of his best recordings. As with the Super Session album, history repeated itself, as Bloomfield’s chronic insomnia caused him to miss the second night of the concert. Kooper enlisted the help of Steve Miller and then-unknown Carlos Santana, a self-proclaimed Bloomfield devotee, on several tracks, notably a loose and freewheeling version of “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” which embodied the entire trend of the era.

Live Adventures was also released on CD but without additional material beyond its original release. The concerts took place over three nights and, according to Kooper, for two sets each night. This fact should have yielded several hours of recordings, of which the album contains only ninety minutes.

Through this amazing album I chose the “Her Holy Modal Highness”.

Tracklist

Opening Speech 1:35
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) 5:34
I Wonder Who 6:02
Her Holy Modal Highness 9:00
The Weight 4:01
Mary Ann 5:19
Together ‘Til The End Of Time 4:16
That’s All Right 3:17
Green Onions 5:21
Opening Speech – Al Kooper 1:29
Sonny Boy Williamson 6:04
No More Lonely Nights 12:20
Dear Mr. Fantasy 8:04
Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong 10:59
Finale – Refugee 1:58

Written by: Dimitris Sigalos

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