Blood Sweat & Tears are arguably a case study of a band with a brilliant debut that the band was never able to live up to again.
BS&T's was in large part the brainchild of Al Kooper. So it was quite surprising when after this debut, Kooper was given his walking papers and replaced by David Clayton-Thomas.
While Kooper is not a great singer, this listener prefers his vocals over those of his successor. Add to that that Kooper was the principal songwriter in the band the band seemingly shot themselves in the foot when they showed Kooper the door.
Commercially their second album was considerably more successful, but to my ears it lacks the inventiveness and the pure unbridled potential this album showed.
Today this album does sound a bit dated, not in a bad way. It's a delightful capsule of the late sixties. There's a fullness and lushness that's at least marginally reminiscent of the Moody Blues Days of Future Passed released the year before.
One of the reasons Kooper was let go was the band felt they could find a better singer, but listening to songs like More Than You'll Ever Know and I Can't Quit Her I honestly can't hear the need for a new singer. Kooper doesn't just sing well, he nails the vocals on most of these songs. And even if he lacked the range of "better" singers, the band would have been better served bringing in a second singer in addition to Kooper, as opposed to replacing him.
What is perhaps most remarkable about this album is that its so strong and so seamless from start to finish. There's not a bad track on it and it certainly leaves the listener wanting more. It's arguably one of the "must-have" albums for any fan and/or collector of late 60s rock.
All in all this album is both a testament and a glaring question mark to what might have been had BS&T held on to the talents of Al Kooper.
Blood Sweat & Tears (official site)
Blood Sweat & Tears (wikipedia)
Al Kooper (official site)
Al Kooper (wikipedia)
Jim Fielder (wikipedia)
Fred Lipsius (official site)
Fred Lipsius (wikipedia)
Randy Brecker (official site)
Randy Brecker (wikipedia)
Jerry Weiss (wikipedia)
Dick Halligan (official site)
Dick Halligan (wikipedia)
Steve Katz (wikipedia)
Bobby Colomby (wikipedia)