Al Kooper has been in the rock and roll business for fifty years. At age 14, he played with the Royal Teens, the band that recorded "He Likes Short Shorts" (you don't want to go there). He played organ for Bob Dylan on "Like A Rolling Stone." He discovered Lynard Skynard (and we forgive him). He played french horn with the Rolling Stones. And he wrote a book called "Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards." So tonight, he was at a bookstore in San Francisco, and my friend Dan and I went to hear him on his book tour.
Old Al spent an hour telling inside baseball rock stories in response to questions. And he's an excellent raconteur. But I thought the funniest part was the audience. Fifty - sixty gray-hair pony-tail types, who responded vocally and enthusiastically with each mention of a familiar musical icon. Al mentions Mike Bloomfield, the crowd shouts back "Yeah, Mike Bloomfield." He says Miles Davis didn't play rock and roll , and gets back "that's right, Myles Davis." He jokingly calls the guitar player for Lynard Skynard " the "John Coltrane of rock" because he played a song in 7/4 (I told you this was inside baseball) --" well all right, John Coltrane." Wouldn't have missed it for the world.
I would have bought the book, but the store actually ran out. So instead, I had him autograph my copy of "Super Sessions." His handwriting is worse than mine, but of course, he's almost blind.
Super Sessions contains my favorite Mike Bloomfield cuts. Bloomfield was my guitar god, air guitar hero of the 1960's and early 1970's, and generally played live much differently, and far better, than he recorded. Here's a taste to get your weekend started.