Thursday, April 7, 2016

Al Kooper - 1973 - Naked Songs

Al Kooper 
Naked Songs

01. (Be Yourself) Be Real 3:25
02. As The Years Go Passing By 6:04
03. Jolie 3:46
04. Blind Baby 3:06
05. Been And Gone 2:35
06. Sam Stone 4:43
07. Peacock Lady 3:23
08. Touch The Hem Of His Garnment 4:04
09. Where Were You When I Needed You 3:14
10. Unrequited 2:44

Patti Austin Vocals
Barry Bailey Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
Charlie Brown Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm), Slide Guitar
J.R. Cobb Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
Dean Daughtry Piano
John Paul Fetta Bass, Bass (Electric)
Michael Gately Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Eileen Gilbert Vocals
Paul Goddard Bass
Richard Greene Fiddle
Junior Hanley Drums
Robert John Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Al Kooper ARP Synthesizer, Arranger, Bass (Electric), Composer, Engineer, Flute, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Rhythm), Gut String Guitar, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Piano (Electric), Primary Artist, Producer, Remixing, Vocals
Maruga Clay Drums, Drums
Robert Nix Drums
Linda November Vocals
Albertine Robinson Vocals
Stuart Scharf Guitar (Acoustic)
Beverly Scott Lettering
Maretha Stewart Vocals
Tasha Thomas Vocals

Naked Songs represents the other end of Al Kooper's early career from I Stand Alone. Where that first album was recorded very gradually at the outset of his solo career, soon after exiting Blood, Sweat & Tears, Naked Songs was a much more cohesive work (cut in New York and Georgia) from the end of his stay at Columbia Records. Ironically, it was a contractually obligated album, but never one to throw away an opportunity, Kooper embraced soul, gospel, blues, pop, and even country music in the course of filling its two sides. Playing his usual array of instruments, including loud, note-bending blues guitar and gospel-tinged organ on "As the Years Go Passing By," he effortlessly switches gears to the smoother pop-soul sound of "Jolie," then straight country with a blues tinge on "Blind Baby." John Prine's grim and uncompromising "Sam Stone" gets an extraordinary performance, but the real surprise is the presence of Sam Cooke's Soul Stirrers-era gospel classic "Touch the Hem of His Garment" -- the latter is one of a pair of Cooke songs (the other is "A Change Is Gonna Come") that one would not expect any white artist to try and cover, much less do well, but Kooper does it justice and then some, and this track alone is worth the price of the album. The album benefits from the fact that Kooper had spent a good chunk of the prior year working with the Atlanta Rhythm Section (which appears here) as well as discovering Lynyrd Skynyrd. Naked Songs may have been intended mostly to get him out of his Columbia contract, but it proved a highlight of his career as well as his last new recording for four years. Naked Songs was reissued in Japan in 2003 in a mini-LP jacket format in state-of-the-art 24-bit digital audio.

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