Bill Your 'Free Form FM Handi Cyber | Mahwah, NJ USA | 12/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very good buddy of mine and I were talking yesterday. Now, this cat knows his music and knows it deep. So I was a bit taken aback when he discribed this album as "the American Sgt, Pepper." Not that I don't love every inch of this album: always have. But this American Pepper concept really got me thinking.
This is, on the most basic level, a fantastic R&B album. Ok, you have the bossa fest of "Without Her," and other tracks on here that could not be purely discribed as R&B. But for the most part, Child Is Father To The Man is soul and blues.
But it is Al Kooper's R&B: Kooper knew his American music so well, he was able to grab it and mutate it, make it sound fresh and progressive, the way singles labels like Motown and Stax could-or would-not in 1968.
Take "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." It is 100% R&B, but the longer length and jazzy chords make this a little more progressive, grand, then a three minute Temptations 45 that was on the charts in 1968. Don't forget, Motown had not gone psychadelic yet.
For kids listening to the Doors, Jefforson Airplane, or........oh yeah, Sgt. Pepper, Koopers take on R&B made what was singles music work as one coharent album. It was R&B you could sit and analyze as oppposed to dance to.
When you take the laughing introduction which starts Child Is Father To The Man, and hear how the whole album runs the immacuately composed soul togethet on one thread, and then take longer tracks like "Somethin' Goin' On," you hear how Kooper wanted to change the minds of the upper crusts: selling the black music he loved to the kids on the campuses, who were listening to newly forming FM radio stations, where you NEVER were going to hear "All I Need" or "Shop Around."
The album works as one big, amazing piece of abstract R&B, full of layers and textures and amazing composing. It is not Beatle music, and is purely American, and even has little to do with, say, Love's Forever Changes, Pet Sounds, or any other proposed American Counterpart to Sgt. Pepper.
As an album, it is different, but just as good.
(I still have not answered the question. Notice that?)"
Confused identity yields short-lived promise
IRate | 03/24/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
Noteworthy debut does contain more misses than what is generally acknowledged but still shows an adept range amidst the jazz-rock spectrum that only felt betrayed with further releases."