Showing posts with label #Lynyrd Skynyrd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Lynyrd Skynyrd. Show all posts

Thursday, August 27, 2020


with L Y N Y R D  S K Y N Y R D
(Honoring the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd)
E X C L U S I  V E

Long considered the "wild man" of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artimus Pyle's powerful and distinctive double bass drumming helped define the legendary Skynyrd sound.

Artimus got his first real break at the Charlie Daniels band's Volunteer Jam. His first recording lists -- Artimus Pyle, percussion. Then with other work for the Marshall Tucker Band, Artimus became known as a powerful session drummer.
Using his connections with Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker, both acts that toured often with Skynyrd, Artimus met with Ronnie VanZant and Ed King at Studio One in Doraville, Georgia. The results of that meeting -- Saturday Night Special -- greatly impressed Ronnie. Artimus' live debut with the band took place in Jacksonville's Sgt Pepper's Club in October 1974. The gig, a show to raise money and awareness for Jacksonville's food bank, was hot Everyone remembers the band walking through the front door and into a crush of people that doubled the legal occupancy of the club. Playing under the hot lights in an over-packed club with an underpowered air conditioner made for a memorable night When Bob Burns left the band permanently following Skynyrd's first European tour in December 1974, Artimus quickly got the nod as Skynyrd's new drummer.

The years Artimus played with Skynyrd were the years that solidified the legend behind the band. Quickly developing into one of the nation's top touring draws with a grueling schedule of 300 shows a year, the constant work and touring paid off. By October 20, 1977, Skynyrds songs had become radio staples.
More than just a "tribute" to Lynyrd Skynyrd a tribute to the man that defined it. Artimus Pyle has said " If it wasn't for Ronnie, no one would know my name." Since his departure from Skynyrd in 1991 , Artimus Pyle's career has led him down an amazing path of solo records and projects culminating into one the finest tributes to southern rock royalty.
The Artimus Pyle Band is a high energy, true to the music, and true to the era rock group. One of the few that is on the road today. Artimus Pyle, Brad Durden, Jerry Lyda, Dave Fowler, and Scott Raines are not only a group of friends and contemporaries but a group with some of the most seasoned musician in the southeast.

APB delivers hit after hit after hit, night after night after night. From Freebird to Sweet Home Alabama, APB gives fans the best of Skynyrd with one of men who made it!

Street Survivor: 
Keeping the Beat
 in Lynyrd Skynyrd 
Hardcover – October 15, 2019
The book:
 by Artimus Pyle (Author)
And Dean Goodman  (Author)

Available at

ARTIMUS PYLE was born in Kentucky and raised in Tennessee and Ohio. He joined the US Marines in 1968 and Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974. He played drums on four albums, including Street Survivors, released three days before the plane crash that killed his friends Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, and Dean Kilpatrick. He has five children, and lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina. DEAN GOODMAN (Los Angeles) is a veteran journalist, lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of Strange Days: The Adventures of a Grumpy Rock n Roll Journalist in Los Angeles.
S t r e e t   S u r v i v o r s:
The True Story of The Lynyrd Skynyrd
Plane Crash
Format: DVD -Available at

In 1977, a plane carrying Southern rock legends LYNYRD SKYNYRD mysteriously runs out of gas mid-air en route to a concert, crashing into a dangerous Mississippi swamp while killing several of the band members, crew and both pilots. STREET SURVIVORS: The True Story of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash tells the story thru one of the survivors, drummer Artimus Pyle, who not only survived the fatal crash (that claimed the life of the band's founder and front man Ronnie Van Zant amongst others), but who also bravely pulled the remaining survivors out of the plane wreckage before staggering towards the nearest farmhouse in rural Mississippi to seek help.
Lynyrd Skynyrd Nuthin' Fancy (1975)
Gimme Back My Bullets (1976)
One More from the Road (1976)
Street Survivors (1977)
Legend (1987)
Southern by the Grace of God (1988)
Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 (1991)
Artimus Pyle Band
A.P.B. (1981)
Nightcaller (1983)
Live from Planet Earth (2000)
Artimus Venomus (2007)




…Order yours today on Hardcover or E-book

Featuring over 45 intimate conversations with some of the greatest rock legends the world will ever know.


