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Blood Sweat & Tears - Child is Father to the Man CD (album) cover

CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN

Blood Sweat & Tears

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars Horns ...glorious horns! This is a wacky though very progressive offering that comes straight out of the urban mayhem of New York in the late sixties. Basically bigband jazzmen combine with a hard-edged rockband, under the guidance of the genius that is Al Kooper. Why is this album progressive? First, you need to hear it, because this group is very different from the subsequent David Clayton-Thomas version of BS&T. There are no instrumentals like on later records, but there is an overture, and even an underture. Phasing, backward tape loops, full orchestration,maniacal laughter, and uncommonly long songs for this time period grace this very idiosyncratic recording. And the weirdness is all Al's doing no doubt.

Child Is The Father To The Man must have been a nightmare for Columbia Management. Unlike almost all of the following Blood Sweat & Tears LP's there are no hit singles on this one, and it appears as though it were intended to be that way. The songs vary from love-sick pop to bone-grinding bigband jazz-blues. This band was one of the first true proponents of the sound that would later be foundation for bands like Chicago, The Flock, and If. Sadly though, the creative discord within the band led to leader Kooper's swift departure, but he went on to join ex-Electric Flag (another truly great progressive horn-driven mini-orchestra) bandleader/guitarist Michael Bloomfeild, and ex Buffalo Springfeild member Steven Stills to create one of the great jam records of all time, Super Session. Later BS&T seemed much slicker and chart-oriented, though some of the albums, like the next self-titled one, have some musical merit as well.

Furthermore, if you like this one check out Kooper's later albums I Stand Alone, You Never Know Who Your Friends Are, and Easy Does It. They actually all stand up well to the test of time, if you like that sort of thing. Kooper's music can be both pleasant to the ears and the mind, especially if you have a sense of humour.

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Send comments to vingaton (BETA) | Report this review (#127113)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Frankenstein being strangled by his monster

Blood Sweat and Tears first album is in a number of ways something of a false start for the band. That is not to say it is in anyway inferior to their subsequent releases, it is however different to the style and sound the band would develop starting with their second, self titled album. The reasons for this can be summed up by mentioning two people, one who appears on the album, the other who does not.

Keyboard player Al Kooper formed BS&T in 1967, bringing with him a number of compositions which he felt were in need of the backing of a brass section. Before the second album could be recorded though, Kooper had been asked to leave his own band. Although in the sleeve notes to the remastered CD release Kooper describes the situation as "Frankenstein being strangled by his monster", he is philospohical about the situation, saying it "worked out for the best" even though the band went on to play "music he did not agree with".

David Clayton Thomas, who would become the voice of BS&T, does not appear on this album at all, as he would not be recruited until after Kooper's departure.

The band Kooper put together was an eight piece outfit plus an eleven man string ensemble, a brave and confident move even in the late 1960's. Kooper added a number of cover versions to the band's repertoire, and recording too place over a two week period.

The album opens with a symphonic overture bizarrely featuring hysterical laughter, after which we're into the bluesy "I love you more than you'll ever know", the horn section making in instant impression. Here though it becomes clear that the horns are not to be the centre piece of the album, but are present to add a big band sound to the primarily vocal songs. Kooper's vocal sits well with the mood of the piece while Steve Katz adds some excellent blues style guitar.

Katz takes on lead vocal duties for "Morning glory", his trembling voice creating a wonderful atmosphere on this lush, soft song. "My days are numbered" is a sort of prog soul song with simple time changes along the way. Harry Nilsson's "Without her" (not "Without you") is given a lounge treatment, with saxes exploiting the easy mood of the piece. The song is a million miles from the BS&T most people will be familiar with. "Just one smile" has the anthemic pop feel of songs by bands such as The Family Dogg, while incorporating a fugue section and some fine organ work by Kooper.

"I can't quit her" is a similarly melodic pop based song, with a strong brass arrangement. Steve Katz returns to the fore for his gentle "Megan's gypsy eyes", a song which has the feel of a children's song of the type Tom Paxton is so good at.

Things go a bit flat in the middle of side two, the Kooper composed "Somethin' goin' on" and "house in the country" being fairly standard blues and pop rock fair respectively. The former runs to over 8 minutes, while the latter has a west coast tinge. "The modern adventures of Plato, Diogenes and Freud" is a rather odd title for a fairly conventional soft ballad with pleasant orchestration. The closing "So much love" is a cover of a Goffen/King song complete with a with "soul chorus".

My Sony re-release of the CD includes three bonus tracks, all of which are mono demos recorded by the band prior to the official sessions for the album. Their inclusion is intended to demonstrate the contribution made by producer John Simon to the finished product. Of these, "Refugee from Yuhupitz" is the most interesting, being a jazz rock instrumental much more in keeping with their subsequent albums.

