|Blood, Sweat & Tears
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- Blues-Part 2
I owned the original Album, and have downloaded the remastered "Greatest Hits" from Amazon, but one song in particular was missing from GH, and that is "Blues-Part 2". It was running in my head this morning, so I looked for it, and found it here. I am SO glad that I didn't have to download the entire album just to get this song, as Amazon so often does with the longer songs.
"Blues-Part 2" is a great number which I place in the Jazz category. Well worth the 99 cents....more info
- Powerful, Relaxing and Fulfilling
Unlike some of their later efforts, this one really sounds as though all the musicians were in it for the love of the music, and were enjoying themselves.
This album wreaks (in a nice way) of laid back jazz. Obviously, by the late 60's most jazz had taken a more rock based route than before. However that's not to say that bands like BS&T's and Chicago sold out at all, just that they were following the trend of evolution- one thing giving way to another.
This may be more rock based, but the Jazz soul is still shining in this music.
If you have enjoyed another of BS&T's album you should love this. If you've enjoyed another similar band like Chicago then once again this should be for you. And if you like 'proper' classic Jazz, I should say you'll enjoy this. If not, you can always write a disgusted review about how great classic jazz was in comparrason.
Anway, I'll say (or rather write) Toodle Pipskie (Is that how you spell it?) now- Toodle Pipskie...more info
- Just so absolutely fine
For me this was a real rediscovery, because I wasn't really listening to B, S & T back then, although I certainly recognised their major hit "Spinning Wheel", which is included in this absolutely wonderful album.
Starting of with French composer Eric Satie's "Gymnop¨¦dies", first introduced very much as written from the composers hand, but then `twisted' in a nice and imaginary way, with some great writing for horns, and I guess this is the key point to this album; they take other peoples compositions and turn them into their own, in a very personal and imaginary way. I would actually go so far as to say that they beat the originals, but of course this is a matter of taste.
To me there is no doubt; this is their finest moment, the most inspiring and soulful outlet of them all. This is also the first album with singer David Clayton-Thomas and what a singer. I think this is a great album the way through and what an eye-opener it must have been, completely new and fresh, and the best thing is; it still sounds fresh. The only little thing that I can criticize is the second last track called Blues-part 2. Is has a great and very interesting organ intro, which builds up to a climax where horns finally enter, but then right away cuts into a drum/bass groove, which is a bit of an anticlimax, and the rest of this song is virtually different ideas spliced together, contra a homogeneous composition. (this is one out of three compositions of their own hand, the other two being "Spinning Wheel" and "Sometimes in Winter"). But that cannot take anything away from this album as a whole, which is just full of great songs arranged in such an irresistible way. Check this out!!!
- The Best Album of Its Era
Just when everybody had pronounced the instruments of the big band era dead, this album came out.
Taking the group name from what had been Al Cooper's group, this album fused classical, big band and rock into a brand new mix.
What an interesting contrast: ruthlessly original derivative music. Nothing like this had come before, and we in the hippie generation were all a little at a loss. We're not supposed to like this stuff, are we??
Well, we did. God bless the child, all the way from Erik Satie to now - you made us so very happy....more info
- A marvelous discovery
I listened to this album for the first time when I was about twelve years old, and its music changed my tastes for always. It accustomed my ear to the feelings of the jazz, and caused that since then, I always looked for in the rock something more. Few groups have been able to revolutionize the rock, enriching it with sounds and new rates. B S & T is one of them, and this album one of its better exponents....more info
- B,S. & ....a musician's opinion......by Max
Blood, Sweat, and Tears "Greatest hits" album is very embedded in my memory. In 1969 I was 22 yrs. old. I had always played music since the fourth grade and when I heard this album when I was in the Army at that time.....It floored me. "You Made Me so Very Happy", undoubtedly was their most memorable song...what sweet minor seventh chords their keyboardist used! Also..."Spinning Wheel".....and "When I die"...closely follow suit. David Clayton/Thomas was certainly a good choice for vocal replacement of another member...Kooper. Even though other great groups as Chicago and Chase were competing with them, BS&T held their own!...more info
- A slight comedown from the debut but still very good
This album marked a transition for the horn infused rock band as the members gave the sack to founding member Al Kooper and with that took the band's sound away from the more bluesy tone of CHILD IS FATHER OF THE MAN and replaced that with a jazz feel. Clearly this was the correct move commercially as Kooper's replacement, raspy full-throated David Clayton-Thomas, led the charge to the pop charts landing them 3 solid hits from the album in "Spinning Wheel", Brenda Holloway cover "You've Made Me So Very Happy" and Laura Nyro's "And When I Die".