-By Literary Titan (5) STARS
The Rock Star Chronicles, by Ray Shasho, is a splendid book written by a music enthusiast who has poured their heart and soul into it. It’s a story of a boy who loved rock music, and his obsessive passion of it earned himself the name Rock Raymond. He went to school but instead was schooled in all matters of music while his peers were buried chin-deep in coursework. He then became a radio DJ and has now compiled a book on all interviews he held with Rock gods who raided the airwaves back in the 70s and 80s. It’s a compilation of interviews with outstanding vocalists, legendary guitarists and crazy drummers in the rock music scene. Each interview gives a reader an in-depth view into their personal lives and the philosophies that guide their lives which all serve to humanize these great icons. For readers who are old enough to call themselves baby boomers this book will bring old memories back to life. Millennials, on the other hand, may think of this book as a literal work of the Carpool Karaoke show.

The Rock Star Chronicles is a book I didn’t know I was waiting for. To come across a book that will talk me into trying something new. One brave enough to incite me to venture into new frontiers. This book made me a believer- I am now a bona fide Rock and Roll music fan.

Ray Shasho masterfully gets the interviewees talking. He smartly coaxes answers from them with crafty questions designed to get a story rolling out of them. The artists talk about diverse issues ranging from music, politics, and their social engagements. Having been on the music seen all his life, Ray Shasho knows the buttons to press, how to get them comfortable about talking about their lives.

The book’s cover is befitting of its subject matter with the leather look offering a royal background to the golden letter print. It speaks to how high a level rock music holds in the pecking order- arguably, modern music as we know it has originated from blues and rock music.  The second noteworthy thing is the use of high definition pictures to reference the musician being interviewed in every sub-chapter. This ensures that the book is for both original rock and roll lovers and aspiring new ones. Together is makes for a refreshing and consistently enjoyable read.
I recommend this book to rock music enthusiasts, aspiring musicians wondering what it takes and all readers curious to learn new things by going back in time.

Author Interview - Ray Shasho
By Literary Titan
The Rock Star Chronicles uses your interviews with rock legends to humanize them and preserve their contribution to the genre. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was fortunate to have lived through two of the greatest decades for music. It was a time when radio played incredible music and rock concerts were a bargain and a happening thing to do. Rock groups featured incredibly talented musicians with guitarists and lead singers in the spotlight. There has never been a generation to match that period of music expertise and staying power. I wanted the reader to understand and realize how great a talent they really were and still are. Especially to wannabe musicians and the young. Many of the artists I have interviewed have passed on and others nearing retirement. It was important to me to tell their stories at a vulnerable period in their lives and be recognized as the greatest music legends the world will ever know.

What is one interview in this book that stands out as the most exciting one you had?

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has always been a rock hero to me. He has written and performed complex music and always had an incredible stage presence. Going to a Tull concert back in the day was a huge event. I will admit the first time I interviewed Ian Anderson I was quite nervous. I remember when the phone rang for the interview, I thought, that’s Jethro Tull calling me! During the second interview I got him to chat about politics, religion, ancestry, and world events. I tried not to ask the same mundane music questions that have been asked of him many hundreds of times. He was intellectual and I was on my best game that day.

What do you think is one thing modern musicians have to learn from the icons of the rock and roll genre?

Bands must perform live. All the legends started performing at school dances, bars, clubs, and anywhere they could be seen by an audience big or small. If they are talented eventually someone will give them a break, but it will not be easy. Having a You Tube video with a lot of page views is a start, but it will never have the impact of playing in front of live audiences.

What do you find is a common misconception people have about music?

