The third week’s entry in Monday Magick’s month-long tribute to “Season of the Witch” comes via an epic voodoo-Funk rework of the tune courtesy of Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Steve Stills. It comes from their 1968 “all-star jam” album ‘Super Session’ and takes the shape of a nearly 10 minute long extended “jam” take on the song.
Initially meant to be a collaborative jam session featuring Bloomfield (of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Bob Dylan fame) and Kooper (again, known for backing Dylan, as well as forming Blood Sweat & Tears), the session soon grew to include Stills (who had just left Buffalo Springfield) after Bloomfield failed to show for the second day of recording. That said, the lengthy and languid version of “Season of the Witch” that appears on the album could probably more fairly be billed as a Kooper, Stills track. The song’s uniquely funky groove, serpentine bassline, shuffly drum break, and churchified organs have provided sample fodder for a number of notable Hip-Hop tunes, including one where A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip raps about having anal intercourse with a woman already engaged in copulation with Black Sheep’s Mr. Lawnge. What? Orgy raps? Could we be talking a little sex magick here?
I doubt that. But regardless, this remains one of my personal favorite cover versions of a widely covered tune, cut in a unique style, by an amazing group of musicians. Kooper is still around, recounting storied legends from the golden age of popular music where and when ever he can. Stills, as you may know, went on to form another supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, which had a huge amount of success during the post-Hippy era. Sadly, Bloomfield passed away from a drug overdose in 1981.
Music is magick!