Guitarist and keyboard player Al Kooper formed the band in the late sixties. Vocalist David Clayton - Thomas was one of the most dynamic and charismatic front men of the seventies and an excellent vocalist to boot. Blood, Sweat & Tears had a number of major hits and they sold in excess of 35 million albums between 1968 and 1980.Rumour has it that they're still alive and kicking, although, to date, no new recordings have surfaced. Trumpet player Bruce Cassidy is a very well known and highly respected musician in South Africa. Visit their website.

BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Spinning Wheel, from their second, self-titled album, released in1969. BS&T were formed by keyboard player/vocalist Al Kooper in 1967. Kooper had, together with guitarist Steve Katz, previously been in The Blues Project. He left BS&T after the debut album, " Child is Father to the Man", and he was replaced by British born David Clayton-Thomas for the next three albums. Clayton-Thomas was one of the most charismatic frontmen and vocalist in any band during the early to mid seventies, and his pleasant and professional stage presence had audiences eating out of his hand. Blood Sweat and Tears were, of course, one of the first rock bands to use a full on brass section, and probably pioneered the term "brass rock", together with Chicago ( Transit Authority ). Clayton-Thomas left the band in 1971 to embark on a successful solo career. He's replacement was Jerry Fischer, who stayed with them for three very good albums, veering more towards brass/rock/fusion than their predecessors. One of these albums was the fantastic " Mirror Image", another one of those " why-doesn't-some-record -company-release-this-on-CD?" albums. Fischer left to join Lee Oskar's ( War's harmonica player) band, and Clayton-Thomas rejoined the band in 1975. BS&T have had in excess of at least eighty musicians in their ranks at one time or another, but one of their best line-ups was towards the end of their recording career in 1980, on their " Nuclear Blues" album and the subsequent live album, recorded that same year. This was also their "last" known recorded work, and featured Clayton-Thomas, drummer Bobby Economou, Rob Piltch on guitars and Bruce Cassidy on trumpet. Cassidy visited South Africa with the band around about that time and elected to live and record in this country, and is one of the most respected and admired musicians on the jazz circuit today.

Blood, Sweat & Tears 
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Snow Queen, from "New Blood", their 5th album, released in 1972. The new blood referred to with the release of this stunning album was the replacement of vocalist David Clayton-Thomas with Jerry Fisher, who remained with the band for a few years. Clayton-Thomas had left to embark on a successful solo career, but he r eturned to BS&T a few years later. The band had moved in a more f usion/jazz direction with the release of this album, and this trend continued with the excellent follow-up, "Mirror Image", which came out in 1974. (Okay, it's enough, already! When is some record company going to release that damn album on CD??). "New Blood" also featured the very underrated Made in Sweden guitarist, Georg Wadenius, who's skills are expertly demonstrated on the band's great cover of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage". If you'd like to read up on this famous brass rock outfit's early history, check out our other BS&T entry in these pages. 

Blood, Sweat & Tears 
Blood, Sweat & Tears - You've made me so very happy, from their self-titled second album, released in 1969. Even though we featured this popular brass rock outfit barely two months ago, we decided to spoil you again this week as we have two copies of their albums to give away in the Dino Quiz. (The two albums in question are copies of this particular album as well as their debut, "Child is Father to the Man", w hich came out in 1968 ). We won't go through their extensive history again h ere, but we will tell you that founder member and vocalist/keyboard player Al Kooper (ex- Blues Project) was basically ousted from the band by his fellow band members. Kooper only appeared on the debut album and later embarked on a solo career. His replacement, in the vocal department at any rate, was Englishman David Clayton Thomas, and our featured album was the first to feature this d ynamic and charismatic frontman, who would leave the band in 1971 and return in the mid seventies. History tells us that B,S&T would record their last s tudio album in the early eighties and, although there have been a few rumours that they're still around in some form or another, no new recordings have surfaced, as far as we know. 
Question: Who joined Blood, Sweat & Tears as lead vocalist in 1969 - Peter Cetera, Tony Joe White or David Clayton Thomas? 
Answer: David Clayton Thomas. 