The opener from the band is "Variations on a Theme", a feather light adaptation of the 1st movement of Erik Satie's pastoral "Trois Gymnopedies" giving way to the phase-shifting blustery charging brass of the 2nd movement and nicely preparing you for the cover of Traffic's "Smiling Phases". Another reviewer rightly pegged "And When I Die" as the finest moment here and they're correct as the band incorporates elements of country, jazz, blues, and a touch of showtunes into a seamless whole that's more than the sum of its parts. Every transition feels natural. "Spinning Wheel" is a psych-tinged jazz-rock classic, playfully spinning children's tune "Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?" into its coda even as the carousel slowly breaks down into the denouement. Great stuff.
"Smiling Phases" is great in the neat, compact version heard as track 2. The live cut is a different story as the band attempts to show you their "chops" and instead careens wildly to and fro, losing all track of the melody in the process. This band was at its best when its jazziness was an inflection rather than attempts at improvisation and the bloat there only proves this is the case. Sprawl is also the problem with "Blues, Pt. 2" which only recovers about halfway through when vocalist Clayton-Thomas enters the picture but by then it's too late. Had this not been a letdown, the reprise of "Variations" might prove a masterstroke but it feels a bit anticlimactic to me in this context.
Still better than your average rock album. Worth owning and definitely one of their better efforts but I'd pick up CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN (ASIN B00004XSVL) first as it holds together better as a complete album and is an underrated treasure of the 60s.
3 1/2 stars...more info
I just received this CD and it really brought back memories.
Of course, back in the day I had the vinyl version of this album and loved it but I sold all my albums years ago and haven't heard this for at least 20 years.
Anyway, the digital remastering of this CD is first rate and the sound is excellent.
The original songs sound better than they ever did before.
The live "bonus" tracks are so-so, ranging from off-key noodling to nice renditions of songs on the album.
Overall, a landmark album that belongs in every collection....more info
- BS&T Fan
Outstanding remastering by Sony and essential for any R&R collection. This is one of the best, hands down....more info
- One of the great classic albums
What can you say? Every single song on this 1969 album is a classic, except for the sprawling "Blues--Part II". This was the first album to have three singles go gold in America ("You've Made Me So Very Happy", "Spinning Wheel", "And When I Die"). Founder/singer Al Kooper had left after BS&T's first album. The band rehearsed with Laura Nyro as singer for a while (she wrote "And When I Die"), before going with the strong voice of David Clayton-Thomas. The album has excellent production by James William Guercio, who was also a founder/producer of Chicago (while both bands played brassy jazz-rock, BS&T focused more on the jazz); he manages the unusual feat of giving all nine band members room to shine without cluttering up the sound. In addition to the hits, there are fantastic covers of Billie Holliday's "God Bless the Child" and Traffic's "Smiling Phases", and even a couple of permutations of Erik Satie's "Trois Gymnopedies". Guitarist Steve Katz wrote and sang the heartbroken ballad "Sometimes in Winter". While there is plenty of soloing, the solos are focused and don't overstay their welcome (again, this excludes "Blues--Part II).
This reissue includes some interesting liner notes on the making of the album, and a couple of live tracks recorded at New York's Caf¨¦ au Go-Go two months before the album was recorded. "More and More" comes off well. A 19-minute recording of "Smiling Phases" is horrific, though, with 5 minutes of random brass noodling to open it, an interminable electric piano solo, and ending with two full minutes of stage announcements from a half-awake theater employee. Less would have been more.
(1=poor 2=mediocre 3=pretty good 4=very good 5=phenomenal)
- The invention of rock Muzak
As one of the 5-star reviewers notes, this album was released in 1969 - a time when the rock & brass sound had become the big thing (coming out of a few Beatles experiments from "Revolver" on). Electric Flag, Paul Butterfield, Ten Wheel Drive, Chicago (Transit Authority), Sons of Champlin, who knows what else - and this band. BS&T was Al Kooper's creation; at the time, he was still shining in the light of the Blues Project and Super Session/Live Adventures. But someone (or some folks) saw more commercial potential in the band, and so Kooper got bumped from his own band (joining the Jack Ely Association), and David Clayton-Thomas took over the vocals. A few other personnel changes, a selection of popular songs and the Satie arrangments, and Steve Katz's "Sometimes in Winter."
