Saturday, November 04, 2006

140. Blood, Sweat & Tears - Blood Sweat & Tears (1969)

Track Listing

1. Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie
2. Smiling Phases
3. Sometimes In Winter
4. More And More
5. And When I Die
6. God Bless The Child
7. Spinning Wheel
8. You've Made Me So Very Happy
9. Blues
10. Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie (2)


This is not a very cool band, particularly due to later failures, including getting a tour sponsored by Nixon... yeah, that's uncool. But, that said, this is a great album, and frankly you don't really need anything else by this band. There are a lot of elements here that wouldn't have appealed to the flower generation, like the extended use of brass orchestration as well as the very loungy jazz elements. But it ends up being a beautiful album.

Of course there is some pretentiousness here, like the variations on the Gymnopedies by Satie, which while on of my favourite pieces of music are a bit tacked on here for pretentiousness' sake. The same could be said of the extended Blues variation, but even in these two examples they manage to pull it off quite successfully, and when a tribute to Cream's kicks in some 7 minutes into the Sunshine of Your Love Blues variation you can't help but smile.

And then there's the cover of God Bless The Child, which again triumphs in an unlikely way. And of course you have the big hits, particularly in the superb Spinning Wheel. Blood Sweat & Tears would only go downhill from here, and spectacularly into new realms of crap. But here they are great, great fun and great energy. So stream it from Napster or buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Spinning Wheel
2. Smiling Phases
3. God Bless The Child
4. More And More

Final Grade



Them at Woodstock with More And More:

From Wikipedia:

Colomby and Katz started recruiting singers, considering the still unknown Stephen Stills and Laura Nyro before settling on David Clayton-Thomas, a Canadian singer. Chuck Winfield, Lew Soloff and Jerry Hyman joined soon after to bring the band up to nine total members. Blood, Sweat & Tears, the group's second, self-titled album, was produced by James William Guercio and released in 1969. The album was much more pop-oriented, featuring decidedly fewer compositions from within the band. It quickly hit the top of the charts and won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. It spawned three major hit singles: a cover of Brenda Holloway's "You've Made Me So Very Happy", Clayton-Thomas' "Spinning Wheel", and a version of Nyro's "And When I Die".

Because of the presence of horns and the lack of Al Kooper, Blood, Sweat & Tears had trouble holding onto any sort of countercultural hipness at a time when this was very important. This was compounded by a United States Department of State-sponsored tour of Eastern Europe. Any voluntary association with the government was extremely unpopular at the time, and the band was ridiculed for it. In retrospect, it is now known that the State Department subtly requested the tour in exchange for more amicability on the issue of Clayton-Thomas' visa.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd never seen footage of B,S&T at Woodstock before. It was fun to watch, and I agree with your assessment of the LP. And the band. This LP did get a bit of underground FM airplay in '69.

Thanks for the fun...