From His Head To His Heart To His Hands – Michael Bloomfield

Legacy/Columbia has released a monumental blues box set,  Michael Bloomfield‘s From His Head To His Heart To His Hands. It is a gem on so many levels graphics design, culled recordings, rare photos ,extensive liner notes, plus a brilliant documentary. I predict that this box set will be a Grammy Award Nominee for 2014 for design excellence.

The audio/visual scrapbook of 3 Audio CDs and 1 DVD, Sweet Blues: A Film About Mike Bloomfield is a product of devout collaboration by Al Kooper and Bob Sarles, film director . Al Kooper spent 18 months crafting the audio recordings with reverence and precision. I love the creative synergy that exists between and around Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield.

As far as I can recall, Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” was TOTALLY in the can when we played Newport. We reconvened after Newport to rehearse for Dylan’s Forest Hills and Hollywood Bowl concerts, but that was with Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Harvey Brooks and myself. Bloomfield had gone back to Chicago.

Also I did NOT remix any Flag stuff. I remastered the entire album but as you know that excludes remixing. The digital tools used in remastering are quite mighty, however.Anything I edited out on the box was done to draw more attention to Michael. I didn’t need/want the long organ solos in our “Modal” songs as they weren’t comparatively up to Bloomers solos and I wanted the attention paid to Michael. Same with the Strazza edit on “Killing Floor” – these were editorial decisions and I stand behind them. It’s NOT an Electric Flag box.

The other editing I did was simply to keep the ball rolling. The whole point of the box was to educate folks about Michael. Though I was a participant in many of the performances presented, I didn’t exempt myself from the razor blade, so I don’t feel that I used the situation to better myself. As you pointed out, the organ WAS softer on “Like a Rolling Stone,” primarily so that others could finally be heard.  – Al Kooper


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