Today, February 21st, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the release date of the classical Columbia Records recording, Child is the Father to the Man by Blood, Sweat & Tears.
It has always been one of my top listens. I love the flow of the album, beginning with the “Overture”, then continuing with original songs by Al Kooper and Steve Katz. The album always calls me in refreshing, haunting fashion.
I have a framed LP album cover signed by Al Kooper and Steve Katz. I recommend both of their music biographies. Al Kooper’s Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastardsand Steve Katz’s Blood, Sweat and My Rock ‘N’ Roll Years. Each musician provides a unique perspective on the first B, S, & T recording session and what that time was like for them.
Child is Father to the Man is a pastiche that borrows styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mixes them into a new American musical form. The songs, “Without Her” by Harry Nilsson and “Morning Glory” by Tim Buckley evidence those trends.
My personal favorite track changes from time to time. Right now it’s “Just One Smile” by Randy Newman a very early song in his repertoire.
Do yourself a favor, wake up to your mind and give a listen to one of rock’s real masterpieces, Child is Father to the Man on this 50th anniversary celebration day. The recording is still fresh and vibrant all these decades later.
Blood Sweat and Tears, Child is Father to the Man is one of the most repeat playable recordings in my collection. It was released on February 21, 1968. I love the horn arrangements, the vocals, and the lyrics. The album flows effortlessly from track to track. Al Kooper is total genius on this recording. Give it a spin, its timeless.
It was my last day of public school, June 1969, I was hanging out in the gymnasium, loving the freedom before me yet dealing with the ambiguity of where was my life going? I really had a case of the blues. All around me various members of my senior class were putting up the decorations for our senior prom, which we were attending the following night.
In the middle of the gym floor was a record player, I walked over with my copy of Super Session, placed it on the platter, dropped the needle and shuffled back over to the bleachers to sit and listen. The sound of Mike Bloomfield‘s guitar and Al Kooper‘s organ filled the gym with the stinging sound of “Albert’s Shuffle” which filled my void masterfully. My angst about the future slipped away as the intensity of the music appeased my concerns. It was then I knew that music would carry me through the next phase of my existence.
Ratchet ahead 41 years to when I purchase the remastered edition of Super Session. What a tour de force to hear a cleaner, enhanced edition of this historic work. It all comes flooding back in waves of sound that envelops the listener and finds me at another major fork in the road.
Mike Bloomfield had just left The Electric Flag. Another recording that helped define the music of the 60s in terms of Texas blues mixed with R&B. Mike brought with him to the Super Session recording session two ex-Flag band mates Harvey Brooks on bass and Barry Goldberg on electric piano (Barry contributed to tracks 1 & 2).
The Super Session recording was rounded out admirably by “Fast” Eddie Hoh on drums and Steve Stills on guitar who filled in for Mike Bloomfield who left after one day’s recording to deal with his insomnia. Steve Stills was in the process of leaving Buffalo Springfield and he turned out to be the perfect complement to completing Super Session. It ended up fitting that Super Session would usher in the era of the super groups, representing a transitional portal for Kooper, Bloomfield and Stills in their respective careers.
Al Kooper in the liner notes states about Super Session, “…amazingly found itself timeless….making this one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on.”
There were two live recordings of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper that took place, the first was at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, September 26-28th 1968, featuring the first live recording of Carlos Santana released when he was 22 years old* This live performance also stars Elvin Bishop. It was released by Columbia Records in 1969.
Then later in the year at the Fillmore East in New York City they recorded, Fillmore East: Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. The Lost Concert Tapes 12/13/68 (featuring Johnny Winter)
* Carlos Santana was recorded in 1967 on Santana Live at the Fillmore in 1967 but it was not released commercially until January 1, 1997