The Katz Tapes Blog

Al Kooper (1995)

Al Kooper (1995)

“I was pretty much robbed all my life….” The big bucks versions of “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966,” the latest entry in the Bob Dylan bootleg series (note: not actual bootlegs), includes a 20-track disc...

Curtis Mayfield (1996)

Curtis Mayfield (1996)

“It isn’t every day a 54-year-old quadriplegic records a record….”   There are comeback stories. And then there’s Curtis Mayfield’s comeback story. In mid-August, 1990, he was about to perform at an outdoor concert...

Mose Allison (1994)

Mose Allison (1994)

“One of my first public appearances was at a talent contest. I sang and played Fats Waller’s ‘fododo-de-yacka-saki want some seafood mama.’ I could just see the teacher saying, “This boy is going straight...

Nina Simone (1992)

Nina Simone (1992)

  “I don’t think I’m difficult. Not at all.”     The prospect of interviewing Nina Simone was thrilling. And slightly terrifying.

Mighty Sam McClain (1998)

Mighty Sam McClain (1998)

 In memoriam: Mighty Sam McClain (1943-2015) “I came from eating out of garbage cans. So if I died tomorrow, I did good.”   Mighty Sam McClain wrote a song summing up his old friends’...

My Dinner With Ornette

My Dinner With Ornette

“I’m interested in bringing instant enlightenment.”             I met Ornette Coleman for dinner on a late fall evening in a fashionable restaurant in downtown Boston. He was in town...

B.B. King (1980)

B.B. King (1980)

  “A guy comes out of the gumbo, he likes to walk on concrete awhile.”   October 14, 1980 Lippman House, Harvard University, Cambridge    When B.B. King came to Harvard University, it was...

Lee Mitchell

Lee Mitchell

  “Lo and behold, Al Green came out with ‘I’m So Tired of Being Alone’….Those songs I was supposed to sing….I just knew that it would have been a successful thing for me.”  ...

Ben E. King (1987)

Ben E. King (1987)

“I’ve come to accept that ‘Stand By Me’ is my secret key to survival…” In early 1987 Ben E. King – who died April 30 at 76 – was enjoying an entirely unexpected return...

Burt Bacharach (and Elvis Costello, Part 2)

Burt Bacharach (and Elvis Costello, Part 2)

  “No one has to push me to be complex.”     If there has been a musical menage à trois more sublime and more successful than that of composer Burt Bacharach, lyricist Hal...