Projections by the short-lived band called The Blues Project was the featured album at Club Beavers that summer. I like the sound and ended up buying a copy before heading back to school. That fall, while incarcerated at the juvenile facility in Pottstown, PA, I played Projections repeatedly. In fact, before John Wesley Harding was released in December, it was my album of choice.
Projections was a good album for young ears for two reasons. First, the Blues Project was a band of very talented musicians. Second, the song selection on the album was an eclectic mix of blues, jazz, psychedelia and even folk rock. It was a taste of everything that was not being played on AM Radio at the time.
This album was my second introduction to the music of Al Kooper, who was a major force behind the Blues Project. My first real introduction was hearing the song This Diamond Ring which he wrote for Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It was an number one hit in 1965.
As most music fans know, Al Kooper was a Brill Building boy prodigy who wrote that hit song when he was 15 years old. He also was in the studio for the Highway 61 Revisited sessions, where he created the signature organ riff on Like a Rolling Stone. His experiences with Dylan and Mike Bloomfield (see my post from August 24) on the Highway 61 sessions are an oft-repeated story, which is described first hand in Kooper's book, Back Stage Passes and Back Stabbing Bastards. (Highly recommended and available from Amazon) He also played some of Dylan's earliest electric gigs, including The Newport Folk Festival and Forest Hills.
After the work with Dylan and the brief stint with the Blues Project, Kooper formed Blood Sweat and Tears and was largely reponsible for their successful first album, Child is Father to the Man. Next, he played with Mike Bloomfield on the Super Session albums. He has played on hundreds of other best selling records. He also discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their first three albums.
Kooper was back in Dylan's touring band when I saw Bob play in Houston, Texas in 1980. This was the tour after Bob came back from the all Christian period and started playing his old material. It was great to see him on the bandstand and it was an excellent show.
Al Kooper has made a huge contribution to modern music. He has a great website that is worth checking out. As mentioned above, his book is fascinating reading. You should pick it up.