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Blood Sweat & Tears - Greatest Hits CD (album) cover

GREATEST HITS

Blood Sweat & Tears

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.76 | 10 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars This is a good jazz influenced pop record, but I don't think a lot of people would call this progressive rock. Instead BS&T, on this record at least, show that they have a lot in common with sophisticated jazz influenced pop artists such as Steely Dan and Paul Simon. Just like the other two mentioned artists, BS&T displays a broad knowledge of pop-jazz over several decades and seems to be influenced more by Hart/Rogers than Lennon/McCartney. Their strong point is their inventive use of a small brass/woodwind section that is cleverly arranged and thouroughly integrated into every tune. In this respect they are similar to 60s jazz composers who worked with small orchestral ensembles, such as Quincey Jones and Herbie Hancock.

The biggest problem with BS&T, is that even in their own decade, they always sounded like your parent's rock band. There is something about their flashy slick horn arrangements that conjures up images of swingin cats who work the Vegas scene when they aren't with Doc Severinson on Carson's Tonight Show. For example, dig this lyric; 'you always showed me that, lovin you is where it's at' ... groovy. In contrast, other rock bands with horn sections, such as early Chicago or Edgar Winter's White Trash, had just as much rock edge as the more guitar dominated bands of their era. I think the other problem with BS&T is vocalist David Clayton-Thomas. David is obviously a way better singer than your average bluesy shouter, but his style has more in common with Tom Jones than most rock singers.

There are two excellent tunes on this album that stand out from the others. Go Down Gamblin really rocks and is reminiscent of some of Buddy Miles' better material. The other song worth mentioning is Sometimes in Winter, a beautiful ballad with a very original melody and arrangement. BS&T's small orchestra approach really works well on this one.

This isn't a bad album, but if you want to hear some better progressive rock with horns try Chicago's first album, Earth Wind and Fire's futuristic jazz/RnB on Gratitude, or almost any of Billy Cobham's early albums (ironically enough, many of Cobham's records feature ex-BS&T trumpeter Randy Brecker). If you want to hear a totally different take on horn-driven rock check out King Crimson's avant-rock masterpiece Lizards. That's where it's at.

js (Easy Money) | 2/5 |

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