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4.5 out of 5 stars28
4.5 out of 5 stars
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I bought the original LP when it came out in 1968, and I was playing it only a few weeks ago when someone asked "Why not get a CD of that?" I was delighted to find this CD with the four extra tracks, two of which (10, 12) are variants on Albert's Shuffle.

I think jayhikkss has written the most comprehensive Az review on this CD, any more and the sleeve notes of Michael Thomas' original and David Fricke's Rolling Stone article, and Al Kooper's foreword would be redundant. And I tend to agree with jayhikkss' analysis if not the conclusion; myself I think it is still squeezes into five stars. It is such a good album that I think everyone should have at least listened to it once, and many of us children of the '60s will already have a copy.

For the record, I prefer the original versions with horns, finding the sans-horns versions (tracks 10, 11) a bit lacking; Kooper was right. The 'Blues for Nothing' bonus track is really 'Albert's Shuffle' done differently - Bloomfield brilliantly exploring fresh flights of fancy, and well worthy of inclusion. 'Fat Grey Cloud' does fit better with 'The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper tracks which have a different feel to Supersession.

Happy memories always return when I listen to this.
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Having finished with Blood, Sweat & Tears and their debut album "Child Is Father To The Man" in 1968 – AL KOOPER found himself the in-house Producer at Columbia Records in need of a project. So he calls up ex Electric Flag and Paul Butterfield Blues band ace guitarist MIKE BLOOMFIELD and together they determine to make a 'quickie' – a Blues and Soul jam album they'll pump out in one manic session. They get down enough material for one whole side of an LP (a couple of covers and some originals) - but Kooper needs the remainder. With Bloomfield flown the coup (chasing things other than the blues) – Kooper called in ex Buffalo Springfield guitar/songwriting whizz Stephen Stills to record the rest. And out of these most unlikely of 'sessions' – history was born. Columbia CS 9701 (Stereo) peaked on the LP chart at an impressive 12 and started a run of superstar jam sessions - all trying to capture the same lighting in a bottle (common consensus agrees that few got near it).

Al Kooper's liner notes explain that he's gone back with Engineer ALLAN TUCKER to the original master tapes and 24-bit remastered the album to CD. And in keeping with fan-requests over the decades – he's taken off the 'horn' overdubs put on the long jam sessions so devotees of this iconic and cool 60ts album can finally hear Bloomfield workouts like "Albert's Shuffle" and "Season Of The Witch" 'sans horns' (see bonus tracks 10 and 11). They are magnificent and arguably up there with the best Bonus Tracks ever issued. All in all - you have to say that given what they had to work with – Kooper and Tucker have done a bang-up job. Here is the 'Man's Temptation'...

US/UK released April 2003 – "Super Session" by BLOOMFIELD, KOOPER & STILLS on Columbia/Legacy COL 508071 2 (Barcode 5099750807125) is an Expanded Edition CD with four Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (77:14 minutes):

1. Albert's Shuffle
2. Stop
3. Man's Temptation
4. His Holy Modal Majesty
5. Really
6. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry [Side 2]
7. Season Of The Witch
8. You Don't Love Me
9. Harvey's Tune
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Super Session" – released August 1968 in the USA on Columbia CS 9701 (Stereo) and September 1968 in the UK on CBS Records S 63396.

BONUS TRACKS:
10. Albert's Shuffle (2002 Remix Without Horns)
11. Season Of The Witch (2002 Remix without Horns)
12. Blues For Nothing (Outtake from the Session – first made available on the 1995 Mastersound CD of "Super Session" on Columbia CK 64611)
13. Fat Grey Cloud (Live) – Previously Unreleased (Recorded 1968 at The Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA)

MIKE BLOOMFIELD – Guitar on Tracks 1-5, 10, 12 and 13
AL KOOPER – Vocals, Ondioline Organ, Piano, Electric and Acoustic Guitars
STEPHEN STILLS – Guitar on Tracks 6 -9 and 11

GUESTS:
BARRY GOLDBERG – Piano on Tracks 1 and 2
HARVEY BROOKS – Bass
"Fast" EDDIE HOH - Drums

The 12-page booklet has an opening 'Producer’s Note' from All Kooper not just explaining the recordings but the CD reissue and his 'without horns' 2002 remixes. BRUCE DICKINSON was Executive Producer for the re-release and both the Michael Thomas original LP liner notes and the David Fricke Rolling Stone Review are reproduced (four-stars from Robert who spends much of his time raving about Bloomfield when Kooper's contribution was just as big if not more in my books). There are some black and white session photos and not much else. ALLAN TUCKER did the Mastering at Foothill Digital Studios in New York and the Audio is fantastic – full of power and presence and that sense of immediacy the recordings had anyway (the Bonus Cuts are beautifully transferred too).