 

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Biography by Bruce Eder
No late-'60s American group ever started with as much musical promise as Blood, Sweat & Tears, or realized their potential more fully — and then blew it all in a series of internal conflicts and grotesque career moves. It could almost sound funny, talking about a group that sold close to six million records in three years and then squandered all of that momentum. Then again, considering that none of the founding members ever intended to work together, perhaps the group was "lucky" after a fashion.

The roots of Blood, Sweat & Tears lay in one weekend of hastily assembled club shows in New York in July 1967. Al Kooper (born February 5, 1944, Brooklyn, NY) was an ex-member of the Blues Project, in need of money and a fresh start in music. He'd been toying with the notion, growing out of his admiration for jazz bandleader Maynard Ferguson, of forming an electric rock band that would use horns as much as guitarists and jazz as much as rock as the basis for their music. Kooper hoped to raise enough cash to get to London (where he would put such a band together) through a series of gigs involving some big-name friends in New York. When the smoke cleared, there wasn't enough to get Kooper to London, but the gig itself produced a core group of players who were interested in working with him: Jim Fielder (born October 4, 1947, Denton, TX), late of Buffalo Springfield, on bass, whom Kooper brought in from California; Kooper's former Blues Project bandmate, guitarist Steve Katz (born May 9, 1945, Brooklyn, NY); and drummer Bobby Colomby (born December 20, 1944, New York, NY), with whom Katz had been hanging out and also talking about starting a group. Kooper agreed, as long as he was in charge musically — having just come off of the Blues Project, who'd been organized as a complete cooperative and essentially voted themselves out of existence, he was only prepared to throw into another band if he were calling the shots. This became the group that Kooper had visualized; it would have a horn section that would be as out front as Kooper's keyboards or Katz's guitar. Colomby brought in alto saxman Fred Lipsius (born November 19, 1944, New York, NY), a longtime personal idol, and from there the lineup grew, with Randy Brecker (born November 27, 1945, Philadelphia, PA) and Jerry Weiss (born May 1, 1946, New York, NY) joining on trumpets and flügelhorns, and Dick Halligan (born August 29, 1943, Troy, NY) playing trombone. The new group was signed to Columbia Records, and the name Blood, Sweat & Tears came to Kooper in the wake of an after-hours jam at the Cafe au Go Go, where he'd played with a cut on his hand that had left his organ keyboard covered in blood.

The original Blood, Sweat & Tears turned out to be one of the greatest groups that the 1960s ever produced. Their sound, in contrast to R&B outfits that merely used horn sections for embellishment and accompaniment, was a true hybrid of rock and jazz, with a strong element of soul as the bonding agent that held it together; Lipsius, Brecker, Weiss, and Halligan didn't just honk along on the choruses, but played complex, detailed arrangements; Katz played guitar solos as well as rhythm accompaniment, and Kooper's keyboards moved to the fore along with his singing. Their sound was bold, and it was all new when Blood, Sweat & Tears debuted on-stage at the Cafe au Go Go in New York in September 1967, opening for Moby Grape. Audiences at the time were just getting used to the psychedelic explosion of the previous spring and summer, but they were bowled over by what they heard — that first version of Blood, Sweat & Tears had elements of psychedelia in their work, but extended it into realms of jazz, R&B, and soul in ways that had scarcely been heard before in one band. The songs were attractive and challenging, and the arrangements gave room for Lipsius, Brecker, and others to solo as well as play rippling ensemble passages, while Kooper's organ and Katz's guitar swelled in pulsing, shimmering glory. The group's debut album, Child Is Father to the Man, recorded in just two weeks late in 1967 under producer John Simon, was released to positive reviews in February 1968, and it seemed to portend a great future for all concerned. It remained one of the great albums of its decade, right up there with Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet. The only thing it didn't have, which those other albums did, was a hit single to get radio play and help drive sales. Child Is Father to the Man was out there on its own, invisible to AM radio and the vast majority of the public, awaiting word-of-mouth and whatever help the still fledgling rock press could give it, and the band's touring to promote it.

