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11 Jun 2016

The Blues Project “Projections” 1966 US psychedelic blues folk rock



 The Blues Project “Projections” 1966 US  psychedelic blues folk rock masterpiece….!!

full  orginal  album

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For my next album review, I’ve decided to go with Projections from the Greenwich Village band The Blues Project. Released by Verve in 1966, this is the band’s first studio album after releasing a live cut titled Live at The Cafe Au Go Go. This would end up being the band’s only studio album with this original lineup, though a few more were released with varying lineups. Interestingly, two of the members would later go on to found Blood, Sweat & Tears, but please don’t let that influence your opinion of The Blues Project, because they have quite different sounds. As the name implies, The Blues Project has a strong blues base, but they are also heavily invested in psychedelic rock. The first track, “I Can’t Keep from Crying,” comes out swinging with a wild psychedelic blues rock sound sure to get your heart racing. After the bluesy power of the first track, “Steve’s Song” brings you back down with a light psychedelic tune with a heavy flute. Fans of The Moody Blues will love this song due to its similar progressive psychedelic sound. A cover of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” harkens back to that early rock ‘n’ roll sound for the album’s third track. This number is my personal favorite: it takes that raw electric sound of Chuck Berry and gives it a hardened 60s edge. The final track of side one is a cover of Muddy Waters’s “Two Trains Running.” This lengthy cover is entrenched in the rhythmic blues sound of the Deep South’s earliest blues masters. This 11-and-a-half minute song shows off the band’s improvisational skills and demonstrates why they are considered one of the earliest jam bands. Fans of southern blues and/or jam bands will love this tribute, but those who aren’t may want to go ahead and flip the record. The first track of side two, “Wake Me, Shake Me,” is the band’s attempt to move towards a more radio friendly garage rock style. It’s a very solid tune. “Cheryl’s Going Home” follows as another psychedelically influenced blues rock song. For the third track, “Flute Thing” is an instrumental number similar in style to “Steve’s Song” except with even more flute. Lovers of that pure psychedelic sound will have their hearts melted. “Caress Me Baby” is a cover of another Mississippi blues master, Jimmy Reed (who is also coincidentally covered on the previously reviewed Blues Magoos album Electric Comic Book). This song runs with that same rhythmic blues sound as “Two Trains Running.” It’s a beautiful blues love song with a great harmonica solo. To wrap up the album, The Blues Project goes with a radio friendly “Fly Away” that could easily be mistaken as a tune from The Beatles’s middle years (Rubber Soul-Revolver). It’s a spectacular song that should have brought them more fame than it did. For the blues rock or psychedelic rock fan this album is an absolute must. It’s an incredible adventure into the very heart of 60s underground music and well worth going out of your way to find it.  A ……
The Blues Project were one of the hottest live acts of the time and one of the first album oriented bands. Not all blues, with certain tunes rooted in folk and this album bearing a psychedelic edge (nearly the American “Aftermath”) but listen to them cook through some classic blues standards and soulful originals, and the name starts to settle in just fine.
This Greenwich Village group lit up audiences weekly at New York’s Au Go Go Cafe. Before they cut their first record, the smokin’ hot Live At The Cafe Au Go Go, they were joined by session player Al Kooper who was looking to gig and improve his chops on the Farfisa organ. By the time Projections was released, they had become a hard-edged party band that were well-equipped to extend their jams for a drugged out San Fransisco scene, and their eagerness to incorporate other musical forms and experiment beyond the blues put this band ahead of their time.
Al’s “Kooperphone” (actually called a Tubon) on Can’t Keep From Crying supplies an opening dose of out-of-control psych. A completely unexpected classical suite introduces Steve’s Song, a folksy groover with light touches of fuzz. And it’s hard to not become a classic ’66 record with a track like the hard slow blues, Two Trains Running, running 11 minutes 30 seconds. Another toss-for-a-loop is a Jazz-lounge number featuring Andy Kulberg on the uncleverly named Flute Thing. Cheryl’s Going Home is a riff-based standout, but when they perform bluesy shuffles like Wake Me Shake Me and Caress Me Baby you know they’ve hit their stride. The blues numbers give the album its vintage appeal.
Though they could smoke an audience, they were unable to score a hit song. However, one of the last tracks they cut before Al Kooper left the band may be one of the best unknown singles of the year: No Time Like The Right Time.
The Polydor/Chronicles anthology has the Projections album on disc two, with scores of live material and outtakes from the first album on disc one and detailed liners…….by Rising Storm…..
The Blues Project can be defined by those who know and understand music in different and interesting ways. I describe it as a work of determination! Take these five young musicians and their struggles of this past year; they made it without the aid of a ‘single on the charts’ and despite the economics of an almost unbroken law that says, “no hit record, you don’t survive.” But with these young men, you find that there is an exception to the rule.
The struggle has not been an easy one, and it is far from over. But— they are going to 'make it!’ Witness their exciting performances at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich  Village…. the three times they played at Central Park this past summer to SRO crowds. These are the dates that made possible the healthy 'underground’ movement, the ever-growing grapevine that has led them to dates in San Francisco and concerts in colleges that included Rutgers, Boston U., Kent, Ithaca, Brandeis, Hobart, CCNY, Grinnell, and others. People are subscribing to the music and the originality of the Project.
On a recent trip to Hawaii, I was asked by a number of students, “When will The Blues Project be coming over?” It would not be surprising to find students in Europe and Asia asking the same question. The word is out, it is inevitable that whatever roads the words travel, the group, its music, and its station wagon will be sure to follow. Expect them to appear anywhere.
They have something to say. The world wants to listen to music—wants love and hope…and this is what The Blues Project is projecting— Love, Hope and a determination to make their sounds meaningful and lasting. by Sid Bernstein (sometime 'round 1966) …..
Brilliant groovy psychedelic rock which also has quite strong blues influences in some of the tracks. Considering this is produced and released in 1966, this album still sounds very fresh in 2013. I can’t imagine you could anyhow make this kind of music sound any better these days, than it does on this album.