It opens with a Bloomfield/Kooper Instrumental called "Albert's Shuffle" – nearly nine-minutes of Shuggie Otis type Blues with Bloomfield shouting as he solos – Kooper letting loose on the keys (an organ sound most would kill to get). Next up is the uber-cool "Stop" – an instrumental cover of a Howard Tate soul tune on Verve Records from December 1967 (Verve VK 10573). I’ve loved this slinky little ditty for decades now and it still has that 60ts chug about it that utterly sends me. Next up is the first vocal by Al Kooper on their version of Curtis Mayfield's "Man's Temptation" – a song about a temptress who wants to "...ruin my happy home with man's temptation...” But then we get the magnificent band really cooking on another Bloomfield/Kooper creation "His Holy Modal Majesty" – a 9:19 minute Organ/Guitar battle that feels like Santana gone Prog by way of the Blues (and I still don’t know what the title means). Side 1 ends on the Traditional Slow Blues vibe of "Really" – 5:26 minutes of Bloomfield letting rip on the frets while Kooper puts in huge chords on the Organ (very tasty mama).

Side 2 has always been problematic for me. It opens with A Stephen Stills take on Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" and to me it immediately sounds like the album has gone off the rails. The tune is OK – but thematically it comes over like poor man’s Monkees instead of the fresh Bluesy workouts we were getting on Side 1. Things are brought back from the brink big time by the stunning 11:08 minutes of "Season Of the Witch" (a Donovan cover they did on the Side 1 all-day session). Columbia and CBS edited both it and "Albert's Shuffle" down to fit on the A&B-sides of a 45 in October 1968 (CBS 3770 in the UK, Columbia 44657 in the USA) – but it did little business despite the success of the album (it's a no-show here due to time constraints). Back to weird with the Hendrix flange cover of a Willie Cobbs tune called "You Don't Love Me" which again is good – but still feels wildly out of kilter with the rest of the record. Then we enter mellow Jazz Soul territory with the saxophone-led "Harvey's Tune" – another out of step instrumental that sounds like it should be in a Blaxploitation film instead of on this album. But then you’re hit with four corkers...

While the album has its incongruous moments – the bonus tracks act as an impossibly brilliant counterpoint – the first three sounding like the powerhouse Blues Session that should have been released. Why "Blues For Nothing" was left off the album and mediocrity like "Harvey's Tune" left on is a total mystery (4:15 minutes) and the two album cuts minus-the-horns actually seem to free the songs and focus you completely on the dynamic duo – Al Kooper on Organ and Mike Bloomfield on Guitar. "Season Of The Witch" is the prize here and stretches to its full 11:08 minutes - stripped and raw - it has a renewed power that's thrilling. As if this is not satisfying enough – the live Instrumental Blues of "Fat Grey Cloud" is fantastic – Bloomfield joking first about 'tuning' then letting rip – wild one second – Soulful Bluesy the next – with Kooper following after - pumping out an Organ Sound that is huge (4:39 minutes).

In truth the original album is probably more four-stars than five - but this genius CD reissue with those stunning bonus tracks bumps it up again.

"...You've got to pick up every stitch..." – Kooper sings in their funky cover of Donovan's Sixties-sinister "Season Of The Witch". And it seems that anything from that incredible 'super session' was indeed worth picking up...
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on 2 October 2014
Personally I think the 'super session' is a very strong Bloomfield/Kooper and Kooper/Still collaboration. It's a great mix of bluesy-jazzy-rock songs. The recording sessions dates from 1968, but still haven't lost their power. When it was issued as the 'Supper Session' LP the A-side was the Bloomfield/Kooper session and the B-side was the Kooper/Stills sessions.

