A Glimpse Of The Future

You won’t find a more opinionated man than Al Kooper.

And he’s got a high opinion of himself too.

Every Tuesday Al combs through every iTunes release, looking for gems, not to get rich, but for personal satisfaction.

A couple of months ago, he decided to compile a weekly list of his picks. And I checked them out, because Al’s a friend and he badgered me for an opinion. And lo and behold, there wasn’t one tuneout in the bunch.

Let me be clear, they all weren’t certified winners, tracks I needed to hear again and again, but none of them were Pandora recommendations, that had me scratching my head wondering what the fuck he was thinking.

There was one certified killer. The Raconteurs’ "Rich Kid Blues".

Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn’t as good. Because I tracked it down and checked it out after getting so hooked on "Rich Kid Blues" I played it for an hour and a half straight, almost that and nothing else for two days.

You see "Rich Kid Blues" is a cover of an old Terry Reid cut. And as good as that nugget is, which I never heard previously, because I couldn’t afford every record in the bin, the remake trumps it, it’s an absolute killer. Check it out in Spotify or here:

If you don’t like this you can delete yourself from this mailing list immediately, you can call me a scumbag, a complete idiot and I won’t care. Because if you like that loud, in your face sound, with exclamations from the bottom of the soul, this fits the bill, and has got the quiet to loud dynamics of a great Zeppelin cut. With the electric and acoustic too. If a radio station played shit as great as this I’d never turn it off.

Meanwhile, you can hear the original Terry Reid recording here:

And if you want to be stunned, listen to this live take from German TV, proving the classic rockers had chops:

But what truly stunned me was this track by John Davis entitled "Stained Glass Window":

If you loved the vocals on "Surf’s Up", this will be a revelation. This is the Brian Wilson number we’ve been looking for, and this isn’t studio trickery, John Davis can do this live:

And I didn’t write about this because "Stained Glass Window" is not "Rich Kid Blues", but if you like this sound it’s jaw-dropping. So, if you’re a Beach Boys fan, if you’ve got every album, check this out. Otherwise you can skip it.

Meanwhile, I had no idea who John Davis was, but I ended up finding out he was in Superdrag, I listened to the whole album, I researched ad infinitum, because that’s what great music does, you want to know more, you want to get inside of it.

But it was a pain in the ass to click through to various music services for the ten tracks a week Al was sending. Therefore, he lost my faith, and I told him so.

But then he changed his style. He made all the songs playable immediately via Grooveshark.

And damn if there wasn’t a single tuneout in last week’s list.

And it’s just not a list, that’s not enough, there’s an explanation.

So it’s easy, and I still think ten a week is too much, but the point here is Al’s an expert. He’s put in 20,000 hours. He doesn’t need to be holier than you, like a reviewer, he’s just looking for that aural hit that makes him press the buy button.

So we’ve got a marriage of expertise with taste and a desire to share leaving remuneration out of the equation. Maybe Al’s getting paid to compile these playlists, but it can’t be much, he’s doing it because he loves music.

What a concept.

It’s the anti-MTV. Hearkening back to before the Beatles, when Al began, when it was about sound more than money.

Not every musician can pick ’em. But Al’s not the only expert out there. If we could have more selfless connectors we might find a way out of here.

It’s a completely new era. Everything’s available. You don’t have to buy it to hear it. As a result, we need a guide to the aural smorgasbord, a trusted source.

Al’s one.

There will be more.

Click on the names of the acts right below the dates to get the playlists and hear the tracks: Articles From Al Kooper

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