Al Kooper Black Coffee

Al Kooper is an acquired taste for some but few can be unaware of his historical and musical importance over the years. From his timeless ’68 "Super Session” with Steve Stills and Mike Bloomfield, his formation of the original Blues Project and Blood Sweat & Tears through to his production success with everyone from the Stones (Let It Bleed) to Hendrix (Electric Ladyland), Kooper was key. His discovery of Southern rock stalwarts Lynyrd Skynyrd and, indeed, his creation of a template for the Southern rock sound are more accomplishment alone than one man should be able to lay claim to. So, after a 30-year solo record silence, this is one for his fans — a fun and varied recording that delivers over 60 minutes of Old Al dishing out his patented rocking soul and funky R&B, as well as running through live versions of "Green Onions” and new classics (detailing the process of aging) in "My Hands Are Tied.” His ability to craft a gem belongs to history — from "This Diamond Ring” to "I Stand Alone — and this release finds Al being Al, and having some fun, quite possibly a few cocktails as he fires up the B3 and invites some friends over. As rough as his voice has become, the soul and passion remain. So does the smile that you can hear on new songs like "Going, Going, Gone” and "Comin’ Back in a Cadillac.” The live version of "Green Onions” will delight even Booker T hold-outs. Once a pioneer, always a pioneer, and every bit as vital as a good cuppa joe. (Favored Nations)