Even as their debut was being recorded, however, elements of discontent had manifested themselves within the group that would sabotage their first tour and their future. At first, these were disagreements about repertory, which grew into issues of control, and then doubts about Kooper's ability as a lead singer. With Colomby and Katz taking the lead, the group broached the idea of getting a new vocalist and moving Kooper over exclusively to playing the organ and composing. By the end of March 1968, with Child Is Father to the Man nudging onto the charts and sales edging toward 100,000 copies and some momentum finally building, Blood, Sweat & Tears blew apart — Kooper left the lineup, taking a producer's job at Columbia Records (where one of his very first actions was to secure the U.S. release of the Zombies' Odessey and Oracle LP and the single "Time of the Season"); at that same point, Randy Brecker announced his intent to quit. Ironically, at around the same time, Jerry Weiss, who'd actually favored Kooper's ouster, also headed for the door as well, to form the group Ambergris?, which lasted long enough to cut one album in 1970.

That might've been the end of their story, except that Bobby Colomby and Steve Katz saw the opportunity to pull their own band out of this debacle. Columbia Records decided to stick with them while Katz and Colomby considered several new singers, including Stephen Stills, and actually got as far as auditioning and rehearsing with Laura Nyro before they found David Clayton-Thomas (born David Thomsett, September 13, 1941, Surrey, England). A Canadian national since the age of five, Clayton-Thomas at the time was performing with his own group at a small club in New York. He came aboard, with Halligan moved over to keyboards, Chuck Winfield (born February 5, 1943, Monessen, PA) and Lew Soloff (born February 20, 1944, Brooklyn, NY) on trumpets, and Jerry Hyman (born May 19, 1947, Brooklyn, NY) succeeding Halligan on the trombone. The new nine-member group reflected Colomby and Katz's vision of a band, which was heavily influenced by the Buckinghams, a mid-'60s outfit they'd both admired for mix of soul influences and their use of horns — toward that end, they got James William Guercio, who had previously produced the Buckinghams, as producer for their proposed album. Though Kooper was gone from Blood, Sweat & Tears, the group was forced to rely on a number of songs that he'd prepared for the new album.

The resulting album, simply called Blood, Sweat & Tears, was issued 11 months after Child Is Father to the Man, in January 1969. The album was smoother, less challenging, and more traditionally melodic than its predecessor. It was ambitious in an accessible way, starting with its opening track, an adaptation of French expressionist composer Erik Satie's "Trois Gymnopedies" that transformed the languid early 20th century classical work into a pop standard. Clayton-Thomas was the dominant personality, with Lipsius and the other jazzmen in the band getting their spots in the breaks of each song. The first single by the new group, "You've Made Me So Very Happy," quickly rose to the number two spot on the charts and lofted the album to the top of the charts as well. That was followed by "Spinning Wheel"/"More and More," which also hit number two, which, in turn, was followed by the group's version of Laura Nyro's "And When I Die," another gold-selling single. When the smoke cleared, that one album had yielded a career's worth of hits in the space of six months, and the LP had won the Grammy as Album of the Year, selling three million copies in the bargain. So much demand was created for work by Blood, Sweat & Tears that the now 18-month-old Child Is Father to the Man, with the different singer and very different sound, last seen and heard in spring 1968, made the charts anew in summer and fall 1969 and earned gold-record status itself.

The group soon faced the problem that every act with a massive success has had to confront — where do you go from up? By fall 1969, with ten months of massive success behind them, the record company was eager for a follow-up album. The group began recording Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 while the second album was still selling many tens of thousands of copies every week. This time, the group produced the album, Guercio having decided that he didn't like working with the band, but the label was willing to accommodate the request. It seemed as though the only question was when the new album should be best released to mount up millions more sales.

And then issues of image and politics entered into the picture. When Kooper led the group, there was no question of how hip and tuned in Blood, Sweat & Tears were, to the rock culture and the counterculture — by his own account, Kooper was a resident "freak" wherever he went in those days, and they were a daring enough ensemble to speak for themselves with their music.