Given the number of artists who perform on this album, including complete brass and string sections, it is surprisingly vocal throughout. The instrumentation is used to develop the sound, the lavish arrangements breathing life into Al Kooper's generally creditable compositions. As a whole, while the album is enjoyable in its own right, it is notable primarily for the roots it planted not just for Blood Sweat and Tears, but for bands such as Chicago (Transit Authority), Chase, Lighthouse, and many more.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#130159)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars One thing is quite obvious with the label Columbia Records, is that its leader Clive Davis certainly pioneered jazz-rock in every sense of the word by taking almost single-handedly all of the movement under its wings, beit with jazz legend making the reach to rock (Miles Davis and its crowd from Hancock to Zawinul to McLaughlin), but also rock musicians extending their world in the jazz realm (Chicago, 2nd period Santana and Soft Machine etc.), that only a handful of artistes were not in their rank between 68 to 73: Tony Williams, Larry Coryell, Chick Corea, Colosseum. If the first direction was called jazz rock, its alter-ego (they were mostly rock or pop with a big brass/horn section was not called rock-jazz (as some Dutch musicologist teacher would have his student believe), but everyone called it brass rock. BTW & AFAIK, this is as far as I can trace back trumpet player Randy Brecker's earliest appearance on a record.

If Columbia started the movement from jazz towards rock through Miles Davis (let's not nitpick) and his incredible galaxy of sidekicks, it started the other way as soon as Blood Sweat & Tears' debut album., even if their music is sometimes hard to define as rock, more than pop, Rnb, soul or pure cheese. Indeed within the label's walls would resonate the horns of BS&T, The Flock, Chicago and the earliest form of this "brass movement" Electric Flag! As you can see on the US side, Columbia had a monopoly, even if they never tried to develop the same across the Atlantic (maybe Clive thought it was Ertegun's kingdom ;o)p))), but I digress here.

Like Electric Flag, BS&T is another product of the Bloomfield, Kooper, Butterfield, Goldberg that pretty well evolved from Chicago's blues scene (this includes Chicago Loop, Blues Project and Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Supersessions etc.) and gradually installed itself from Los Angeles (BS&T) to New York (Blues Project), both latter bands counting Kooper and Katz in their ranks. Enough background on these guys, let's tackle their music behind this flawed pompous artwork aiming at the title, but presenting us this bad ventriloquist pompous disaster.

After a cheesy and pompous Overture with string arrangements and mad laughter, announcing the pompousness of the album, the album gets into its first (and one of only two) highlight in the form of the excellent Love You More Than You'll Never Know. Behind its love title, this track is particularly well written with the best Al Kooper vocals ever, and once the track settles in a 12 bar blues in its middle section, it almost brings chills into the back with Kooper's one note organ, Katz's superb guitar and Lipsius's sax. Sadly the rest of the first side has a hard time surviving such a glorious forerunner and indeed Morning Glory (a bad cover of Buckley's song), My Days Are Numbered, Without Her, Just A Smile all pale in comparison, even if the second has its moments. Unfortunately the group had more than one singer, which didn't help the album cohesiveness behind the cheesy horn & strings arrangements.

The flipside starts on the interesting (at first anyway, but ultimately not really) I Can't Quit Her (the fuzz guitar of Katz), followed by a few more tracks that range from rudimentary psych rock, to soul, love ballads and semblance of bossa nova. The only exception on this half-disc is a soaring and searing blues Something Going On, where finally some grits and power re-emerge after taking a dive from the second track onwards. The last part of the album takes on a psychier turn with tape effects, sound collages, thus simulating a bond between unconnectable songs. Among the craziest is the crazy House in The Country song with its Procol Harum (Mabel) nonsense, but I don't like it much, even if it is a small tour de force. The following Plato, Diogenes and Freud is an interesting psych piece and the closing Love/Underture almost closing the album

Soooo their debut album is not really a must, unless you're serving a cheese fondue for a full army squad. Don't get me wrong, BS&T's debut is well recorded, well produced thanks to the excellent work of John Simon, who also contributed musically and songwriting-wise) and was even groundbreaking in its genre, but it's too cheesy, but the worst is to come yet.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#204277)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars My Sister got this album for me for Christmas when I was about 14. At first I was disappointed, because it didn't have David Clayton Thomas, but I soon grew to like this first release from the band more than anything they would put out. Al Kooper would also become one of my favorite solo artists, although looking back on his solo stuff, there were a lot of songs I just couldn't stomach.

Al Kooper and company do it up right with the opening selection. This was my introduction to the "Overture." To me this is where prog probably came from. I liked the idea of one song having a boatload of changes in it.

I think the best song on the whole album is "The modern adventures of Plato, Diogenes, and Freud." It is a classical piece sung very well by Mr. Kooper. There is not one rock note in the entire song and it is great regardless. I have never liked the opera type singing and I am glad Al sang it like he did.