People that pay big money to watch an artist lip sync on stage and still call it a great show. Music lovers who go see a legendary rock band and there are no original members in the band. Ringo Starr would never bill himself as The Beatles, instead he created an All-Starr band. All generations need to do a little homework before purchasing expensive tickets to concerts nowadays. My book will certainly help identify who the real legends are.

Music is a universal language that we all sh

Thursday, December 1, 2016


'E D  K I N G' 

“I am the luckiest guitar player on Earth,” Ed King declares.
King caught lightning in a bottle twice: First as a co-founder of the hit-making Strawberry Alarm Clock and then as a member of 
Southern rock giants Lynyrd Skynyrd.

As a teenager, King was a founding member of Thee Sixpence, the high school group that transformed itself into the Strawberry Alarm Clock. He and keyboardist Mark Weitz wrote the music for the smash hit “Incense and Peppermints,” starting with a memorable riff dreamed up by Weitz. King contributed the bridge to the then-instrumental.
Weitz tells the story: “I couldn’t figure out a bridge for the song. Ed King lived pretty close. I called him and told him I need a bridge for this new song idea I’m working on. He drove over, and about 45 minutes later we had it.”
The single’s songwriting credits notoriously failed to note their role in creating the song, but “Incense and Peppermints” hit No. 1 in 1967 and remains a rock-pop radio staple to this day.
Credit for “Incense and Peppermints” went to a songwriting team that worked with the publisher. He and Weitz collaborated again on “Tomorrow,” which charted at No. 23 in early 1968. Once again, King came to the rescue with a bridge.
King continued to write songs with Weitz as well as guitarist Lee Freeman. Strawberry Alarm Clock songs that King co-wrote include “Sit with the Guru,” “The Black Butter Trilogy,” “Pretty Song from Psych-Out,” and “Soft Skies No Lies.”
King says, “The Strawberry Alarm Clock tours with the Beach Boys in ’67 and ’68 outshine any other period in my life. Carl Wilson coming over to my room to show me the chords to ‘God Only Knows’ far outweighs any Skynyrd experience.”
King stayed with the band until 1972, when he took a flyer and joined a Southern rock band that had opened for the Strawberry Alarm Clock on a regional tour. That band was Lynyrd Skynyrd, which was heading into the studio to record its first album with producer Al Kooper.
King started out playing bass and then switched to guitar.
He formed a songwriting partnership with singer Ronnie Van Zant, which produced “Poison Whisky” on that album and then later “Sweet Home Alabama,” one of the band’s two signature songs.
Other Skynyrd songs co-written by King include “Saturday Night Special,” “Swamp Music,” “I Need You,” “Workin’ for MCA” and “Railroad Song.”
King’s guitar playing and songwriting skills were an essential element to the band's first three albums: Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second Helping, and Nuthin' Fancy.
King decided to leave the band in 1975 during the "Torture Tour." He was replaced in 1976 by Steve Gaines, who was killed in a plane crash along with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, backup singer Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray. Other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and several road crew suffered serious injuries.
Ironically Gaines and King share the same birthdate.

In 1987, King joined the Lynyrd Skynyrd survivor’s reunion tour and played with the band until his retirement from music in1996.
In 2006, King entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of 
Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Visit Ed King on Facebook at


Bi-weekly Monday Afternoon at 3 pm Pacific/6 pm Eastern
On the BBS Radio 1 Network
We Shine Only When 
We Make You Shine
Contact Ray Shasho at 941-877-1552
Email us at
And don’t forget to purchase a copy of my book entitled Check the Gs -the true story of an eclectic American family and their Wacky family business … or the second edition entitled … Wacky Shenanigans on F Street- ‘Proud to be Politically Incorrect in Washington DC’ ... available now at You’ll live it!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Al Kooper Interview: ‘Super Session’ Remastered & Kooper Uncovers New Music with Column

By Ray Shasho
-Interviewed July 2nd 2014

Singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist AL KOOPER continues to relish an incredible life of music. Although these days it’s mostly through his weekly online column for The Morton Report entitled ‘New Music for Old People’
Kooper reveals…
“This column is like the title says - its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadays. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD be!”

