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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blood Sweat And Tears - More Than Ever (1976 us, bold jazz rock with soul touches, bonus tracks issue)

More Than Ever was the last studio effort by the re-formed, reconstituted Blood, Sweat & Tears, with David Clayton-Thomas back in the lineup and the whole group invigorated after coming off of a successful international tour. For the first time since its second album, the group -- with only drummer Bobby Colomby left from the original lineup and Bob James producing -- sounds bold, enthused, and fully positive in its approach. 

The sound is a little more R&B oriented and less rocking than the older lineup, which actually makes a better fit overall -- Thomas' singing style is a bit dated, from a tradition of '60s blue-eyed soul that seems fine, but which was really out-of-place amid the disco boom of the second half of the '70s. The group's obvious enthusiasm -- there's not a lot here that sounds like it wasn't played with joy -- and the smooth mix of R&B, jazz, and gospel influences coupled with the larger-than-life sound of the production (the ten-man band is joined by 13 guest musicians and eight backup singers, among them Patti Austin and Gwen Guthrie) helps put over some very solid material. "They," "I Love You More Than Ever," "You're the One," and the soaring, haunting "Heavy Blue" are highlights of a pretty strong album. 

Nothing here is remotely as revelatory as anything on Child Is Father to the Man or as startlingly fresh in a pop vein as the Blood, Sweat & Tears album, but it's a good 40 minutes of listening. The pity is that the Columbia Records art department couldn't muster as much inspiration on its end as the musicians did on theirs -- one can only wonder who got paid for coming up with the "idea" of using an enlarged copy of the album label as the front cover art. But bad art aside, this record is not only one worth finding -- it's one worth keeping.
by Bruce Eder

1. They (Clayton-Thomas, Smith) - 6:29
2. I Love More Than Ever (Landon, Lenier) - 5:28
3. Katy Bell (Foster, James) - 4:29
4. Sweet Sadie The Savior (Austin) - 4:24
5. Hollywood (Clayton-Thomas, Modeliste, Nesmith, Neville, Nocentelli, Porter, Reid, Smith) - 3:36
6. You're The One (Clayton-Thomas, Lennon, Ono, Smith) - 4:56
7. Heavy Blue (Willis) - 5:26
8. Saved By The Grace Of Your Love (Palmer, Smith) - 4:20
9. (Bonus tracks: Medley, Recorded live, Oct 12, 1980 at the Street Scene - Downtown, LA) God Bless The Child (Arthur Herzog Jr., Billie Holiday) - 2:58
10.Lucretia Mac Evil (Carole King) - 1:11
11.Hi-De Ho (Carole King) - 5:32
12.And When I Die (Laura Nyro) - 1:35
13.Spinning Wheel (David Clayton-Thomas) - 1:11
14.You're Made Me So Very Happy (Berry Gordy Jr., Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway, Frank Wilson) - 3:02

Blood Sweat And Tears
*David Clayton-Thomas - Vocals
*Bobby Colomby - Drums
*Don Alias - Percussion
*Larry Willis - Keyboards
*Dave Bargeron - Trombone, Tuba
*Forrest Batchell - Trumpet
*Mike Stern - Guitar
*Tony Klatka - Saxophone, Trumpet
*Bill Tillman - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
*Danny Trifan - Bass
Additional Musicians
*Bill Eaton - Vocals
*Jon Faddis - Trumpet
*Frank Floyd - Vocals
*Dave Friedman - Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Percussion
*Eric Gale - Guitar
*Lani Groves - Vocals
*Gwen Guthrie - Vocals
*Bob James - Keyboards
*Chaka Khan - Vocals
*Steve Khan - Guitar
*Gary King - Bass
*Arnie Lawrence - Alto Saxophone
*Ron McClure - Bass
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar
*Yolanda McCullough - Vocals
*Zachary Sanders - Vocals
*Marvin Stamm - Trumpet
*David Taylor - Trombone
*Richard Tee - Keyboards
*Sidney Weinberg - Oboe
*Eric Weissberg - Banjo, Dobro, Guitar
*Patti Austin - Vocals
*Vivian Cherry - Vocals

The Blood Sweat And Tears
1968  Child Is Father To The Man
1973  No Sweat
1974  Mirror Image
1975  New City

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  1. Thanks very much Marios! I have never heard this one. I noticed that while reviews tend to rate it as average, AMG has positive things to say regarding the performance on the LP, the sound quality of this CD reissue and the bonus tracks.
    I'm looking forward to hearing for myself.

  2. I've heard this one once or twice. Not bad. Thanks very much...

  3. Thanks Marios for this excellent album of pop-soul-jazz. David Clayton-Thomas is a great vocalist

  4. Xίλια ευχαριστώ Μάριε!!

  5. I'm listening to this now and it's great. Also, the AMG review that noted the exceptional sound quality of this reissue was correct. The lush arrangements really sparkle. Thanks again, Marios.