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Blood Sweat & Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears CD (album) cover

BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS

Blood Sweat & Tears

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.79 | 97 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars With genius Al Kooper out of the group (the man was to hold a production job inside the Columbia house and still remains a solo recording artiste), but also trumpeters Jerry Weiss and Randy Brecker and the great input of John Simon on their debut; BS&T is a different group although remaining ambitious and producing more cheese than the Swiss and Dutch altogether. The problem is that Kooper's role is taken by Canadian David Clayton-Thomas who will quickly become an insufferable pompous pretentious crooner-type singer, but this is not right from the start, even if traces can be found as early as this. One of the other effects of Kooper's departure is the songwriting gap as on their second album, only three originals are on the slice of wax, even if it includes the huge (and cheesy) hit Spinning Wheels. This album is produced by Chicago's producer William Guercio.

With a drawn front artwork and a cheap psych rear-sleeve artwork, BS&T is book-ended by the group's rendition of Satie's theme of Three Gymnopedias and even if impressive in its overture, it doesn't help making this album as a unit much. Among the covers are Traffic's Smiling Phases, a correct rendition, but I prefer the original, even with the daring mid-section brass work, or Nyro's disastrous but #2 hit And When I Die (she was thought of the lead singer and even rehearsed with the group) and an interesting version of More And More, one of the album's highlights.

Amongst the other hits with the public and airwaves were the ambitious but over-cheesy version of Billie Holiday's God Bless The Child, the ambitious but overtly-cheesy Motown classic Made Me So Very Happy (I would've loved Vanilla Fudge deconstructing/destroying this one) and of course their own Spinning Wheel. Among the originals is the correct but unremarkable Katz-penned Sometimes In Winter, the absolutely ugly and overblown, but hugely successful Spinning Wheel (this track always rubbed me the wrong way, despite Colomby's excellent drumming) and Blues - Part II, which is mostly a space for the musicians to blow up steam and despite the drum solo, it's my fave track onto this album.

If you thought a good part of BS&T's debut lacked cohesiveness, wait until you get to their second album, despite the book-ending, it's absolutely only a collection of unconnected songs, making the album's listen arduous and nevertheless sometimes challenging. Still a worthy album, despite it being a monstrous seller.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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