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Blood Sweat & Tears - Mirror Image CD (album) cover

MIRROR IMAGE

Blood Sweat & Tears

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.23 | 11 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars "Does the music you hear make you dance, are you satisfied?" Well, no and no actually!

Inevitably with such a large line up, Blood Sweat and Tears were always going to be subject to line up changes between albums and "Mirror image" is no exception. The most significant here is the arrival of saxophonist and vocalist Jerry La Croix, signifying a change in the balance of the brass section with less emphasis on the horns.

The changes which "Mirror image" introduced however were more than just in the personnel, the music too was subject to a radical shift. The opening "Tell me that I'm wrong" may have the reassuring sound of the brass section, but it is more akin to the sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) than to "Spinning wheel" and so forth. It is actually a fine song, but a million miles from what we have come to expect from BS&T or indeed prog. "Look up to the sky" continues the jaunty, funky music, Jerry Fischer and Jerry LaCroix dueting on lead vocal and thus creating a Santana type sound, emphasised by the Latin-esque percussion.

The title "Love looks good on you (you're candy sweet)" gives an all too clear indication of the way things continue, LaCroix solo vocal and the R&B nature of the composition taking the band deep into Motown territory. David Bargeron tries to pull things back to the band's traditional areas with "Hold on to me", a big sounding ballad which features a fine vocal by Jerry Fischer; indeed the song actually finds him sounding more like David Clayton-Thomas than he had ever done previously. This seems to prompt LaCroix to try something smoother on "Thinking of you", but the song quickly reverts to the rhythmic pop his voice is best suited to. New boy Anthony Klatka adds a decent brass arrangement to the track lifting it from the mediocre.

"Are you satisfied" is Georg Wadenius' first writing contribution to the album, the two lead singers combining on the relatively downbeat number. It is not a particularly great song, but Larry Willis sympathetic arrangement is worthy of mention.

The latter part of the album is really where any interest (and certainly any prog interest) lies. The four part suite is untitled on the sleeve, but appears to bear the album name. The first three parts are instrumental workouts composed by three of the band members. Larry Willis takes the opportunity on his opening "Movement (Maglomania)" to display his piano skills is a jazz context, bassist Ron McClure exploiting the skills of the entire line up on his "Mirror image". Anthony Klatka's "South mountain shuffle", while still predominantly jazz, has more of a rock flavour, primarily due to Georg Wadenius' fine lead guitar work. The final part "Rock reprise" returns to the funky R&B style with the semi-chanted vocal line "Does the music you hear make you dance? Are you satisfied?"

The album closes with Wadenius singing his own composition "She's coming home", with lyrics by Jerry Fischer. The song is a superb, if simple, love song with some great sax played by guest Arnold Lawrence.

Those seeking to discover the music of Blood Sweat and Tears would be well advised to avoid this album, at least initially. Not only is it not representative of their music, it is radically different from any other album by them. The funky R&B sounds may be well performed and appealing to those who enjoy that style of music, but fans of the band will undoubtedly be bemused by what they hear.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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