So, what's not to like with this hugely successful and influential album? It is slick, slick, slick. Impressive arrangements, great playing - and those vocals, which I do not believe have worn well. A belting, almost bellowing sound that performs, but does not interpret with conviction: right emphases, wrong feeling. Everything is homogenized into that big band rock sound; a soul machine with no style. Can one really compare any of these with the originals and take these cover versions seriously?
Katz's song, like so much of the Kooper BS&T material and Blues Project, is straightforward and at least a reasonable evolution of Katz's earlier material. His and Kooper's vocals are idiosyncratic, to be sure; perhaps they are/were too '60s for the pre-disco era. But the scrappiness of the Kooper BS&T is what made that band interesting (especially as an evolution of HIS style). The Clayton-Thomas BS&T got label support and produced some hits and a few more good arrangements - and broke into little pieces. But the "smooth sound of adult radio" that it inflicted would wash over what had been a music from the gut and heart as well as the mind for some time.
3 stars for historic importance; 2 stars off for misplaced priorities and dubious taste....more info
- Blood Sweat & Tears - Timeless Entertainment
Years earlier, I had a cassette tape of this album and loved every cut of it. Recently, I purchased the updated, remastered CD and relived the enjoyment once again but in an updated format that really brings out the music like never before. The instrumentation and lyrics combine in a crisp blend of rock, jazz and even classical music and the strong voice of lead singer David Clayton Thomas completes the production with beautiful results. If you like contemporary rock music with a strong brass section (like Chicago, for example), you can't go wrong with this album....more info
- The Best!
I've been a fan of BS&T since their inception! A walk down memory lane!
Reproduction of original recordings are decent quality!...more info
- Merger of musical sensibilities worked well in its time...
I bought this LP in the fall of '69, not long after getting out of the Army. The hit single "And When I Die" made me do it, although it was the third single from the record released that year. I liked it then, and I like it now. BS&T combined classical, jazz, rhythm and blues and rock when the nine guys got going, but I always felt the jazz/soul elements were strongest. Does every minute of the original LP hold up, 35 years later? Of course not. Does most of it? Yes. David Clayton-Thomas is still a fascinating singer, and "Sometimes in Winter" remains a haunting jazz ballad sung perfectly by Steve Katz. The bonus tracks, two live and lengthy renditions of songs later put on this record in briefer form, give a good idea of how exciting it was to watch these guys play live. I got that privilege in late '69 or early 1970, when BS&T headlined at Madison Square Garden. The opening act was the legendary Miles Davis, but he was in his fusion phase and hardly acknowledged the audience. I barely remember his segment, although I honor his talent and own a dozen of his albums. BS&T was the excitement for that crowd, and Clayton-Thomas especially knocked us out. I don't think I can really explain why this group's work hooked more than three million of us who bought this LP. It had something to do with the rise of album-oriented FM radio, and the Vietnam War losing favor with the citizens, and the Civil Rights movement, and the deaths of JFK, Malcolm,
Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Rock was maturing, jazz was changing, roots music had already been discovered. BS&T played a lot of stuff that was not original with them, even "old" compositions, yet made them sound totally fresh. The group never had a better year than '69, when America was going through a pretty bad time politically and socially. Those of us depressed about the direction of the country and worried about how to fix things could find diversion and comfort in this album. Anyone who likes more than one kind of music, and has respect for good playing, should give 69 minutes of listening time to this famous production. If you've never been exposed to BS&T, using earphones might enhance that experience....more info
- You have made me...so very happy!
With the departure of lead singer Al Kooper, Blood Sweat & Tears inducted David Clayton-Thomas as a replacement, which was fortuitous for him, as he presided over what was BS&T's masterpiece album of 1969. This album topped the charts, garnered the Best Album Grammy and it's not difficult to see why. BS&T's fusion of funk, rock, and jazz signalled an innovation in music from the guitar-dominated rock of the early to mid-60's. The horns, bass, and piano prevalent in jazz music add much to a blues-based rock sound that had emerged with the British-led blues revival of the 60's.
The album itself begins with lilting and reflective flute melodies of atonal composer Erik Satie's "Trois Gymnopedies" of which BS&T do variations on a theme based on the first two movements, the latter which has the horns kicking in. The variation on the first movement also closes the album, not including the bonus tracks.