Every single note seems to be wellthought of, and the band is playing really tight, even though it at times sounds like they’re just jamming and having a go. Also the material on the album is highly variative, so these guys have had a good sense of mind at being creative and managing to get it all together into one hell of a good album.

For a good while I was thinking if this should be a 4.5 or 5.0, but this was just a totally mindblowing album considering all the above, so I’m gonna give it a perfect score. What can I say but brilliance from the beginning to the end! ……
Back in 2005, contrary to my ususal listening-buying habits, I picked up a used copy of this album along with 7-8 other 60’s vintage rock albums out of a growing interest in that era. I credit this album (along with a couple of others picked up at the same time) for turning  what began as a toe dip into a full blown hobby (my ex wife called it an addiction-obsession). The quality of this album just slayed me.

This is a very rock genre diverse album, which in itself is nothing particularly noteworthy. What is notable is that where most stylistically diverse records end up considerably uneven, this one is stronger for it. It kicks off with the blues rock of “I Can’t Keep from Crying” and it’s killer organ part mixed way up front with one of the stronger vocal performances in the set. “Steve’s Song” has an eerie, only in the 60’s organ intro before falling into a beautiful folk rock ballad. If that organ wasn’t there it would be very Byrds like but it’s the better for having it there. “Two Trains Running” is an excellent, simmering, building blues track that’s engaging across all of it’s 11 minutes. Al Kooper’s eerie organ again is a highlight, puncuating the anguish of the track. “Wake Me Shake Me” is straight ahead, dance floor filling rock and roll. I imagine the go-go girls shaking their asses to it as if their lives depended on it. “Cheryl’s Going Home” is excellent folk rock. “Flute Thing” is jazz-rock. As far as jazz rock goes, it’s usually something that I turn away from but 'Flute Thing" is just beautiful and that melody line by the flute sticks with me for days after hearing it. “Caress Me Baby” is a slow blues ballad. You get the idea.

This was a band of great talent, whose members were all pushing the music in different directions, all interested in different things. They couldn’t co-exist long and didn’t. While their other albums are all worthwhile, the original groups only studio album is clearly their best. …..

The Blues Project
*Danny Kalb - Guitar, Vocals
*Al Kooper - Keyboards, Vocals
*Steve Katz - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Andy Kulberg - Bass, Flute
*Roy Blumenfeld - Drums

Tracks
Disc 1
1. I Can’t Keep From Crying (Arranged By Al Kooper) - 4:48
2. Steve’s Song (Steve Katz) - 5:20
3. You Can’t Catch Me (Chuck Berry) - 4:35
4. Two Trains Running (Mckinley Morganfield) - 12:19
5. Wake Me, Shake Me (Arranged By Al Kooper) - 5:16
6. Cheryl’s Going Home (Bob Lind) - 2:33
7. Flute Thing (Al Kooper) - 5:59
8. Caress Me Baby (Jimmy Reed) - 7:12
9. Fly Away (Al Kooper) - 3:29
10.Love Will Endure (Patrick Lynch, Patrick Sky) - 2:19

Disc 2 Mono Album
1. I Can’t Keep From Crying (Arranged By Al Kooper) - 4:26
2. Steve’s Song (Steve Katz) - 4:58
3. You Can’t Catch Me (Chuck Berry) - 4:17
4. Two Trains Running (Mckinley Morganfield) - 11:34
5. Wake Me, Shake Me (Arranged By Al Kooper) - 5:19
6. Cheryl’s Going Home (Bob Lind) - 2:38
7. Flute Thing (Al Kooper) - 6:02
8. Caress Me Baby (Jimmy Reed) - 7:18
9. Fly Away (Al Kooper) - 3:33
10.When There’s Smoke, There’s Fire (A. Kooper, I. Levine, B. Brass) - 2:34
11.No Time Like The Right Time (Al Kooper) - 2:44

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..