Bloomfield, Mike (and Al Kooper)

Band members               Related acts

- Elvin Bishop -- guitar

- Mike Bloomfield -- vocals, keyboards

- Dave Brown -- 

- Roosevelt Gook -- keyboards

- John Kahn -- bass

- Al Kooper -- vocals, keyboards

- Steve Miller -- guitar

- Skip Prokop -- drums

- Carlos Santana -- guitar




Al Kooper (solo efforts)

- Mike Bloomfield (solo efforts)




Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper

Company: Columbia

Catalog: KGP5

Year: 1969

Country/State: --

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: double LP: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4357

Price: $8.00

Cost: $66.00


Technically 1969's "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper" should be considered a follow-up to the acclaimed "Super Sessions" featuring Bloomfield, Kooper and guitarist Stephen Stills.  Perhaps due to the fact I had a college roommate who owned the "Super Sessions" album and played it repeatedly, I was never all that interested in hearing this double album concert set.  I remember being thoroughly unimpressed with the "Super Sessions" 1960s-styled jamming.  Long, ponderous and largely uninspired were among the adjectives that crossed my tongue whenever Rob (the roommate played the album).  I guess I just figured there would be more of that stuff here.  Well, the bad news is that's true.  The good news is there are a couple of highlights that almost save the album.


The background behind the album (largely summarized from Kooper's liner notes) is that Bloomfield approached Kooper with the proposition of recording another 'super sessions' set.  Kooper promptly agreed.  The two made arrangements to play a series of three concerts at Bill Graham's Fillmore West with Wally Heider's remote recording truck recording the performances.  With support from bassist John Kahn and drummer Skip Prokop the quartet eventually assembled in California, by which time they only had four days with which to practice.  Naturally they couldn't find any available rehearsal hall, literally bouncing from place to place over the four day period.  By the time quartet stepped on to the Fillmore West stage they were physical and mental wrecks.  As you can tell from his rambling introductory comments, insomniac Bloomfield hadn't slept for the entire four day period and was a bit on the wired side.  By the third night Bloomfield was in a San Francisco hospital ward where he'd been heavily sedated (and finally fallen asleep).  Given this was the era of brotherly love and cooperation, Elvin Bishop, Steve Miller, Carlos Santana and others stepped in to fill the gap.  


So what's this sprawling document actually sound like?  Well, as Bloomfield and Kooper themselves admit "we're gonna jam because what the hell how much do we know ...".  In typical 1960s concert fashion, way too much of the album is turned over to seemingly endless jamming.  Nobody but the truly fanatical will want to hear extended versions of 'Her Holy Modal Highness', 'No More Lonely Nights' or 'Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong'.  There are some interesting moments include a hearing Bloomfield's debut as a singer.  On tracks such as a cover of Ray Charles' 'Mary Ann' and 'That's All Right' he's not bad, certainly a match for Kooper's narrow range.  Elsewhere a weird death march tempo cover of Paul Simon's 'The 59th Street Bridge Song' featured Simon adding post-production harmony vocals to the track (Simon was supposedly so impressed by the live version that he jumped at the chance to participate.  (Wonder why he would have been impressed by such a slow-motion destruction of his song?).  As mentioned above, the third side's turned over to the guest stars.  Santana turns in some nice guitar on a cover of Cream's 'Sonny Boy Williamson', while Elvin Bishop accounts for almost a quarter of the album's running time with his cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's 'No More Lonely Nights''.  Is it essential?  No way.  Is it worth buying?  Sure.  Especially if you can find it at a reasonable price. 

"The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Opening Speech   (Mike Bloomfield) - 1:35

2.) The 59th Street Bridge Song   (Paul Simon) - 5:34

3.) I Wonder Who   (Ray Charles) - 6:02

4.) Her Holy Modal Highness (instrumental) (Mike Bloomfield - Al Kooper) - 9:00


(side 2)
.) The Weight (instrumental)   (Robbie Robertson) - 4:01

2.) Mary Ann (instrumental   (Ray Charles)   5:19

3.) Together 'Til the End of Time   (Frank Wilson) - 4:16

4.) That's All Right   (Arthur Cruddup) - 3:17

5.) Green Onions (instrumental)    (Steve Cropper - Al Jackson - Booker T. Jones - Steinberg) - 5:21


(side 3)
.) Opening Speech   (Al Kooper) - 1:29

2.) Sonny Boy Williamson (Jack Bruce - Pete Brown) - 6:04

3.) No More Lonely Nights (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 12:20


(side 4)
.) Dear Mr. Fantasy (Stevie Winwood) - 8:04

2.) Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong (Albert King) - 10:59

3.) Finale - Refugee   (Mike Bloomfield - Al Kooper) - 1:58





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