Mike Bloomfield is at his peak of his performance. Extremely powerfull playing, especially in the instrumental "Stop". I'm not a guitar player, but I can actualy hear Bloomfield his power in his playing. The songs only last 4:19. The Rolling Stone review form 1968 is included and explains some of Bloomfields playing: "(...) But in "Really" and "Stop" there is a wide-open cheer and confidence in Bloomfield's tone - a clean, sharp peal descended from the three Kings (B.B., Albert and Freddie) - and his meaty glide from note to note." I think these lines sums up very well Bloomfield his playing. The nine minutes instrumental "His holy modal Majesty" is a freeform blues-jazz collaboration in optima forma by all band members.

The B-side is different. Stills was hastily recruted because Bloomfield didn't show up the next day. Stills his approach is less bluesy and less jazzy, but still it has the blues and the jazzy feeling. During these sessions they chose to play three covers instead of playing in free-form to see where their jamsession would take them.

Both sides have horns included at some of the songs. I like that very much, because to me it gives the record a complete touch.

Personal note; I first started to listen to this record as a teenager. My dad owned the LP and I was discovering the music from the British Blues Boom from the second part of the sixties. Bloomfield, Kooper and Stills. They didn't ring a bell, I didn't know them and soon I was to discover that they weren't English. That didn't matter. I listened to the record many time, remembering I enjoyed the Kooper/Stills sessions better then the Bloomfield/Kooper sessions.

Slowly I played the record less. I forgot the record. Untill I bumbed into this special edition some years ago. I rediscovered the record and discovered I am enjoying the Bloomfield/Kooper sessions better then the Kooper/Still sessions.

It's a record I appreciate very much.
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The 'Super Session' album used to be a bit of a last resort of the musical scoundrel. Endless jamming, lots of tedious noodling, not a lot of great music. However, this album is the one that set the bar so high that it was difficult to top. Guitarist Michael Bloomfield had already established himself as a top guitar banana with the Butterfield Blues Band, but his playing is right out of the top drawer here. The instrumental take of Howard Tate's soul stomper 'Stop' is a belter, awash with razor-edged guitar licks. Kooper isn't the world's greatest singer, but what he does, he does well, and his keyboard work and arrangements are imaginative and colourful. When he ropes in Stephen Stills for a couple of tracks, it just gets better. Highly recommended.
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on 2 June 2014
This is classy stuff -timeless. Notes carefully chosen and sublimely played. Would like the new box set but its a bit pricey
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on 6 October 2003
I was 18 and musically naive when this album was first released. A friend of mine had bought it and played it to me and I was hooked on white boys blues. Since that day, I've bought and worn out 5 copies. This latest reincarnation is the best yet. The extra tracks range from excellent to awful but who cares. Albert's Shuffle is even better without the horns, Season of the Witch better with. Track 12 was omitted from the original, quite rightly, it's terrible! Track 13 is beautiful, worth buying the album for this one alone. If you already own it, buy it again. If you don't, what are you waiting for? The album sounds just as good today as it did all those years ago.
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on 6 January 2014
Perhaps the squalid nature of his decline has consigned Bloomfield to the footnotes of recent blues history; or maybe he was just less charismatic than Hendrix, Clapton, Guy, Beck or Page. But he was a fine player. These super sessions (from the era obsessed with the supergroup) and quite relaxed; but contain some fine and tasteful playing.
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on 30 September 2003
In the early 70's era of compilations such as "Fill Your Head with Rock" and "The Rock Machine Turns You On", I first came across this album in my local posts office, where I was browsing through a selection of Music for Pleasure albums. I had previously found such delights as "The Best of John Mayall" and "The World of Blues Power" when I came upon what I thought was yet another compilation of US blues/rock groups from where the likes of Bloomfield, Cooper and Stills originated from.
On first listening to the cheap vinyl re-lease version (which I still have in my collection) I was immediately drawn to the guitar work of Bloomfield and keyboard contributions from Kooper. This is backed up throughout by excellent work from Stills etc to produce such delights as "Season of the Witch", a complete rework of the Donovan classic.
All in all an superb live album which typifies the excellence around at the time - often copied but never bettered.
I've now got in on album, cassette and CD to prove the point!
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on 16 August 2014
First had the Rock Machine LP in 1969 with the great track Stop. This album shouts '1968' again, wish I bought this then as it sounds a tad dated but very listenable also try Electric Flag - A long time coming.
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on 3 June 2013
The names of the artists say it all. This takes me way back, probably more than I care to remember, when music was felt and not manufactured. Love it. If you liked late 60's free music, you'll love this.
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