The Blues Project “Projections”

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.

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“I Can’t Keep From Crying, Sometimes”

:D CD Reissue | 2011 | Sundazed | buy from sundazed ]
:) LP Reissue | 2011 | Sundazed | buy from sundazed ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1966 | Verve | search ebay ]

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  • More great stuff that I hadn’t heard before. Thanks!

  • Sharon Jenkins

    Trying to find the link between Blues Project and The Todd Wolfe Blues Project, if there is a connection…they sound the same and of course both have blues Project in the name…

  • Bill

    I know about (and have) the CD Anthology for the Blues Project, but why is the Projections album not available on CD? Yes, I know that there was a Verve CD released about 22 years ago, but evidently it’s no longer available new. Why is that, does anybody know? Is there some dispute about ownership of the album or the songs? I know that there was quite a lot of upheaval and that at least one member of the band had mental problems, but there seems to be continuing interest, even nearly 50 years later, in this band and their best album. So what’s the problem with releasing a new CD?

  • Sharon

    I have everyhing they did on CD …Rhino I believe did some…and go to F.Y.E. (old Tower Records) and they have a computer that you pick out sons or groups you want made and they do it..cost depends on how much space you take on the has about 80 minutes…I have gotten several old things like Firesign Theatre..the thing is not everything is on their computer to get…I was looking for a Frank Sinatra for a friend and they didn’t have it..(so it is like contracts with artists to publish print music I guess)…I see what you mean but I did get Projections alone probably at Rhino…

  • Zephyrbiscuit

    Tommy Flanders is best known as the original lead singer of the Blues Project, appearing on their first single and their 1966 debut album, Live at the Cafe Au-Go-Go.

    everybody should check out Tommy Flanders’ solo album “The Moonstone”

  • sharon jenkis

    Blues Project is one of the best 10 groups in the world…in my opinion …would go just about anywhere to see them.

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