But the new group's music, and their use of horns, in particular, was more traditional, and it made them a little suspect among rock listeners. "Spinning Wheel," especially, was the kind of song that invited covers by the likes of Mel Tormé and Sammy Davis, Jr., after all, and was the sort of rock hit that your parents didn't mind hearing. And "You've Made Me So Very Happy," for all of the soulfulness of David Clayton-Thomas' singing, also had a kind of jaunty pop-band edge that made the group seem closer in spirit to the Tonight Show band than, say, to the Rolling Stones or Cream.

Compounding the uncertainty of just who and what Blood, Sweat & Tears were, and how cool they were, was a decision that they made in early 1970, to undertake a tour of Eastern Europe on behalf of the U.S. State Department. A few other rock bands (most notably the Rolling Stones) had played Eastern Europe before, but never on behalf of a government, much less one that, at that particular time, was singularly unpopular with a lot of Blood, Sweat & Tears' potential fan base over the war in Vietnam. In fact, the contrast with the Rolling Stones was a good one — one always had the vague notion that Her Majesty's government might have been very happy if they never played a note of music abroad, at home, or anywhere else, and this did no harm to their credibility in the rock world; and here was Richard Nixon's State Department (the same State Department that, at that time, was trying to deport John Lennon, who was probably the biggest hero in rock at the time) organizing a tour and paying the way for Blood, Sweat & Tears. There was something horribly wrong with this picture in May 1970, but the group was oblivious to it.

The reason for the tour was a practical one, according to some sources. Clayton-Thomas was a Canadian with very uncertain visa status in America, and the State Department indicated that it would be a lot more agreeable about Clayton-Thomas working in the United States if the band did them this favor. It was a coup for the State Department, getting one of the hottest rock acts in the world to represent the government in the Eastern bloc nations. The problem was that everything the Nixon administration did in those days, or anything done for it, in many millions of Americans' eyes, had to be stacked up against its Vietnam policy. Worse yet, the group embarked on its tour just at the time of the Kent State massacre, in which four students were shot to death by National Guardsmen, an event that Nixon chose to capitalize on politically. The imagery was difficult to miss — while artists such as Neil Young and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were writing and recording the nasty, ominous "Ohio" in response to Kent State, Clayton-Thomas and company looked like they were advertising for Nixon and company.

Complicating matters even more was the fact that by 1970, college students, hippies, freaks, peace activists, anarchists, and anyone else not wired into the world of conformist politics had what amounted to their own "jungle telegraph" in the form of the alternative press. This included virtually all of the rock press, embracing everything from new publications like Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy, to relatively venerable leftist newspapers like the Village Voice; they spoke to this audience directly, giving them all the news they felt they needed. And virtually everyone associated with the rock press hated Nixon and anyone who would have anything to do with his government.

It's impossible to imagine what life was like during that period, unless you were there — as close to an open insurrection against the government as we'd seen since the early days of desegregation in the South, except that this wasn't confined to one region or city; police departments from New York to Los Angeles were paying informants to infiltrate political and student groups, and people who had previously been content to carry protest signs were suddenly feeling sympathetic to bomb-makers. And the President of the United States, in whose government's name the band was going on tour, was helping to organize assaults on Americans exercising their legal rights and telling the FBI that it was legitimate to spy on anyone that the White House wanted targeted.

That was the America that Blood, Sweat & Tears flew out of as they headed off on that tour for the government — they might as well have been spitting in the faces of tens of millions of would-be fans. And it got worse when they came back, after seeing the police in Bucharest, in particular, take a violent hand to any audience spontaneity; a statement was issued on the group's behalf, upon their return, trumpeting the virtues of American freedom — this, one month after Kent State, with the murders of the students still an open wound and the reactionary rioting that had ensued in cities like New York (where the police had done nothing to stop a mob of construction workers from attacking anyone with long hair and invading City Hall) still fresh in peoples' minds. In June 1970, Blood, Sweat & Tears were the only act hipper than the Johnny Mann Singers putting out feel-good messages.