Kooper is also excited about the re-release of the classic ‘Super Session’ album featuring Al Kooper-Mike Bloomfield-Stephen Stills. The album is re-mastered with the latest (Hybrid Multichannel SACD) technology. The package includes new liner notes written by Al Kooper that tells the story of the Super Session album and the new 5.1 Multichannel mix. The 5.1 mix by Al Kooper with mastering by Bob Ludwig was never released and yet it has acquired some fame from industry insiders familiar with the Multichannel mix with comments like "excellent" and "it deserves to be heard."The new mastering of the Stereo tracks for new SACD Stereo and CD Stereo audio are by mastering engineer Steve Hoffman. -The official release of ‘Super Session’ on is -September 9th.

AL KOOPER: had a life changing undertaking technologically and musically after receiving a Webcor reel to reel tape recorder as a Bat Mitzvah gift in 1957.Born in Brooklyn and growing up in Queens, New York … Kooper began his incredible music career as a fourteen year old guitarist with The Royal Teens (“Short Shorts” #3 U.S. Hit in 1958).

In 1960, Kooper joined the songwriting team of Bob Brass and Irwin Levine and wrote “This Diamond Ring” (#1 U.S. Hit in 1965) for Gary Lewis & the Playboys. At 21, Kooper moved to Greenwich Village and began a momentous relationship with Bob Dylan. He performed and recorded with Dylan including adding his classic Hammond organ riffs on “Like a Rolling Stone”(#2 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Hit in 1965). During those recording sessions, Kooper met Michael Bloomfield.

In 1967, Al Kooper joined The Blues Project as their keyboardist. He left the band before the group was to appear at the infamous Monterey Pop Festival, and instead, along with bandmate Steve Katz, formed the jazz/rock/psychedelic/ R&B/ group …Blood, Sweat & Tears.
Kooper left Blood, Sweat & Tears after their critically-acclaimed debut release … ‘Child Is Father to the Man’ (1968). The album spawned the classic rock mainstays … “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (Penned by Kooper) and “I Can’t Quit Her” (Written by Kooper/Levine).

Al Kooper recorded a jazz inspired jam entitled ‘Super Session’ in 1968 with Michael Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. The album spawned an incredible cover of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” and my favorite track “His Holy Modal Majesty” (Written by Kooper and Bloomfield). The album peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold.
It was Al Kooper who called Judy Collins in the middle of the night and put Joni Mitchell on the phone to sing “Both Sides Now” which eventually became a huge hit for Collins in 1968.
Throughout the years …Kooper became a mainstay in the recording studio performing with The Rolling Stones, The Who, B.B. King, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Alice Cooper, Peter, Paul & Mary, Joe Cocker, Tom Petty, and Roger McGuinn to name just a few.
Kooper discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972 after watching several of their appearances at a frequented club in Atlanta. Al moved to Atlanta and signed the band to his new record label ‘Sounds of the South.’ (He would eventually sell the label to MCA Records). Al Kooper produced and performed on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first (3) albums…  (‘Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd, Second Helping, and Nuthin’Fancy). Also on the singles “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” and “Saturday Night Special.”

Al Kooper produced The Tubes, David Essex, Nils Lofgren, Rick Nelson, Ray Charles, The Staple Singers, Bob Dylan, and Lynyrd Skynyrd … to name just a few. He also played and arranged three tracks on George Harrison’s ‘Somewhere in England’ album and performed with the remaining Beatles … George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, on Harrison’s Hit single “All Those Years Ago” (U.S. #2 Billboard Hot 100 Hit in 1981). Kooper has also written and composed on countless albums and scores for television and motion pictures.

And let’s not forget an incredible SOLO CAREER  I Stand Alone (1969), You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (1969), Easy Does It (1970), New York City (You’re A Women)(1971), Possible Projection of the Future/ Childhood’s End (1972), Naked Songs (1973), Act Like Nothing’s Wrong (1977), Championship Wrestling (1982), Rekooperation (1994), Soul of a Man (Live album 1995), Black Coffee (2005), and White Chocolate (2008).

