Blood, Sweat & Tears – What The Hell Happened To Blood, Sweat & Tears?
This soundtrack accompanies a John Scheinfeld tour documentary suppressed for 50 years (it was never initially released). The CD includes 10 familiar but previously unissued live tracks from shows in June & July 1970. The concerts took place despite being politically ill-advised (in Yugoslavia, Romania & Poland). Returning home to a counter-culture backlash. But was it justified?
These are Blood, Sweat & Tears classics, some from an unreleased 3rd LP. As for the concert, the set opens with “Something’s Coming On” with the thunderous skillful Bobby Colomby drums & radiant horns. When the band Chicago made its appearance back in the early 70s many fans flocked to their recordings & ingenious charts but these BS&T performances & arrangements prove they were clearly up to snuff. Exceptionally so.
Produced by drummer Bobby Colomby, John Scheinfeld & Brad Rosenberger What The Hell Happened To Blood, Sweat & Tears? (Drops April 21- Crew Neck/Omnivore) it may be from a controversial tour but it’s also a compelling well-recorded document.
If they played with the fire that’s evident in these performances they would have been far more formidable. Vocalist David Clayton-Thomas as a live singer & performer lays down a blistering, entertaining buzz.
The band itself cooks & lays down soulful grooves with songs like “God Bless The Child,” made famous by Billie Holiday. Clayton-Thomas is warm & sincere & captures the more modern ideal with gratifying brass sonics. An instrumental break that’s explosive.
Throughout the jazzy showcase with a hot drum solo (“Something Goin’ On/Blues – Part II”), the band touches upon some of their most vibrant well-known & commercially successful songs. Obviously known throughout the world – even in Communist countries.
Originating in NYC in 1967 BS&T always had a devilishly good approach to their music & exacted artistic latitude with its well-oiled rhythm section — tight as a knot in a piece of string. This live document is one of the best live LPs I’ve heard. It’s disciplined without being too exacting – they indulge convincingly. For me, this was nostalgic because I always liked the Clayton-Thomas version of this band. Diehards will bask in this recording.
The heavyweight brass is contagious & delivers countless musical punches. Maybe the band wore their excellence a little too lightly in those days of Chicago, Ides of March, Ten Wheel Drive & the Average White Band. But David always had a splendid voice even on these controversial dates with superb brass musicians.
Highlights – “Something’s Coming On” “God Bless The Child,” “Spinning Wheel,” “Something Goin’ On/Blues – Part II,” “Hi-De-Ho,” & “And When I Die.”
Musicians – Jim Fielder (bass), the late Dick Halligan (organ/trombone), Jerry Hyman (trombone), Steve Katz (guitar/harmonica/vocal “Sometimes In Winter”), Fred Lipsius (sax/electric piano), Bobby Colomby (drums), Lew Soloff & Chuck Winfield (trumpet) with David Clayton-Thomas (lead vocals).
B&W image courtesy of Echoes/Redferns/Getty Images. The 64-minute CD @ https://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/what-the-hell-happened/