Two for Tuesday: Blood, Sweat & Tears

After leaving The Blues Project, Al Kooper became interested in a Chicago band, The Buckinghams, and their use of horns in rock. In late 1967 he and fellow Blues Project guitar and harmonica player Steve Katz formed the original BS&T with drummmer Bobby Colomby and bassist Jim Fielder. Saxophonist Fred Lipsius joined the group, and eventually trumpet/flugelhorn players Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss and trombonist Dick Halligan joined the group. Their first album, Child Is Father To The Man, was released in early 1968.

Shortly thereafter, Kooper left the group (as did Brecker and Weiss) after arranging several songs for a planned second album. They added vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, trumpet/flugelhorn players Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield, and trombone player Jerry Hyman, Halligan moved to keyboards, and the band released their eponymous second album, which was produced by James William Guercio, producer for Chicago and The Buckinghams, in late 1968. It won the Grammy for Album of the Year and included hits such as “Spinning Wheel,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” and “And When I Die.” The band recorded two more albums, Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 and Blood, Sweat & Tears 4 with this lineup (Dave Bargeron replaced Jerry Hyman for 4).

In 1971, the band split along jazz-vs.-pop/rock lines, and Clayton-Thomas decided to leave rather than choose a side; Halligan and Lipsius also left the group. Larry Willis replaced Halligan on keyboards, Lou Marini replaced Lipsius on saxophone, Bobby Doyle and later Jerry Fisher replaced Clayton-Thomas, and the band added Swedish guitarist Georg Wadenius. During these changes in the band, they released a “Greatest Hits” album; it was the last album by the band that achieved Gold status. The band’s 1972 release, New Blood, went in a more jazz-oriented direction and included a cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” featuring an extended voice and guitar solo by Wadenius. From there, the band experienced a number of personnel changes, including the return of David Clayton-Thomas and the addition of bassist Jaco Pastorius. By then, however, the band’s popularity had waned considerably. The band is still a popular touring group.

Today’s first number is from the Al Kooper days, “I Can’t Quit Her,” from Child Is Father To The Man.

Our second selection is from the second album, Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child.”

And there’s your Two for Tuesday, August 13, 2013.

(ETA to correct Dick Halligan’s name.)

7 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Blood, Sweat & Tears

  1. They were very popular when I graduated from h.s. – all the music nerds loved them, and so did a lot of others. I had a friend who bought himself two copies of ‘Child is the Father…’ so he didn’t have to get up and turn the album over.

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    1. For a long time, I thought that the second album (the one named for the group) was the first, and it wasn’t until the Greatest Hits album came out that I learned about Child is Father to the Man. I remember finding a copy at a record store (remember those?) in the sale bin, buying it, and playing it until the grooves wore out. That’s also when I learned about The Blues Project and the role that Kooper and Katz played in it. It pretty much revolutionized the music I listened to from that point on.

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  2. I never realized the influence of the Buckinghams on BS&T. I was living in the Chicagoland area from 1963 to 1966 and heard the Buckinghams on the radio a lot. I was a fan of that group. I first became familiar with BS&T with the second album. What a great classic album that was. I discovered the first album fairly recently. Not too shoddy either.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I was surprised myself, but evidently The Buckinghams influenced a lot of bands with the brass-rock sound. A lot of that could have been the influence of James William Guercio, who produced The Buckinghams’ early songs, Chicago’s first eleven albums, and BS&T’s second album. When I was preparing this, I listened to both of BS&T’s first albums, and they are both classics, but quite different.

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