Al Kooper published his well- received memoir entitled … Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards: Memoirs of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Survivor. The first edition was released in 1977 with subsequent editions released in 1998 and 2008. (The 2008 edition being the best of the three).

I had the rare opportunity of chatting with Al Kooper about the remastered classic ‘Super Session’ album on 5.1 Multichannel mix … Al’s column ‘New Music for Old People’ … The Music industry today … Discovering Lynyrd Skynyrd … My infamous ‘Field of Dreams’ question… And much-much more!

Here’s my interview with founding member of The Blues Project, Blood Sweat & Tears, Collaborator with artists such as Bob Dylan, Michael Bloomfield, Stephen Stills, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, and many-many other legendary artists! Co-writer of the hit single… “This Diamond Ring,” Producer for numerous bands including Lynyrd Skynyrd & The Tubes … Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Multi-instrumentalist/Columnist/Author/ …AL KOOPER.       ...(WHEW!)
Ray Shasho: Al, thank you so much for being on the call today.
Al Kooper: “You weren’t just talking with David Clayton-Thomas were you?”
Ray Shasho: (Laughing) No, haven’t gotten around to chatting with David yet. I did chat with Judy Collins recently and she told me it was you that introduced her to Joni Mitchell.
Al Kooper: “Yes. I was actually living in her apartment for awhile.”
Ray Shasho: Judy had great things to say about you.
Al Kooper: “Well, that’s why we pay her. (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: Let’s chat about the re-release of the classic ‘Super Session’ album. The package includes new liner notes written by you that tells the story of the Super Session album and a new 5.1 Multichannel mix.
Al Kooper: “There was a time when Sony the label that owns it had a whole SACD, 5.1 department and they called and asked me if I’d be interested in doing some 5.1 remixes of stuff that I have worked on. So I said sure, they wanted me to do ‘Super Session’ and ‘Child is Father to the Man.’ I didn’t produce ‘Child is Father to the Man’ and so I called the producer and asked him if he was interested … and he said you should do it. So I said are you sure, because you’re the first choice in my book? He said no, I’m not interested and you are. So I did the first one in a week and the second a week after. I’ve only done those two and haven’t done anything else in 5.1.”
Ray Shasho: What will be the main difference in sound using 5.1?
Al Kooper: “You’ve got a great more space to deal with, it’s more of like a totally three dimensional space, so that helps tremendously and gives you more room to spread the instruments out … and vocals etc. I thought it was great that we could do that because when someone found the sweet spot where you need to sit, they could hear everything clearly, which is much tougher to do in a stereo situation.”
Ray Shasho: I thought the sound quality for the original ‘Super Session’ recording was incomparable for 1968.
Al Kooper: “Well it’s an eight-track tape, which means we only had eight tracks to put stuff on, so it’s really a credit to the engineer that it sounds the way it sounds, even more of a credit because we were just making everything up as we were playing it. We weren’t playing some preconceived tune, it was a jam session. With a preconceived tune you can say …well, at this point this is going to happen, and you say watch out for this and like that. But everyone was flying by the seat of their pants, so for him to do such a great job is very rare in a situation like that.”
Ray Shasho: I chatted with Billy Cobham who told me that the ‘Spectrum’ album was also a fly by the seat of your pants jam session.  I think many of those jam sessions were much better recordings than the over produced ones.
Al Kooper: “We were sort of modeling that album after jazz recordings … but we weren’t playing jazz though.”
Ray Shasho: The ‘Super Session’ album includes so many great jams …“His Holy Modal Majesty” and an incredible version of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” have always been my favorite tracks. I consider that album as one of those timeless and inspiring recordings … much of the same way I feel about the second John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers release.
Al Kooper:  “You mean the one with Clapton on it …or as we call it the Beano album.”
Ray Shasho: I covered John Mayall’s 80th Birthday show here in Sarasota and he looked and sounded fantastic, he was even setting up his own equipment.
Al Kooper:  “Well that’s because he can’t afford a roadie” (All Laughing) I played with him about six or seven years ago… I opened for him and hadn’t seen him for a long time …it was very nice.”
Ray Shasho: Were there any thoughts of you, Michael Bloomfield, and Stephen Stills continuing as sort of a supergroup while touring as a band together?
Al Kooper: “We did do that and played a handful of gigs and two of them are albums. One is called ‘The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper’ and the other one is called ‘The Lost Concert Tapes’ because they were lost for about four years.”
Ray Shasho: So how were they lost?
Al Kooper: “Sony Records. When they found them, they called me; I came in and made an album out of multi-track tapes. So there are actually three situations where Bloomfield and I made albums together that were pretty much jam session albums.”
Ray Shasho: How about some of the other players on the album ... like bassist Harvey Brooks (Electric Flag), did you continue to play with those guys?