BS&T do quite a few cover songs, and they add horns and a funky beat to the psychedelic organ of Traffic's "Smiling Phases," originally on their Mr. Fantasy album. Those inclined will be "amazed at the gaze on their faces."
The relaxed and lyrically introspective remembrances in "Sometimes In Winter" includes organs, a burst of horns at an orchestral level, which is mixed with yearning for "memories in a spring that never came," a remarkable contrast to the strong horn attack, intense organ, and gritty and belting blues vocals of the rocking "More And More."
The next four songs comprise the majestic centerpiece of this classic album, as three of the four became hit singles. "And When I Die" is a cover of a Laura Nyro song from her first album More Than a New Discovery, beginning as it does with a harmonica, then thrusting into a summery skipping soul/country beat with vocals tempo to match. Despite the title, it has an upbeat outlook: "and when I die, and when I'm gone, there'll be one child born in this world to carry on" and the figuring out of if there's a heaven by dying. The wishes of a just life is given in "all I ask of living is to have no chains on me." The cover of the Billie Holliday standard "God Bless The Child" incorporates 60's-style organs with the blast of horns and is a welcome interpretation. And then, "what goes up, must come down." Given their career afterwards, those opening words in "Spinning Wheel," the song most associated with the group, seems ironic. The song itself is replete with the funky beat, horns, distorted vocals, and the finale, which features a flute solo incorporating the nursery ditty "My Little Augustine" and a carnival-like swirl of noises. Dr. Farrell played "Spinning Wheel" in our jazz/rock/blues class to demonstrate the jazz/rock sound incorporated by them and Chicago. Finally comes their cover of Brenda Holloway's "You've Made Me So Very Happy," which has been covered by the likes of Honeycone and Gloria Estefan. Clayton-Thomas's gravelly voice belies the soul roots of this song, but it's the rich horn flourishes that give this rendition that extra punch.
"Blues Part II" is a lengthy jam incorporating an organ solo that's space age, (an influence on Philip Glass on the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack, perhaps?) other times baroque, before it gives way to a meandering bass solo, a masterful sax reminding the listener of the group's jazz influences, but with the backing bass and drums signalling the rock influence. And then, I hear the bass plucking out a familiar melody, before the crashing horns repeat it. Yes, it's Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love." Finally, Clayton-Thomas belts out some vocals for a final touch.
As for the bonus tracks, live versions of "More And More" and "Smiling Phases," the latter has a beginning the swirl of horns doing their thing, warming up per a classical concert for nearly five and a half minutes before the organ and vocals kick in, but also including a lengthy organ and later bass jam.
A pity they peaked early, leaving only this masterpiece album behind, following it up with releases that didn't measure up. All in all, this CD, a birthday present from Eric Andrews, has made me so very happy....more info
- Nothing more perfect and lovely
This, while it was a hit, is one of the most underrated, entertaining and grand album. From the smoothly beautful sounds of Variations, to the brooding Blues pt. II. The sound on this CD are classic. The lead singer has the soul of Joe Cocker and the delivery of Steve Winwood. The other singer has the hippy sensibilities of the 60's singing on the gorgeous classic Sometimes in Winter. It can't get any better when you hear amazing music like this, and you are automatically sucked into them. You can tell this album is destined for greatness, one way or another. It's amazingly brilliant....more info
- Another end-of-the-sixties classic
A person listening to this album for the first time might wonder if it was mispackaged - as it starts off with a minute or so of a flute-based version of "Variations on a Theme..." with no indication of the rich and thick sound to unfold in in about 90 seconds, then - bam! - you're there.
BS&T as a group shares some of the same elements as another end-of-the sixties classic album, Chicago Transit Authority, by having a large number of band members, with a horn section and bluesy, jazzy rich sound. However, the sum of the parts produces a different outcome for each band.
There some covers on this album ("Smiling Phases", "God Bless The Child", "And When I Die", "You've Made Me So Very Happy") and I believe they surpass the originals in every case.
I like "More and More" a lot, so the extra track of it is indeed a bonus. However, the expanded "Smiling Phases" is no match for the shorter version, though it's still interesting on its own.
This album is the second from the band, after kicking out founder Al Kooper and replacing him with David Clayton-Thomas who has a deeper richer sound.
It's an indispensible representation of the end of the sixties, but you also have to get the first BS&T album, "Child Is Father To The Man", which has a different slant and is no less impressive. ...more info