Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Al Kooper - A Possible Projection of The Future / Childhods End (Classic Album US 1972)


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A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood's End is Al Kooper's fifth album, recorded for and released by Columbia Records in 1972.


Begun with a vague storyline that failed to survive beyond the two title tracks, the album was recorded in London, England at George Martin's AIR Studios with one outtake from New York City (You're A Woman). Six original tracks were surrounded were covers by Bob Dylan ("The Man in Me", which Kooper had originally produced), Smokey Robinson ("Swept For You Baby") and even Jimmy Cliff ("Please Tell Me Why").
The album cover showed Kooper as an eighty-year-old man, decrepit and clutching a Fender Jaguar guitar.

In 1972 Al Kooper returned to London to record for his next solo album. A Possible Projection Of The Future / Childhood's End came out later that same year, showcasing his usual soul-rock blend. It was notable for featuring his first use of synthesizers, used extensively in place of the usual horns and string arrangements. The result was very effective, giving the album something of a cold, dark feel in places. 


He played all the keyboards and guitars himself, just backed by bassist Herbie Flowers and drummer Barry Morgan. Alongside some great original songs were covers of Smokey Robinson's "Swept For You Baby", Jimmy Cliff's "Please Tell Me Why", Curtis Mayfield's "The Monkey Time" (which had been a 1963 hit for Major Lance) and Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me" (originally from Dylan's New Morning album, which Kooper had co-produced).

One song ("Swept For You Baby") was not recorded in London, and was an outtake from his previous album.

As with virtually everything he's ever released, Al Kooper's A Possible Projection of the Future/Childhood's End is superbly produced -- it also sounds a bit different from his other early solo albums, having been recorded mostly in London rather than in New York City. 


Al Kooper - Medley From I Stand Alone (33rpm)
(Bonus flexi issued with copies of Eye Magazine, Jan 1969)
Musically, it's a tiny bit more shaky than one is accustomed to, at least for the first track. Then he slips into a soul groove that is still one of the most extraordinary sounds you'll ever hear from any white artist. 

Whether he's doing an original song or covering Curtis Mayfield ("The Monkey Time"), Smokey Robinson ("Swept for You Baby"), or Bob Dylan ("The Man in Me"), Kooper is a figure transformed and transcendent through most of this album, delivering an achingly poignant and charismatic performance. The opening number is the only weak moment on the album, a cold, mechanical number that doesn't fit with anything else here, but beyond that everything is essential listening.




Studio Albums (not all):
I Stand Alone (February 1969)
 You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (October 1969)
 Easy Does It (September 1970)
 New York City (You're A Woman) (June 1971)
 A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood's End (April 1972)
 Naked Songs (1973)

Collaborative:
 Super Session (with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield) (1968)
 The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (February, 1969)
 Fillmore East: The Lost Concert Tapes 12/13/68 (with Mike Bloomfield,      recorded 1968, issued April 2003)
 Kooper Session (with Shuggie Otis) (1969)
 Let it Bleed, The Rolling Stones album (1969), horn, piano and organ on final track, "You Can't Always Get What   You Want".

Related:
 Blood, Sweat & Tears
 Mike Bloomfield
 The Blues Project
 Stephen Stills

Compilations:
 Al's Big Deal – Unclaimed Freight/An Al Kooper Anthology (1975)

Also appears on:
 Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd - Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973)
 Second Helpings - Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)
 Nuthin' Fancy - Lynyrd Skynyrd (1975)

01. "A Possible Projection of the Future" – 6:29
02. "The Man in Me" (Bob Dylan) – 3:42
03. "Fly On" – 3:15
04. "Please Tell Me Why" (Gully Bright, Jimmy Cliff) – 4:40
05. "The Monkey Time" (Curtis Mayfield) – 3:20
06. "Let Your Love Shine" – 4:04
07. "Swept For You Baby" (Smokey Robinson) – 3:32
08. "Bended Knees (Please Don't Leave Me Now)" – 3:40
09. "Love Trap" – 4:04
10. "Childhood's End" – 3:33

1. Link
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2. Link
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Al Kooper -  Promo Copy UK 1972

4 comments:

Ian Van Groove said...

Another excellent slab of invention from Al, Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! Keep the Al Kooper coming! Do you have any Lee Michaels?

Grey said...

Thanks for the Al! Really liked this one as well as the other two you recently shared.

Anonymous said...

Whoa,
Thank you for the discovery.
Happy new year !