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Al Kooper Interview - Legendary Session Musician (Remastered version)

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Vinyl Vibes

Jack Hodgins speaks with the people behind the music you love.
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In this episode of Vinyl Vibes Jack is joined by Al Kooper, a songwriter, producer, and well known session musician. Al has been in the music business since he was 14 when he joined The Royal Teens, a well known rock and roll group, in 1958. He co-wrote his first number one hit when he was 21 years of age in 1965, it was called "This Dimond Ring" and was made famous by Gerry Lewis and The Playboys. In the same year, Al played the famous organ riff on Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, making him in high demand for session work forever after that. Some of the albums Al has been a session musician on include Blonde on Blonde, The Who Sell Out, Electric Ladyland, and Let it Bleed

Al was a founding member of The Blues Project (1966) and Blood Sweat and Tears (1967), and is featured on studio albums of both groups. Al was a performer at the famous 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, a festival where many other artist have also performed including the Grateful Dead, The Who, and The Byrds. In 1972 he discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and would go on to produce their first three albums which included the songs Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird. He would go to make 11 solo studio albums and perform on many other albums as a session musician in the coming decades. 

In this episode Jack talks with Al about his early musical influences, the impact rock and roll had on him as a kid, his time in the Royal Teens, his upcoming 4-CD boxset chronicling his entire music career, his 1972 album A Possible Projection of the Future, playing on Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, his 1973 cover of John Prine's Sam Stone, his work with BB King, the recording of Super Session, and his discovering and producing of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"(Mike Bloomfield) just sat down to noodle and out played me out of the room. So, I packed up my guitar and I put it in the corner and I went in the booth where I belonged and then they move the organ player to piano and they took a break to do that and I sat down at the organ and luckily it was turned on because I didn't know how to turn it on....(the producer) says 'what are you doing out there' and everyone in the band laughs and then he laughs and he says 'Ok, here we go, this is Like a Rolling Stone take four'."  - Al Kooper on this episode of Vinyl Vibes talking about playing organ on Like a Rolling Stone 

The original unremastered version of Jack's interview with Al Kooper can be found here

Episode Hosted and Produced by Jack Hodgins

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Vinyl Vibes

Jack Hodgens talks to the people who created the music that is the foundation of today's music.
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