Another fave is "I Can't Quit Her." It is just plain good music. The band changes it up a few times and it pleases the ear. Then there is "My Days are numbered." I sang this one a lot when I was in boot camp waiting for my time to get out of that situation. This song helped get me through all the beatings I got, for not doing exactly what my DI wanted me to do. Mistakes were not accepted very well by my Drill Instructor.

"Without Her" is a beautiful tune! I never tire of hearing it.

"House in the Country" is on the crazy side and I enjoyed it alot.

I didn't remember there being one bad song on the whole thing. I consider this to be one of those ground breaking musical contributions, but I don't believe a whole lot of new generation types will find this as enjoyable as I did. I give this album 3 stars.

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Send comments to Keetian (BETA) | Report this review (#280409)
Posted Monday, May 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Gatot
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Blood Sweat & Tears has been in my life since I was a teenager and I don't remember when the first time I heard I Love You More Than You Ever Know for the first time - I think it was sometime around 1971 from the cassette that my big brother played at my hometown, Madiun. I was than aware that the song became a major radio hit and regularly played also by local bands. But to me BS&T was more than just that song as I liked the band's brass rock style as clearly described here at this site : "Blood, Sweat & Tears was/is a Jazz-Rock band formed in New York in 1967, and one of the early examples of the genre that would be known as "Brass Rock" and sharing their hierarchy of the genre with CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY (later CHICAGO), both being prime examples along with their UK competitor IF."

Yes, I fully agree that BS&T is in comparison with Chicago Transit Transit Authority even though there is a fundamental difference: CTA uses much more electric guitar solo than BS&T and I really admired CTA first album that really rocks! BS&T uses much more brass section and more jazzy and sometime bluesy like I Love You'll More Than You Ever Know or Somethin' Going On (track 9 of this debut album).

This album is to me an excellent one even though I prefer CTA because of they are rockier than BS&T debut album. But ... I really love the bluesy jazz style that this debut album presents. From the opening Overture it's quite clear that the band tried to record their album ini a relaxed way and I can get the sense from the Overture. The opening track I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know is my all time favorite as the song is very strong in melody and especially I love the groove it produces - it really creates vintage nuances which I call it in Bahasa Indonesia as "nuansamatik" (the term that I created and use it regularly to describe the situation where certain music matches the criteria being called as having a vintage nuances. The song not only good in its blues style but I also love the vocal, brass section and guitar solo. It's really killing! Thanks to Al Kooper on this!

The other tracks are excellent as well. The fourth track My Days Are Numbered is a very good example how strong and solid their composition is. It flows nicely with jazz nuances and great brass section. My true favorite is Somethin' Going On (track 9) which has blues style and powerful guitar solo....and not only that, it's really rockin' and nuansamatik as I can recall many segments with vintage music that represents the era of classic rock. The Modern Adventures of Plato, Diogenes and Freud reminds me to the work of The Beatles - something like Eleanor Rigby but this one is much more PROGier.

I think this album deserves a solid four-star rating as it has powerful songs and most songs are composed beautifully (under the corridor of prog music) with excellent harmonies and dynamic changes from one segment to another in typical song and from one song to another. The brass section is really great. Most songs are basically not really melodic - but it's OK because we are in PROG music perspective. Take an example of last track So Much Love/Underture where it lacks melody but it's a well-composed song. This CD has bonus songs which I like it very much - especially the hit I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know (track 13) performed live. It's really great! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#917911)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
UMUR
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Child is Father to the Man" is the debut full-length studio album by US rock act Blood, Sweat & Tears. The album was released through Columbia Records in February 1968. Blood, Sweat & Tears was formed in 1967 in New York City, with the vision of mixing rock music with big band sounding brass arrangements. They are widely regarded as one of the first rock groups to do it to this extent.

The bandīs sound is actually pretty varied with elements from rock, pop, rīnīb, jazz and even a couple of nods toward psychadelia and classical music. The recurring element throughout the album is the brass section though. The band are very well playing and lead vocalist Al Kooper has a smooth voice and a soothing delivery. He can deliver more raw vocals on the most bluesy tracks too though, so he is quite the versatile singer. The material are generally well written and predominantly vers/chorus structured, but not all tracks are equally interesting and the lyrics are for the most part pretty generic "man loves woman" themed (read: Sugar coated). Itīs the arrangements of the tracks, the professional, organic and detailed sound production that and the high level musicianship that are the real assets here.

"Child is Father to the Man" is on many levels a great debut album by Blood, Sweat & Tears and for itīs time it was also quite original because of the different musical elements contained within. The core of the tracks arenīt that orignal though and occasionally itīs a bit too nice and lacking edge, but still a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#1151832)
Posted Friday, March 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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