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Blood Sweat & Tears - Brand New Day CD (album) cover

BRAND NEW DAY

Blood Sweat & Tears

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.51 | 7 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Music to watch girls by

With many of his mates from the early years of the band gone, David Clayton-Thomas was nevertheless firmly back in the fold on this his third album since rejoining Blood Sweat and Tears. Interestingly, ever present member Bobby Colomby takes the opportunity on the sleeve to name check many of the past members, including Al Kooper, Steve Katz and Dick Halligan.

Clayton-Thomas tends to dominate the proceedings here, most of the tracks being very vocal, with little space for arranged instrumentation, let alone improvisation.

The familiar brass blasts which identify the band are instantly with us on the funky opener "Somebody I trusted". (Incidentally, do not trust the label of the UK LP release which titles this track "Put out the light", and also misnames track 4 as "Lady put the light out"!). The song had previously appeared on Three Dog Night's "Hard labor" album, perhaps emphasising how BS&T had moved in the direction of that band. The funky nature of the album is emphasised by the presence of Chaka Khan on the following track, but ironically the song is a bluesy ballad, calling far more on her harmonic skills.

"Same old blues" has a Stevie Wonder feel, perhaps with echoes of "Superstition". By the time of "Lady put the light out", a pattern of up-tempo song then ballad is definitely in evidence. Here though, Clayton-Thomas is moving just a little too far in the crooner direction for comfort though.

Side two of the album consists of just four tracks, but they are arguably the more interesting. Randy Edelman's "Blue street" (from his legendary "Farewell Fairbanks" album) is given a sympathetic yet emotional treatment, with Clayton-Thomas rising to the challenge of the climactic ending. Tony Klatka's "Gimme that wine" has the feel of a Dr Hook reject, telling the tale of marital disharmony caused by the demon drink.

"Rock and roll queen" is subtitled "A tribute to Janis Joplin", the ill-fated blues legend of the late 1960's/early 70's. The song starts out as a sad refrain, but quickly develops into an up-tempo bluesy yet soulful rock piece. A definite highlight of the album. On the closing "Don't explain", Clayton-Thomas is in danger of sounding like Andy Williams, such is the emphasis placed on the crooning and schmaltzy orchestration.

While there's nothing overtly bad or even poor about "Brand new day", it lacks the excitement and energy of the band's early work. It is perhaps just a little too tight and sanitised, with perfunctory performances of adequate songs. The prog influences which had sustained the band in their early years are all but gone, replaced by funky pop and straightforward ballads.

Perhaps coincidentally, the sleeve has cutaway corners similar to the Traffic albums "shootout.." and "Low spark..". BS&T had covered Traffic songs on various occasions, although sadly not on this album.

This was effectively the final album by BS&T, although a further release using the band name would follow later, when Clayton- Thomas' band CANADA changed their name in an effort to increase sales of their "Nuclear blues" album.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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