Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blood Sweat & Tears - New Blood (1972)

Aside from their self-titled sophomore album Blood Sweat & Tears struggled under the vocal leadership of David Clayton-Thomas. While largely forgotten, the Jerry Fisher era of Blood Sweat & Tears was an all too brief breath of fresh air at just the right time. 1972’s New Blood marks Fisher’s first foray on lead vocals for BS&T.

His vocals are more on the soulful and less on the crooning end of the spectrum. And while New Blood exhibits the classic BS&T sound Fisher’s vocals give their material more of a New Orleans/Dixieland jazz vibe than Clayton-Thomas’s vocals did.

While there are no big hits and much of the material would largely be unrecognizable to all but the most seasoned of BS&T’s fans the music is quite enjoyable from Down In the Flood to I Can’t Move No Mountains to the amusing take on aging, Over the Hill, to the melancholic So Long Dixie. While the material still is not as strong as on the band’s debut, Child Is Father to the Man, it’s easily their best material since then.

The album closes with Snow Queen/Maiden Voyage an eleven and a half minute musical adventure allowing Fisher to stretch out his vocals and giving the horns plenty of time to show what they’re capable of. Despite it’s length it remains one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album.

While compared to other Blood Sweat & Tears albums New Blood certainly stands up well, perhaps its greatest flaw is that it has not aged as well as other material from the early seventies. The sound is so dated that if you close your eyes and just listen perhaps you might open them to find yourself in 1972. Which, depending on your personal proclivities may or may not be a bad thing.

Related LinksNew Blood (allmusic.com)
New Blood (wikipedia)
Blood Sweat & Tears (official site)
Blood Sweat & Tears (wikipedia)

5 comments:

Charlie said...

I never heard a single note of any BS & T song after their 4th album but I know they had some stellar musicians in the band, even during this era. I may check this out.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite B,S&T albums. The Fisher era is totally overlooked and makes for more rewarding IMHO than the Clayton Thomas years.

bruce said...

So great to read a review on this album. The Jerry Fisher era is my favorite. I love everything they did up until he left the band. But when he was playing - along with Larry Willis (keys), Lou Marini, Tom Malone, Dave Bargeron, Lew Soloff, Jim Fielder, Bobby Colomby and Georg Wadenius - the band felt relaxed. Everything seemed natural, comfortable. The video of their Beat Club concert captures this line up just having a blast. It's great musicians playing excellent music and they're all smiling. Seems like the egos in the band were minimal at this time.

"No Sweat" may even be better than "New Blood".

Perplexio said...

Charlie: Aside from their GH releases I'm somewhat new to BS&T. I've found Child Is Father to the Man, New Blood, and No Sweat to be the most enjoyable of their albums.

Anonymous: I couldn't agree more. I like DCT's vocals on BS&T's second album but that's about it. I've heard live performances of his and he tended to oversing a lot of the material live-- both his own and the Al Kooper era stuff.

Bruce: Sometimes everything just falls into place and there's a chemistry and a certain level of comfortability between the musicians that is so tangible you can hear it in the music. I think the Jerry Fisher era of BS&T fits that bill to a T.

Barry McCorkindale said...

If you haven't heard "New Blood," you definitely need to. It was surprising that they chose a vocalist like Fisher, who sounded NOTHING like Clayton-Thomas. Good material, with the exception of "Velvet," the song about a horse that Steve Katz sings. Could've done without that one. Their follow-up, "No Sweat," wasn't as good but had great moments. Then, after the exit of four band members, the last Fisher album, "Mirror Image," was not a pleasant experience, though I liked some of the instrumental passages.