Al Kooper: A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood’s End


APRIL 1972 (40 YEARS AGO)
Al Kooper: A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood’s End is released
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# allmusic 3/5
A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood’s End is Al Kooper’s fifth album, released by Columbia Records in April, 1972.
Begun with a vague storyline that failed to survive beyond the two title tracks, the album was recorded in London, England at George Martin’s AIR Studios with one outtake from New York City (You’re A Woman). Six original tracks were surrounded were covers by Bob Dylan (“The Man in Me”, which Kooper had originally produced), Smokey Robinson (“Swept For You Baby”) and even Jimmy Cliff (“Please Tell Me Why”).
The album cover showed Kooper as an eighty-year-old man, bespectacled and clutching a Fender Jaguar guitar.
from alkooper.com
Another Los Angeles/London hybrid, this one is the first to bear many synthesizers. The only Los Angeles track is Swept For You Baby, a Smokey Robinson cover. The title track is a wonderment of what the rockstars will be like when they’re eighty years old. English engineer John Punter does the narration in the beginning of the album. A Dylan song is covered (albeit in falsetto),a Curtis Mayfield song as well, and a Jimmy Cliff obscurity (Please Tell Me Why). All the rest are Al songs. Love Trap was written right at Marvin Gaye; Fly On right at The Four Tops. Someday I hope Mavis Staples records Childhood’s End. Let Your Love Shine is a nod to After The Gold Rush era Neil Young. Because of the synths, a strangely cold album, in hindsight.
REVIEW
by Bruce Eder, allmusic
As with virtually everything he’s ever released, Al Kooper’s A Possible Projection of the Future/Childhood’s End is superbly produced — it also sounds a bit different from his other early solo albums, having been recorded mostly in London rather than in New York City. Musically, it’s a tiny bit more shaky than one is accustomed to, at least for the first track. Then he slips into a soul groove that is still one of the most extraordinary sounds you’ll ever hear from any white artist. Whether he’s doing an original song or covering Curtis Mayfield (“The Monkey Time”), Smokey Robinson (“Swept for You Baby”), or Bob Dylan (“The Man in Me”), Kooper is a figure transformed and transcendent through most of this album, delivering an achingly poignant and charismatic performance. The opening number is the only weak moment on the album, a cold, mechanical number that doesn’t fit with anything else here, but beyond that everything is essential listening.
TRACKS:
All tracks composed by Al Kooper; except where indicated
“A Possible Projection of the Future” – 6:29
“The Man in Me” (Bob Dylan) – 3:42
“Fly On” – 3:15
“Please Tell Me Why” (Gully Bright, Jimmy Cliff) – 4:40
“The Monkey Time” (Curtis Mayfield) – 3:20
“Let Your Love Shine” – 4:04
“Swept For You Baby” (Smokey Robinson) – 3:32
“Bended Knees (Please Don’t Leave Me Now)” – 3:40
“Love Trap” – 4:04
“Childhood’s End” – 3:33
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