Monday, December 15, 2008

Projections - The Blues Project


My late brother Curtis gave me this record in 1967 when I was eleven. Maybe he didn't like it very much, but he fobbed it off on his impressionable baby brother who absorbed it completely in his post-Beatle awareness of all things hip in music. He'd given me the head's up on the Beatles appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and had fed me a Left Banke album he thought I'd appreciate, which I did.

The Blues Project record, though, was different from the pop stuff. I didn't know from blues at that point, so this was my first foray (unless you count hearing Tom Rush sing "Who Do You Love" on AM radio about the same time).

First thing that drew me in was the spidery, shiny screech of Danny Kalb's lead guitar, especially on "I Can't Keep From Crying" which sounded as much like Blues Magoos as the blues to me. Al Kooper's ondioline was making an early appearance in that song too, as it would later on "Her Holy Modal Majesty" on Super Session, a weird proto-synthesizer that weedled itself into the middle of the pre-solo cacaphony.

"Wake Me, Shake Me" also captured me with its grooving rhythm section (Roy Blumenfeld and Andy Kulberg). "Two Trains Running". My first exposure to a Chuck Berry deeper cut with "You Can't Catch Me", a song I'd later cover with The H-Bombs and in solo shows.

I sought out the originals, of course, like any good neophyte blues afficionado would do. I bought Al Kooper solo records after he got the boot from Blood, Sweat and Tears. I bought Seatrain records because Kulberg was in the band, and there I learned about Peter Rowan and Richard Greene.

I make a big deal about how much Michael Bloomfield and the Electric Flag got me into the electric blues, but honestly, this was the first shot fired over the bow. The tracks I have from Projections still sound snaky and evil to this day, and I'd highly recommend getting ahold of this potent record (although you might want to grab the band's anthology which features all the tracks from Projections at a cost somewhat less than the inflated price of the actual disc itself).

4 comments:

Jim H. said...

No time like the right time!

Best wishes for the Holidays,
Jim H.

Wisdom of the West

Gil said...

I'm gonna have to check these guys out..I'm only familiar with the one track on the Monterey Pop DVD...but that same DVD kicked my ass with the Electric Flag's performance. As usual, a bit late to the party - I was more inclined to the Brit's early take of the blues. Been pondering the Super Session LP..think I'll get it, now.
Gil

Illumina said...

Hi, I'm a refugee from the myspace blogs you'd post, and I always loved your stories and your writing style is exquisite.
The Super Session LP with Al Kooper, Stephen Stills, et al was always a favorite of mine, especially their rendition of 'Season of the Witch.'
I had an older cousin who turned me onto the Nazz and such bands like Every Mother's Son and Music Explosion (besides hearing these bands' hit songs on AM radio). I sought out all of these records in the early 1980's in my Boston deejay days, and I found everything I ever wanted in the long lost days of used record stores. 'Walk Away Renee' (sp!) was and is a big fav of mine.
My parents allowed me to stay up LATE to watch Ed Sullivan in Feb. 1964 when The Beatles performed, I was 8. All I recall is the crowd of girls screaming above the music being played. My parents liked The Beatles and well, that exposure changed my life, what can I say!

Best Holidays to you and yours,
Syra aka Janice
xo

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

I really enjoyed your post, and it made me think about my own music roots. Posted a link to you on 30Threads.com:

http://www.30threads.com/2008/12/19/what-are-your-music-roots/

Thanks again for a great post.