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Michael Leavitt shares his innermost thoughts as they relate to his personal and family life. He can be heard to say often to his kids... “There’s no upside!”

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Super Session - Albert's Shuffle

Super Session - Albert's Shuffle

1Michael Leavitt 160My older brother Jimi sent along a fabulous collection of "His" music.  He being 7 years older than I, we were raised in completely different musical eras.  Jimi went through the hippie era and the origins of Rock & Roll. I was greatly influenced because we shared the same bedroom growing up and I watched what he experienced with awe. In Jimi's message to me that came with the four DVD set he shared, "I have found you cannot add a song to your playlist, if you have forgotten the song even exists or you have never heard of it in the first place. Enjoy!" Jimi is spot on and I thought it would be great to listen to and enjoy this music of his era.

Today let's listen to the first track of the first DVD. It is called "Albert's Shuffle" and is found on the "Super Session" album. I have vague recollections of the "Super Session" album title, but that is where my knowledge ends. Looking at the album cover it shares three names;   Mike Bloomfield, Al Cooper, and Steve Stills. The only name that is familiar is Steve Stills. I recognize Stephen Stills from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame. Is it the same one?

Let's take a listen...


I had never heard this song before.  I love guitar driven rock & roll and this track did not disappoint. The keyboards take me back to the days of the roller rink on San Fernando Drive in NE Los Angeles. I like the groove that is carried through by the bass player. The entire song feels so relaxed, as though nobody is in a hurry to get anywhere. Obviously this song was not written for the AM radio Top 40 musical hit machine of the day. This was meant to just sit back, listen, and enjoy.

I went to Wikipedia to find out more about this album...

Super Session is an album conceived by Al Kooper and featuring the work of guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills, released on Columbia Records in 1968, CS 9701. Bloomfield and Stills do not play together on the album, with tracks including Bloomfield on side one, and those including Stills on side two. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.

I went on to read about the recording sessions and smiled as I read about how sides one and two of the album came about. It also let's me know that Stephen Stills is not even in the picture when Albert's Shuffle was recorded.

Kooper and Bloomfield had previously worked together on the sessions for the ground-breaking classic Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan, as well as playing in support of his controversial appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965. Kooper had recently left Blood, Sweat & Tears after recording their debut album with them, and was now working as an A&R man for Columbia. Bloomfield was about to leave Electric Flag, and at relative loose ends. Kooper telephoned Bloomfield to see if he was free to come down to the studio and jam; Bloomfield agreed, leaving Kooper to handle the arrangements.

Kooper booked two days of studio time in May 1968, and recruited keyboardist Barry Goldberg and bassist Harvey Brooks, both members of the Electric Flag, along with well-known session drummer "Fast" Eddie Hoh. On the first day, the quintet recorded a group of mostly blues-based instrumental tracks, including a modal excursion "His Holy Modal Majesty", a tribute to the late John Coltrane that was also reminiscent of "East-West" from the second Butterfield Blues Band album. On the second day, with the tapes ready to roll, Bloomfield did not show up.

Needing to have something to show for the second day of sessions, to sit in for Bloomfield, Kooper hastily called upon Stephen Stills, also in the process of leaving his band Buffalo Springfield. Regrouping behind Stills, Kooper's session men cut mostly vocal tracks, including "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" from Highway 61 and a lengthy and atmospheric take of "Season of the Witch" by Donovan.

Some overdubbed horns were later added while the album was being mixed, and sales worth a gold record award were garnered from an album which cost just $13,000 to make. The success of this record opened the door for the "supergroup" concept of the late 1960s and 1970s — Blind Faith, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the like. Kooper forgave Bloomfield, and the two of them made several concert appearances after the album was released. The results of one of those became the album The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper.

Make it a great day!

Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah

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