Tag Archives: Steve Katz

Steve Katz

Steve Katz

Happy birthday

Sometimes In Winter”  Nanuet (NY) Public Library June 7, 2015

steve katz from his site

Steve Katz was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 9, 1945. His music career began in in the late 50s when he appeared on a local Schenectady, New York television program called Teenage Barn. Accompanied by piano, Steve sang hits of the day such as “Tammy” and “April Love."

Like so many young musicians of the early 60s, Steve Katz gravitated to Greenwich Village. There he listened to and played with others such as Dave Van Ronk ("The Mayor of MacDougal Street"), Stefan Grossman, Maria D'Amato (to be Maria Muldaur), David Grisman, and John Sebastian. With a number of those and others, he would become part of the Even Dozen Jug Band (Wikipedia entry) which released on album. A guitarist among many guitarists, Katz played washboard.
           Next came the Danny Kalb Quartet. Still not confident enough as a guitar player, he kept his amp turned down low for the audition and passed. Soon Al Kooper joined the band and it became Blues Project.

           It was the music of Blues Project that I first heard Katz. I had never heard music like that or an album, Projections, like that. It was so different than anything I'd heard, it sometimes confused me. Yes rock and roll. No, not rock and roll. It was also likely the first time I'd heard electric blues, albeit, white electric blues. "Caress me baby...you can make love to me like the soft summer breeze." More than just hair-raising music. ("There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear" spoke to much more than just some Sunset Blvd event.)

           The next thing I knew, Blue Project had become Blood, Sweat and Tears and Child is Father to the Man became another album that I couldn't stop listening to and often wondering what the hell I was listening to.

           Even without Al Kooper for BST's second album, Katz was there and all was fine. Not so much blues, but all that jazzy brass opened up new doors for my ears.

Steve Katz

           And then things faded. Certainly Steve was still around, but I could't seem to find his oasis. 

           His path occasionally crossed with Kooper's, but Katz found himself as an engineer and producer. One of the most famous albums he produded was Lou Reed's Rock N' Roll Animal. A secret Katz recently revealed in his autobiography, Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?was that the great audience sound on that album was not from the Reed show. Technical issues resulted in a poor quality sound for the audience, so Katz "borrowed" an audience sound from another RCA record artist: John Denver.  Apparently Reed died never knowing.

           You will see Steve Katz's name all over rock and roll:
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • McKendree Spring
  • Dion
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Elliot Murphy
  • Horselips
  • David Sanborn
  • Quincy Jones
  • Carol King
  • Stephen Bishop
  • Jon Anderson
  • Jaco Pastorius
  • Donovan
  • The Who
  • Danny Kalb
  • George Harrison

Steve Katz

           Steve Katz continues to play music and promote his wife Alison Palmer's ceramic art. According to his site, "As time passed, Alison’s craft achieved popularity and recognition. Alison and Steve soon found that they had a thriving small business. Steve still performs [and]...is a professional photographer...."
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Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Released February 21, 1968

That crazy and wondrous overture!

The Beatles and Dylan kept changing the equation. In 1967 Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band said, Do what you want. Segue songs together. Put lyrics on the album. Add sounds. Add more instrumentation. Or not.
Al Kooper was there when Dylan went electric. Kooper accidentally added the iconic organ on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."  It was Kooper and Steve Katz's underground masterpiece Projections with the Blues Project that got people searching for more when they left the Project. Where had they gone?
Blood, Sweat and Tears was where they'd gone and had given birth to...

Child Is Father to the Man

Rolling Stone magazine's review said "This album is unique. More precisely, it is the first of its kind — a music that takes elements of rock, jazz, straight blues, R&B, classical music and almost anything else you could mention and combines them into a sound of its own that is "popular" without being the least bit watered down."  (full review >>> Rolling Stone magazine article)
The All Music site states: "This is one of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late '60s, a time when you could borrow styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mix them into what seemed to have the potential to become a new American musical form."
Child Is Father to the Man
back cover
The whole band was:
  • Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Bobby Colomby – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Jim Fielder – bass guitar, fretless bass guitar
  • Dick Halligan – trombone
  • Steve Katz – guitar, lute, vocals
  • Al Kooper – organ, piano, ondioline, vocals
  • Fred Lipsius – piano, alto saxophone
  • Jerry Weiss – trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
And though Al Kooper wrote most of the songs, he had a great ear from whom to cover:
  1. “Overture” (Kooper) – 1:32…I don’t know about you, but even the Beatles hadn’t done something as crazy sounding (to that point) as that loony laughing at the end of the Overture.
  2. “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (Kooper) – 5:57…How sweet this was. To this adolescent’s innocent ears (I’ll admit it), the passion behind Kooper’s voice was so cool. And those horns! “I could be President of General Motors!”
  3. “Morning Glory” (Larry Beckett, Tim Buckley) – 4:16...a nice segue into this song. “I lit my purest candle…”
  4. “My Days Are Numbered” (Kooper) – 3:19…more of those horns. I’d never heard (remember those innocent ears) horns used with such strength.
  5. “Without Her” (Harry Nilsson) – 2:41…This was the first time I heard Nilsson and “Without Her.” I’d come to love his version more, but at that moment, such a cool beat.
  6. “Just One Smile” (Randy Newman) – 4:38…Didn’t realize that a Randy Newman song could have such strength! And side one ends after over 22 minutes. About how long some entire albums were. Getting my money’s worth.
  7. “I Can’t Quit Her” (Kooper, Irwin Levine) – 3:38...cool guitar, bumping bass, and more cool horns. I could get used to this.
  8. “Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes” (Steve Katz) – 3:24…I loved the Blues Project’s “Flute Thing” and this had that same feel for me. Gurgling vocals. Neat.
  9. “Somethin’ Goin’ On” (Kooper) – 8:00…Eight minutes. Very nice. This is not American Bandstand.
  10. “House in the Country” (Kooper) – 3:04…I was a straight suburban kid who loved the country (part of Woodstock’s appeal) and this song with all its sound effects was another reason that I knew I was headed in the right direction. Who was that kid? 
  11. “The Modern Adventures of Plato, Diogenes and Freud” (Kooper) – 4:12…Taking a break.
  12. “So Much Love”/”Underture” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 4:47...I’d heard of the term Overture. Never Underture. One hell of a way to split after over 49 minutes of amazing music.
Happy anniversary Child Is Father To the Man
And here's a vinyl rip of the entire album via YouTube. The slight sound of background clicks and pops brings back a lot of memories. Enjoy.

Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

Child Is Father To the Man

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