Their record company was aghast over the whole matter. Indeed, Columbia Records president Clive Davis, who seldom got involved in the minutiae of his artists' decisions on where they played, had implored them not to make the tour and was appalled at its aftermath. It was on their return to America that Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 was released. Under the best of conditions, it would have been too much to hope that it could match its predecessor, and the truth was that it didn't. Despite some attractive songs, the album never achieved the same mix of accessibility and inspiration displayed by the earlier album, and some of the players felt the difference — the Blood, Sweat & Tears LP might not have been the most daring album ever done, but it was executed with a relatively free spirit and free hand. BS&T3, by comparison, was done under a lot of pressure to replicate its predecessor and get a second bite of the same apple.

The album shipped gold and topped the LP charts for two weeks in mid-1970, and the single "Hi-De-Ho" made it to number 14, but the edge was off and the numbers didn't keep soaring week after week as the sales of their prior two LPs had. More troubling, the group was starting to get criticized in the rock press, not directly for their State Department tour — though that couldn't have made a lot of reviewers and columnists too predisposed to go easy on the band — but over who and what they were (and that was where the infamous tour did enter into the picture). A lot of rock critics felt that Blood, Sweat & Tears were a pretentious pop group that dabbled in horn riffs, while others argued that they were a jazz outfit trying to pass as a rock band — either way, they weren't "one of us" or part of who we were. Oddly enough, some members of the jazz press liked them, but that was small help — at any time after the early '40s, jazz reviewers in America reached no more than a small percentage of listeners. And regardless of what the critics said, a lot of serious jazz listeners who were the same age as the bandmembers thought the group was fluff, jazz-lite.

Their image problem grew worse when the group accepted an engagement to appear at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas — the gambling mecca had never been known as friendly to current rock acts, and the group felt it was doing journeyman service by opening up Caesar's Palace to performers under 30. Instead, it multiplied their difficulties — Vegas and what it represented were almost as bad as Nixon.

In the meantime, another act, Chicago, produced by James William Guercio, broke big in 1970, also on the Columbia label, and avoided all of these pitfalls and internal problems and ended up stealing a huge chunk of Blood, Sweat & Tears' audience. It seemed as though, after an extraordinary run of luck, the group couldn't catch a break; their musical contribution to the Barbra Streisand film The Owl and the Pussycat, which was financially successful and helped revive the career of the pop diva, did nothing to enhance their image. The group's fourth album, begun in early 1971, was the first that ran into real trouble in the making, which showed from the presence of three producers in the credits, and even Kooper was represented in the songwriting and arranging department.

By this time, an ominous pattern had begun to set in, which was observed by Columbia Records. Each Blood, Sweat & Tears album was selling about half of what its predecessor had done, which is not the kind of trend that artists or record labels look for in a quest for long-term survival. The fourth album, issued in June 1971, peaked at number ten on the charts, nowhere near the top, and none of its singles cracked the Top 30. It was around this time that the membership began shifting — trombonist Jerry Hyman was replaced, rather painlessly, by Dave Bargeron after the third album in 1970, but they had bigger problems. By 1971, the group was basically divided into three factions, the rock rhythm section pitted against the jazz players, Clayton-Thomas between them both, and no one happy with what anyone else was doing. Clayton-Thomas no longer enjoyed working with the rest of the band and chose to exit after the release of the fourth album to pursue a solo career.

The group carried on — a record of ten million singles and LPs sold worldwide in only three years would keep artists and labels swinging at those pitches as long as they could stand at the plate — and he was succeeded by Bob Doyle. He, in turn, only lasted a few months before being replaced by Jerry Fisher. Meanwhile, Fred Lipsius, who'd been there from the start and had put the original horn section together, finally called it quits and was replaced by Joe Henderson, who, in turn, was succeeded by Lou Marini, Jr., and Dick Halligan, who'd replaced Kooper on keyboards after the first band's breakup, was succeeded by Larry Willis, while Steve Katz got a second guitarist to play off of in the person of George Wadenius. All of these personnel changes led to an extended period of inactivity for the band, which Columbia Records made up for by releasing Blood, Sweat & Tears' Greatest Hits in 1972 — the latter became a Top 20 album and earned a Gold Record Award and was a very popular catalog item for many years; one advantage that its original LP version offered the casual fan was that its songs were all the shorter, single edits of their hits, which were otherwise only available on the original 45 rpm records.

