Category: Blood, Sweat & Tears

Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears

ARTIST: Blood, Sweat & Tears     220px-bst_cover

TITLE:  Blood, Sweat & Tears

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #15 UK

SINGLES: You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (#2 US, #35 UK), Spinning Wheel (#2 US), And When I Die (#2 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: God Bless the Child

LINEUP: David Clayton-Thomas, Lew Soloff, Bobby Colomby, Jim Fielder, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz, Fred Lipsius, Chuck Winfield, Jerry Hyman. Alan Rubin on one track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Re-constituted band ditches a lot of the more outre jazz elements and adds in more rock and pop to garner hit records.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Al Kooper jumped or was pushed (I think the latter) and two other players left, and the ‘new’ Blood, Sweat & Tears debuted as more of a rock band with horns than anything. Sure they extended to some classical (with a piece by Erik Satie), and in “Blues, Pt.2” they really went out on a limb and bored everyone for 11 minutes.

Aside from those, you know the singles, and probably “God Bless the Child”. Their best attempt, I believe, is a version of Traffic’s “Smiling Phases” which showcases everyone without becoming bloated. Their “God Bless the Child” goes into a completely awkward direction halfway through.

This was more popular sure, but not better than the Kooper-led debut.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This reached #1 in the album chart three times during 1969.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple of live cuts.

GRADE: B-: When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s bad, it’s boring or overblown. Time to pick and choose your poisons.

Blood, Sweat & Tears – Child Is the Father to Man

ARTIST: Blood, Sweat & Tears          220px-Blood,Sweat&TearsChildIsFathertotheMan

TITLE:  Child Is the Father to Man

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #47

SINGLES: I Can’t Quit Her

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Morning Glory

LINEUP: Al Kooper, Randy Brecker, Bobby Colomby, Jim Fielder, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz, Fred Lipsius, Jerry Weiss.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jazz / blues / rock fusion project dreamed up by Kooper released their first album to acclaim, and underground FM radio loved it. It didn’t sell, though.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Al Kooper loved jazz, loved the blues, and loved rock. He also loved the idea of melding rock to a horn section, like jazz, soul and blues. So he put together this hybrid and released this album, which melds jazz, classical into rock and folk without compromising either.

Listening to this now, you kind of wonder why and how this was so revolutionary of a concept, since Chicago and later BS&T did much the same and now, genre mixing isn’t so rare. But this arguably was the first, and one of the best, fusions that kept the rock base.

Kooper was the songwriter and visionary, and this may be the best album he put together. I don’t think it’s a perfect album – there’s a bit too much noodling on some songs (which can happen with jazzy types). But it’s really strong and innovative with the elements all coming together on most tracks.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Soon after this album was released and didn’t sell – some in the band thought they needed a stronger vocalist. Kooper didn’t think so, so he left or was fired from his own vision.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, demo cuts and an outtake.

GRADE: A-: Not a hit, but a trailblazing album.