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Blood Sweat & Tears - No Sweat CD (album) cover

NO SWEAT

Blood Sweat & Tears

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.14 | 9 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars No tears

"No sweat" was the second album recorded after the departure of vocalist David Clayton-Thomas. Replacement singer Jerry Fisher is certainly an accomplished replacement, but his voice lacks the unique character of Clayton-Thomas. This, when combined with the rather ordinary nature of the actual material makes for a good but undistinguished album.

The music here has the prosaic appeal of any number of US bands who were ploughing the same field. "Save our ship" for example is an anthem with a strong hook and a big sounding arrangement, but it is entirely anonymous. With Dick Halligan, who was responsible for many of the fine arrangements on previous albums, also no longer being in the line up, it is perhaps understandable that the gap in this department should have proved difficult to adequately fill. Likewise, "Almost sorry" is an upbeat, slightly funky piece, but it could just as easily have appeared on a Three Dog Night album (or indeed one by unjustly forgotten jazz rock soul mates Lighthouse), such is the similarity in approach. Admittedly, as the track progresses, it develops well into a fully fledged jam with wailing horns and some fine woodwind.

Gone too since the "New blood" album is Steve Katz, one of the band's principal songwriters. They therefore go back to plan A, filling the album with a significant number of covers and interpretations of other peoples' songs. When the band revert to instrumentals such as "Django (An excerpt)" and "Song for John", there are clear reminders of the type of material which appeared on the Clayton-Thomas era albums.

Side two of the album continues with the TDN sound, "Back up against the wall" even incorporating their trademark harmonies. It does however also have some fine guitar work, and some superb brass blasts. "My old lady" has a distinctly southern drawl, the orchestration colouring what is essentially a soft rock sing-a-long. Following what was becoming something of a band tradition, another Traffic/Steve Winwood song is given the brass rock treatment, "Empty pages" certainly being invigorated by this interpretation. Indeed, this track is one of the high points of the album; it should be heard by anyone who knows and loves the original.

The album closes with another largely instrumental jam "Inner crisis" which stands as one of the most progressively structured tracks by the band, complete with moog runs and clavinet solos.

In all, an enjoyable album with many fine performances. Without wishing to labour the Clayton-Thomas absence too much, there is a certain anonymity to some of the tracks here, the album as a whole not really sounding like a fully fledged BS&T offering.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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