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).