In September 1972, this lineup released an album, appropriately enough called New Blood, which never made the Top 30 despite some good moments, accompanied by a single, "So Long Dixie," which didn't crack the Top 40. By this time, they'd turned more toward jazz, recognizing that the rock audience was slowly drifting out of their reach. Founding members Jim Fielder and Steve Katz called it quits during this period, Katz preferring to work in the more rock-oriented orbit of Lou Reed. With replacements aboard, Blood, Sweat & Tears continued performing, but their next LP, humorously (or was it ominously?) entitled No Sweat, released in 1973, never rose higher than number 72 on the charts, and that was a hit compared to its successor, Mirror Image, which peaked at number 149. By this time, people were passing through the lineup like a revolving door, and even Jaco Pastorius put in some time playing bass for the group, all without leaving much of an impression on the public.

It's right about here that one would expect that the plug would have been pulled, and it might have been, but for the return of Clayton-Thomas, whose solo career had fizzled. Now fronting an outfit billed officially as Blood, Sweat & Tears Featuring David Clayton-Thomas, they released a modestly successful comeback album, New City. The accompanying single, a version of the Beatles' "Got to Get You into My Life," never made the Top 40, but the subsequent tour yielded a concert album, Live and Improvised, that was issued in Europe (and, six years later, in America). Columbia Records finally dropped the group in 1976, and a brief association with ABC Records — then a dying label, as it turned out — led nowhere. The group was caught in between their former Columbia Records rivals Chicago, who continued to get airplay and sell a decent number of new records, and purer jazz ensembles such as Return to Forever and Weather Report, who had captured the moment in the press and before the public. In the end, even Bobby Colomby, who had trademarked the group's name very early after Kooper's exit in 1968, gave up playing in Blood, Sweat & Tears, taking a corporate position at Columbia Records. Clayton-Thomas has kept the band alive in the decades since, fronting various lineups that continue to perform regularly and record sporadically. The advent of the CD era, and the release of expanded versions of their first two albums, fostered new interest in the group's early history, which was furthered by the 1990s release of Kooper's Soul of a Man, which presented the 1967-era group's repertory in concert. The name remains alive behind Clayton-Thomas, and their recordings through 1972 — and especially the first album — still elicit a powerful response from those millions who've heard them. 

 

Al Kooper
Joe Henderson
Steve Khan
Fred Lipsius
Tom "Bones" Malone
Ron McClure
Lew Soloff
Mike Stern
Larry Willis
Randy Bernsen
David Clayton-Thomas
Jerry Lacroix
Don Alias
Bobby Doyle
Dave Bargeron
Randy Brecker
Forrest Buchtel
Bruce Cassidy
Bobby Colomby
Vern Dorge
Bob Economou
Jim Fielder
Joe Giorgianni
Dick Halligan
Jerry Hyman
Steve Katz
Tony Klatka
Roy McCurdy
Lou Marini
David Piltch
Earl Seymour
Neil Stubenhaus
Bill Tillman
Danny Trifan
George Wadenius
Jerry Weiss
Chuck Winfield
Chris Albert
Jerry Fisher

David Clayton-Thomas
Three Dog Night
Al Kooper
Joe Cocker
Chicago
The Blues Project
Chase
Lighthouse
Cold Blood
Traffic
The Rascals
Bloodrock
Neil Diamond
The Ides of March
Brooklyn Bridge
Journey
Gary Puckett
The Lighthouse All-Stars

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

 

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Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1968 - Child is Father to the Man - 4.5/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1969 - Blood, Sweat & Tears - 4.5/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1970 - Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 - 3/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1971 - Blood, Sweat & Tears 4 - 2/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1972 - New Blood - 2/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1973 - No Sweat - 1/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1974 - Mirror Image - 1/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1975 - New City - 2/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1976 - In Concert - 4/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1976 - More than Ever - 3/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1977 - Brand New Day - 2.5/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1980 - Nuclear Blues - 2/5

Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1994 - Live - 2.5/5

Rating

 

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