Super Session

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
As the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967 had done a year earlier, Super Session 1968 initially ushered in several new phases in rock & roll's concurrent transformation. In the space of months, the soundscape of rock shifted radically from short, danceable pop songs to comparatively longer works with more attention to technical and musical subtleties. Enter the unlikely all-star triumvirate of Al Kooper piano/organ/ondioline/vocals/guitars, Mike Bloomfield guitar, and Stephen Stills guitar -- all of whom were concurrently "on hiatus" from their most recent engagements. Kooper had just split after masterminding the groundbreaking Child Is Father to ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
As the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967 had done a year earlier, Super Session 1968 initially ushered in several new phases in rock & roll's concurrent transformation. In the space of months, the soundscape of rock shifted radically from short, danceable pop songs to comparatively longer works with more attention to technical and musical subtleties. Enter the unlikely all-star triumvirate of Al Kooper piano/organ/ondioline/vocals/guitars, Mike Bloomfield guitar, and Stephen Stills guitar -- all of whom were concurrently "on hiatus" from their most recent engagements. Kooper had just split after masterminding the groundbreaking Child Is Father to the Man 1968 version of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Bloomfield was fresh from a stint with the likewise brass-driven Electric Flag, while Stills was late of Buffalo Springfield and still a few weeks away from a full-time commitment to David Crosby and Graham Nash. Although the trio never actually performed together, the long-player was notable for idiosyncratically featuring one side led by the team of Kooper/Bloomfield and the other by Kooper/Stills. The band is fleshed out with the powerful rhythm section of Harvey Brooks bass and Eddie Hoh drums as well as Barry Goldberg electric piano on "Albert's Shuffle" and "Stop." The Chicago blues contingency of Bloomfield, Brooks, and Goldberg provide a perfect outlet for the three Kooper/Bloomfield originals -- the first of which commences the project with the languid and groovy "Albert's Shuffle." The guitarist's thin tone cascades with empathetic fluidity over the propelling rhythms. Kooper's frisky organ solo alternately bops and scats along as he nudges the melody forward. The same can be said of the interpretation of "Stop," which had originally been a minor R&B hit for Howard Tate. Curtis Mayfield's "Man's Temptation" is given a soulful reading that might have worked equally well as a Blood, Sweat & Tears cover. At over nine minutes, "His Holy Modal Majesty" is a fun trippy waltz and includes one of the most extended jams on the Kooper/Bloomfield side. The track also features the hurdy-gurdy and Eastern-influenced sound of Kooper's electric ondioline, which has a slightly atonal and reedy timbre much like that of John Coltrane's tenor sax. Because of some health issues, Bloomfield was unable to complete the recording sessions and Kooper contacted Stills. Immediately his decidedly West Coast sound -- which alternated from a chiming Rickenbacker intonation to a faux pedal steel -- can be heard on the upbeat version of Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry." One of the album's highlights is the scintillating cover of "Season of the Witch." There is an undeniable synergy between Kooper and Stills, whose energies seems to aurally drive the other into providing some inspired interaction. Updating the blues standard "You Don't Love Me" allows Stills to sport some heavily distorted licks, which come off sounding like Jimi Hendrix. This is one of those albums that seems to get better with age and that gets the full reissue treatment every time a new audio format comes out. This is a super session indeed.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/13/1995
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 074646461129
  • Catalog Number: 64611

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Albert's Shuffle - Al Kooper (6:54)
  2. 2 Stop - Al Kooper (4:23)
  3. 3 Man's Temptation - Al Kooper (3:24)
  4. 4 His Holy Modal Majesty - Al Kooper (9:16)
  5. 5 Really - Al Kooper (5:30)
  6. 6 It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry - Stephen Stills (3:30)
  7. 7 Season of the Witch - Stephen Stills (11:07)
  8. 8 You Don't Love Me - Stephen Stills (4:11)
  9. 9 Harvey's Tune - Stephen Stills (2:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mike Bloomfield Primary Artist
Michael Bloomfield Indexed Contributor, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Track Performer
Al Kooper Organ, Guitar, Piano, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, 12-string Guitar, Track Performer, Ondioline
Stephen Stills Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer, Electric Guitar, Track Performer
Barry Goldberg Keyboards, Electric Piano
Harvey Brooks Bass
Fast Eddie Hoh Drums
Technical Credits
Willie Cobbs Composer
Al Kooper Producer, Horn Arrangements
Michael Thomas Liner Notes
Fred Catero Engineer
Roy Halee Engineer
Joe Scott Horn Arrangements
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