Al Kooper: “Harvey and I grew up together and played quite a bit prior to that … way back to when we were little kids. I was born in Brooklyn and actually grew up in Queens.”
Ray Shasho:  Al, we’re definitely looking forward to the re-release of the classic ‘Super Session’ album (Hybrid Multichannel SACD) which will be available on - September 9th.  Al, what else do you have going on these days?
Al Kooper:  “I have a weekly column that I write called ‘New Music for Old People’… and that’s what it is. Its music that just came out that would appeal to someone in my age range. So it’s new releases by anybody, but has to pass my test. If I like it then it goes in the column. I started doing this when iTunes first came out and I discovered all these amazing bands that nobody ever heard of, but they were great, I mean it was music that I really liked as anything else I’ve heard in my life. It all started towards the end of 2003 when iTunes started. I found a place where they had all the new releases every week which was exactly what I was looking to find. So I went through everything every week and I’d find bands that killed me and it was just great. I started buying them and setting up playlists and it changed my life. It took the place of radio. Radio is over. I haven’t listened to mainstream radio in maybe thirty years. Satellite radio is different because they’re trying to do what I’m trying to do. It’s easier for me to get an audience online. I’m a critic, but a critic by omission as well. I never write anything bad about anybody. Not only do I write about it but it’s streamed as well, you can also hear it, which is a nice touch. I think you’ll get a kick out of the column. I’m in my third year now, so I guess I’m getting good at it now.”
Ray Shasho: You also have a memoir out entitled ‘Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards: Memoirs of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Survivor.’
Al Kooper: “I talk about what happened to me because it was such a bizarre story, and that’s why I wrote it. I had the most bizarre life. There are three editions of it out there and the latest edition is the best one. Backbeat Books is the publisher.”
Ray Shasho: You were also an A&R man for Columbia Records… a job I’ve always wanted to do. Is the A&R position important today as it was back in the 60s or 70’s?
Al Kooper: “The record companies are nothing what it used to be … especially the majors. I don’t feel like I belong there anymore. I don’t understand what those people are doing up there. Consequently, I think it’s just really tough for new bands as a result. But somehow all this great music is reaching me. The column that came out on Friday is called ‘What the Folk Is All This?’ And it’s about bizarre folk music. So it has some old stuff in it that was strange for the time it came out and then stuff from today that is also strange for the time it came out. There is also an artist that killed me, just knocked me out and nothing happened to it. I thought this guy was like the equivalent of Neil Young. And it just came and went, I couldn’t believe it.”
Ray Shasho: I chatted with Arthur Brown recently, a true rock pioneer, he was so grateful that I thought of him for an interview for my column.
Al Kooper: “Oh I love Arthur Brown. We played on the bill several times together. I thought he was unbelievable. I was also a little bit influenced by his organ player Vincent Crane and he was fabulous.”
Ray Shasho: My fondest memory of Lynyrd Skynrd was in 1975 …I was actually working at the Capital Centre arena in Maryland and watched the band rehearse their new song “Saturday Night Special” with maybe three other guys looking on. I hung out with Skynyrd a bit and then watched the concert later that evening.
How did you first discover Lynyrd Skynyrd?
Al Kooper: “I heard them in a bar. It was in Atlanta and I was there producing a record, I used to work from about midnight to 8pm every day and then me and this band I was producing would go out to this bar and get crazy. In those days, this was 1972, when you played a club you played for six nights. It wasn’t like one-nighters. So we had sat through one band already, and now a new week had started and a new band came in. The first band was okay, they weren’t great or anything, just background noise. So we went in and I saw the marquee and said…What is this … Ly-Nard Sky- Nard …what is this? (All laughing) They were a four-piece when I saw them … not counting the singer. Their songs and arrangements were incredible and I just thought they were amazing, and I got to hear them every night. I had favorites already and by the end of their engagement I offered to sign them. They became the reason why I started my record label (‘Sounds of the South’). I had found another band as well and thought… why am I giving this away, I should just start my own label, and then I moved to Atlanta. As a matter of fact I didn’t even go home from Atlanta. I had my roadies pack up my apartment and I never went home. (Then eventually sold the label to MCA Records)”
“I just love music … that’s what it’s all about.”
Ray Shasho: Al, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview …
Al Kooper:  “About eight inches! (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: No, that’s not it … If you had a ‘Field of Dreams’ wish like the movie, to play, sing or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Al Kooper: “Well my favorite band of all-time was ‘FREE.’ I would have loved to play with that band. And my favorite track is “The Stealer.”
Ray Shasho: Al, thank you for being on the call today but more importantly for all the incredible music you’ve given us and continue to bring. Keep in touch!
Al Kooper: “I will, thank you Ray!”

