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Carl Bookstein finds that the great instrumental pairing of Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield shines on 'The Lost Concert Tapes 12/13/68'.
Al Kooper first shared this live album in November of 2002, thirty-three years after it had been originally recorded, and for all this time, these tapes had sat lost and languishing. Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield, 'The Lost Concert Tapes 12/13/68' captures a concert at the Fillmore East at a time when the pair’s album 'Super Session' was charting highly. This lost album can bestow renewed faith in the power of rock and roll. Mixed with the blues, it hits just the right note.
The improvisation here between guitarist Bloomfield and keyboardist Kooper, both of whom played on Bob Dylan’s original 'Like A Rolling Stone,' is historic. The whole band playing this night at the Fillmore creates something organic and beautiful.
'One Way Out,' also the Allman Brother's classic, is stinging Bloomfield guitar from the get-go, positively radiant and shining, with Kooper’s rollicking keyboard line supporting. “There’s a man down there, might be your man, I don’t know.”
The young guitarist prodigy, Johnny Winter, joins the band on 'It’s My Own Fault.' “This cat can play,” says Bloomfield, introducing Winter. It is a deep, electric, pure-guitar blues-brilliant and soul-soothing, with Bloomfield and Winter trading great guitar licks. Bloomfield and Kooper share vocals on this concert album, but Winter takes a powerful lead vocal on this track.
Simon & Garfunkel’s '59th Street Bridge Song' (Feelin’ Groovy) is a perfect choice here. “Got to slow down. Can’t move too fast. Got to make the morning last… Looking for fun and feeling groovy.” It is beautifully rendered. More rich, rollicking keyboards and guitar epiphanies.
The '(Please) Tell Me Partner' lyric is “how can you smile on such a sad sad day.” Bloomfield is wailing; Kooper’s keyboards are in the zone and flowing.
There is a fine and rocking first rate rendition of 'That’s Allright Mama' with more stinging guitar, followed by a beautiful song, 'Together Till the End of Time.' “By your side I will always be/ from now till eternity.”
On the finale, the Kooper keyboard intro. into Donovan’s 'Season of the Witch' is subtle and exquisite. “You got to pick up every stitch/ Must be the season of the witch.” These musicians have exactly the right touch, the perfect feel.
With Kooper, Bloomfield and company in fine form, this long, lost album is truly a great find.
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