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Classic of the Week

Blood Sweat & Tears "Child Is Father to the Man" (1968) Columbia

April 01, 1993|BUDDY SEIGAL

BS&T's artistically auspicious debut, this bears little resemblance to the records by the more renowned version of the group fronted subsequently by singer David Clayton-Thomas. In its original, more experimental incarnation led by Al Kooper (who started it after stints with Bob Dylan and the Blues Project), BS&T was among the first rock groups with a full horn section; it played jazz charts and arrangements with rockers' energy, attitude and edge. Among those in the lineup were Kooper's fellow Blues Project grad Steve Katz on guitar, jazz veteran Fred Lipsius on alto sax, and Randy Brecker, who remains a force in jazz to this day, on trumpet and fluegelhorn. Kooper wrote the album's strongest tunes, including "I Can't Quit Her" and the scorching, James Brown-inspired "I Love You More Than You Know," and his singing had advanced scores since the Blues Project, to the degree where he now stood out as one of the more convincing white R&B stylists of the day. The horn and string arrangements, years ahead of their time, still sound fresh and inspired. Unfortunately, the group gave Kooper the boot shortly after "Child" was released and never recaptured the creative glories of this album, even though it had massive hits with such songs as "Spinning Wheel," "And When I Die" and "You Made Me So Very Happy" in the years to come.

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