Pre-order now  ‘Super Session’ (Hybrid Multichannel SACD) –Al Kooper-Mike Bloomfield-Stephen Stills - Official release date September 9th on The package includes new liner notes written by Al Kooper that tells the story of the Super Session album and the new 5.1 Multichannel mix. The 5.1 mix by Al Kooper with mastering by Bob Ludwig was never released and yet it has acquired some fame from industry insiders familiar with the Multichannel mix with comments like "excellent" and "it deserves to be heard."The new mastering of the Stereo tracks for new SACD Stereo and CD Stereo audio are by mastering engineer Steve Hoffman.

Also purchase  ‘From His Head to His Heart to His Hands’ (3 CD/ 1 DVD) by Michael Bloomfield (2014) - Box set An Audio-Visual Scrapbook (2014); a Columbia Legacy career retrospective, produced by Al Kooper. Previously unissued live performances and a DVD that includes the documentary film Sweet Blues: A Film about Mike Bloomfield, the film premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October, 2013. –Available now on

Read Al Kooper’s excellent column ‘New Music for Old People’ on The Morton Report … Read Al’s column [HERE]
Al Kooper official website
Special thanks to Billy James of Glass Onyon PR

COMING UP NEXT … Keyboard extraordinaire Patrick Moraz (YES/The Moody Blues)… … Legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson (The Nice, Emerson, Lake & Palmer) … Don Wilsonguitarist, pioneer, and co-founder of ‘The Ventures.’ … Country Music’s shining new star -19 year old Mary Sarah … And Folk/Rock singer & songwriter Jonathan Edwards (“Sunshine”).

Contact music journalist Ray Shasho at

Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at   - Please support Ray by purchasing his book so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.
“Check the Gs is just a really cool story ... and it’s real. I’d like to see the kid on the front cover telling his story in a motion picture, TV sitcom or animated series. The characters in the story definitely jump out of the book and come to life. Very funny and scary moments throughout the story and I just love the way Ray timeline’s historical events during his lifetime. Ray’s love of rock music was evident throughout the book and it generates extra enthusiasm when I read his on-line classic rock music column. It’s a wonderful read for everyone!”    …  

COMING SOON… Ray’s exciting new book project entitled ... 

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