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Album Review

The best of all of Al Kooper's studio albums, Rekooperation is a mostly instrumental album, on which the artist (playing organ and piano, and occasional guitar) and a band including Jimmy Vivino, Harvey Brooks, and Fred Walcott, among others, roar and pound their way through a baker's dozen of R&B, rock & roll, and soul classics. Everything from chestnuts like "Soul Twist," "Honky Tonk," "Johnny B. Goode," "Clean Up Woman," and " "Don't Be Cruel" to originals such as "Downtime" and "Alvino Johnson's Shuffle," without a notable gap in quality between them, are included — and the one vocal number, "I Wanna Little Girl," contains one of the finest singing performances that Kooper has ever turned in on record (but is also played so well, that it would work as an instrumental too). In many ways, this recording is a distant cousin to Blood, Sweat & Tears' Child Is Father to the Man, and was his first attempt at leading a band since that 1968 venture, which was sort of fitting since it led to Soul of a Man, Kooper's live-in-concert career retrospective album, the next time out.

Customer Reviews

Soul food with plenty of gravy.

Hello everyone and welcome to Rekooperation! Al Kooper will be your tour guide, leading the way with his Hammond B-3 organ through some of the finest instrumental music ever laid down. If you’re new in town, Al’s gonna show you all the sounds that soul, blues, funk, jazz and good old fashioned rock & roll have to offer.

From the opening swell of the James Brown spirited “Downtime” to the closing howl of the unabashedly inspired “I Wanna Little Girl”, Rekooperation clearly stands on it’s own as well as serves as a bridge between Kooper’s albums of the 60’s & 70’s, to his more recent solo efforts Black Coffee & White Chocolate. This gem is simply a must have.

A dynamic concept album that demands multiple listens, Rekooperation will keep you guessing if Rudy Van Gelder himself was recording, as the soulful comfort of such songs as “After the Lights Go Down” and “How ‘My Ever Gonna Get Over You” make you feel like your back at the chicken shack (be sure to check out Black Coffee for Al’s vocals to the latter.) A pinch of Motown, a dash of Sun and one really can’t help but wonder if the Uptown Horns really hail from Memphis rather than their native New York (please refer to White Chocolate for some more of that great Stax-Volt sound that Al so expertly channels.)

The Rekooperators du jour serve faithfully as Kooper’s messengers throughout and songs like “Sneakin Round the Barnyard” and the smoky “Honky Tonk” are proof positive that these players are having an absolute blast. “Alvino Johnson’s Shuffle” captures their chemistry in raw essence with an alternate take on that classic Super Session opener while herein lies easily the best cover of “Johnny B. Goode” you’ll ever hear (not to mention the grooviest!)

… and let’s not forget that Mr. Kooper can sing… and so he does to great effect with longing and passion on the album closer, “I Wanna Little Girl.”

With Rekooperation, Al Kooper reminds the listener that when this diamond rings, you’ve gotta accept the charges.


Born: February 05, 1944 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Al Kooper, by rights, should be regarded as one of the giants of '60s rock, not far behind the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon in importance. In addition to co-writing one classic mid-'60s pop-rock song, "This Diamond Ring" (though it was written as an R&B number), he was a very audible sessionman on some of the most important records of mid-decade, including Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." Kooper also joined and led, and then lost two major groups, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears....
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Rekooperation, Al Kooper
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