Al Kooper - I Stand Alone (1968)

Al Kooper is an American singer-songwriter, producer and musician.

Born and raised in New York, Al Kooper entered the music business when still a teenager, his ambition getting him many useful contacts and business associates. He played guitar, and formed a songwriting team with Bob Brass and Irwin Levine, their most successful composition being "This Diamond Ring" (a #1 hit for Gary Lewis & The Playboys in 1965). A turning point in his career was when he managed to get himself into the studio where Bob Dylan was recording "Like A Rolling Stone". Kooper played the organ, an instrument he was previously unfamiliar with, but his playing became one of the defining parts of the song (and subsequently most of Dylan's mid-60s electric sound). Dylan invited him back to further sessions, and used him as part of his band during his earliest electric performances. Kooper soon became much in demand as a session keyboardist, albeit more for his hip credentials than his experience at the instrument. The same year he joined The Blues Project, and performed as their keyboard player until he left in 1967. He then formed Blood, Sweat & Tears, with which he pioneered the use of horn arrangements in rock music, but left after their critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful debut. His next project was the surprise hit album Super Session, featuring Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills, and the follow-up concert recording The Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper.
After these whirlwind few years, he finally released his debut solo album in 1968 (a busy year for him!).
I Stand Alone was a great fusion of genres, featuring rock, blues, soul, psychedelia, gospel and country, with a lot of elaborate orchestration and studio tricks, and a repertoire consisting of a mix of strong originals and diverse covers (including numbers by Traffic, Harry Nilsson and Bill Monroe). In many ways it can be seen as a continuation of the sound he had developed with Blood, Sweat & Tears, and set out the framework for a series of fantastic solo albums which soon followed.

|> Kooper Session (1969)
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