Blood, Sweat, and My Rock n' Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?

Steve Katz. Lyons, $26.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-4930-9999-3
Legendary guitarist Katz is—or at least was—definitely a rock star: a pioneer of the blues-rock genre with his early 1960s band, the Blues Project; a founder in the late 1960s of the groundbreaking and hugely popular jazz-rock big band Blood, Sweat & Tears; and the producer of Lou Reed's best-selling and still-influential live LP Rock ‘n' Roll Animal (as well as its follow-up Sally Can't Dance, Reed's only top-10 album). Katz engagingly recounts fascinating stories in an insightful, intelligent, sometimes wistful and sometimes funny style that makes this one of the few rock memoirs worth reading from beginning to end. Highlights include his early days getting lessons from blues guitar genius Rev. Gary Davis in a "little clapboard shanty" in the South Bronx; the birth of Blood, Sweat & Tears despite Katz's contentious relationship with co-founder and Dylan collaborator Al Kooper ("Al never liked my guitar playing and I never liked his voice"); the phenomenal success—with Kooper's replacement singer, David Clayton-Thomas—of BS&T's second self-titled LP with hits such as "Spinning Wheel"; and later, "David's transformation from soul singer to slinger of schmaltz." Katz also reveals that the audience sound on Reed's live LP was lost and then replaced by the audience track from a John Denver live LP, a priceless story for all Reed fans or detractors. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
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