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Articles Home » 1969 Articles » Blood, Sweat And Tears - 1969 Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat And Tears - 1969 Blood, Sweat & Tears

ARTIST: Blood, Sweat And Tears
ALBUM: Blood, Sweat & Tears
YEAR: 1969
CD REISSUE: 2000, Sony, CK63986 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: David Clayton-Thomas - lead vocals * Lew Solof - trumpet, flugelhorn * Bobby Colomby - drums, percussion * Jim Fielder- bass * Dick Halligan - organ, piano, flute, trombone, vocals * Steve Katz - guitar, harmonica, lead & background vocals * Fred Lipsius - alto sax, piano * Chuck Winfield - trumpet, flugelhorn * Jerry Hyman - trombone, recorder

TRACK LISTING: 01 Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie (1st and 2nd Movements) Adapted From 'Trois Gymnopedies' * 02 Smiling Faces * 03 Sometimes In Winter * 04 More And More * 05 And When I Die * 06 God Bless The Child * 07 Spinning Wheel * 08 You've Made Me So Very Happy * 09 Blues- Part II * 10 Variations On A Theme By Eric Satie (1St Movement) Adapted From 'Trois Gymnopedies'


Love it or hate it, Brass Rock had a brief stretch of popularity in the late 1960's before dropping off around 1975. Largely but not exclusively an American movement, there were numerous bands that released decent albums during this period including The Flock, Dreams, Chase, Tower of Power and others although the hands down commercial kings of horn fronted rock were Chicago and New York's Blood, Sweat & Tears. Yes, Chicago had more hits and a much longer run but BS&T were different. Their music was a savoury blend of jazz, classical and pop and their catalog included both originals and innovative covers from a wildly diverse range of sources including James Taylor and Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.

The Songs
For my money this is BS&T's finest hour and the first with soulful singer David Clayton-Thomas. The amalgam of styles is astonishing and opening with the pastoral and instantly familiar Erik Satie piece 'Variations On A Theme' is a stroke of genius. After a brief pause the band rock-up the same melody in true Tears style with flashy horns and spacey percussion which strangely skirts avant-garde. 'Smiling Faces' gives us the first vocal track with Thomas and it's a winner although Steve Katz's lead on the sumptuous 'Sometimes In Winter' is one of the most beautiful songs the band ever put to tape, sounding like a drowsy version of The Left Banke. I always had a difficult time with 'And When I Die' as it mixes Broadway show tunes ('Oklahoma' comes to mind) with gospel and offbeat blues pop, although much to my amazement it was one of the albums biggest hits and pushed all the way to 4 on the Billboard charts. More to my liking is the wonderful Billie Holiday cover 'God Bless The Child' and even though it was never released as a single, I do remember hearing it on the radio and recall seeing the band perform the song on TV when I was a youngster. Nice stuff, but the follow-up 'Spinning Wheel' is the tune that put BS&T on the map. Written by Thomas, it's typical of the time with lots of trippy imagery, calliope and a delicious hook and while it hit number 2 on the charts so did the brilliant cover of 'You Made Me So Very Happy' which like The Association's 'Windy' became part of my musical DNA early on and if I could hear both songs once a day, I'd still never tire of either. Rounding out the set there's a fun tip of the hat to Cream on 'Blues - Part II' before once again the familiar strains of the Satie's 'Variations On A Theme' draw the curtains closed on what is one of the best pop albums the 1960's produced.

In Summary
Upon release of the record, Blood, Sweat & Tears quickly became headliners with a fledgling Jethro Tull as opening act as well as a top spot at the Woodstock Festival. 'Spinning Wheel' and the LP were both nominated for Grammys with the album winning record of the year. They charted a few more hits before Thomas left in 1972, refusing to endure persistent tensions between the pop half of the band and its jazz contingent.

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#1 | gdazegod on September 11 2015 07:52:44
Thank you Eric, I've just found a copy on the Net.. going to listen to this on the weekend.. 'And When I Die'.. what a classic.. even with the Oklahoma references.. lol!
#2 | jefflynnefan on September 12 2015 05:12:07
Classic album! I remember this and Sly and the Family Stone's album from this year.
#3 | Explorer on September 12 2015 10:28:38
The guy that ran Bullet was big into B, S and T and all that Jazz/Fusion stuff and we were constantly bombarded with the band and others such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report on the shop turntable. Incidentally that`s how I first heard Journey with their early Jazz influenced material.
#4 | reyno-roxx on September 12 2015 17:01:06
Was that Ivan?
#5 | Explorer on September 12 2015 17:40:21
Don't know who Ivan was/is Reyno, it was a guy called Dave Salmon and I lost contact with him years ago. Another couple of the guys went on to open the Plastic Factory record shop in Birmingham but lost touch with them too.
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