I knew nothing about this album until about four years ago, when my resurgent interest in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young led me to greatly expand my appreciation for Stephen Stills, coincidentally at a time when I was also becoming more aware of the music of both Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper. Having delved into CSNY’s “Four Way Street” and then discovered the magic of Manassas, when I ran across this record at Deep Groove Records here in Phoenixville (for $5!) and decided to grab it.
I mean, I know this is a legendary record to many people. I know I was just dumb for not even knowing about it. It seems like the kind of record I must have seen in the bins hundreds of times over the years, without even recognizing it. I’m here to say: I was missing out.
From the first minute I played this, I was just wowed. This is just chill jamming. Released in 1968, it’s essentially an Al Kooper album, with Mike Bloomfield, about to depart Electric Flag, on the front side, and Stephen Stills, not yet in CSN, on the flip. It went gold and hit #12 in the US, and yet . . I still didn’t know about it. Sometimes my ignorance is stunning.
This is a superb album, just beautiful, powerful experimental jamming, supremely listenable. It’s become one of those albums that I put on when I don’t know what I want to hear (and I can say the same for Manassas). It’s just a groove.