December Odds ‘n Year Ends, Pt. 2

12/11/68:  Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears

By the time Blood, Sweat & Tears released their second album (and second of 1968), they were a considerably different band. Gone were founding members Al Kooper, Randy Brecker, and Jerry Weiss. In with the replacements was the distinctive voice of David Clayton-Thomas. The result was a very big record. It rose to the top of the US charts for several weeks and yielded the smash singles Spinning Wheel and You’ve Made Me So Very Happy. The album won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1969.


12/11/68:  The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

It was a very cool idea, and the Stones weren’t nearly as bad as they supposedly saw their performance as being. Yet it didn’t see an official release on DVD and CD until 1996. I do feel the Stones’ performance – o.k., Mick’s – was a bit contrived, but musically still solid. And, of course, it’s the last the world would see of Brian Jones, who would drown in his pool under odd circumstances a few months later. Jethro Tull is fun to watch here even though the only live parts were Ian Anderson’s vocals and flute. It took me a couple of views to realize that’s Tony Ionni fakin’ it on guitar. The Dirty Mac – now that was a supergroup! (Oh yeah, Yoko…) And of course the Who outdid everyone. I also like the dialogue between Lennon and Jagger. Anyway, the Circus is an important film link in the music scene of 1968.


12/20/68:  Townes Van Zandt – For the Sake of the Song  

This was Van Zandt’s debut album. Some of the more well-known tracks were later re-recorded with a stripped-down sound with arguably much better results (Tecumseh Valley, Waiting ‘Round to Die, and the title track), but his songwriting was stellar out of the gate. I began hearing and reading the name Townes Van Zandt in the early 90’s, and the Cowboy Junkies did a nice version of his To Live Is to Fly on their Black Eyed Man album from 1992. But it took moving to Texas and becoming friends with a connoisseur of music by Texas troubadour musicians to finally be initiated. I’ve been a fan ever since, and I’m looking forward to revisiting his later albums here down the road. What a talent, and what a loss.


12/21/68:  Apollo 8 Mission

The second manned spaceflight in the US Apollo program launched on this date 50 years ago with a three-astronaut crew of Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders. They were the first to orbit the Moon and see Earth as an entire planet.



12/21/68:  Bee Gees – Single:  I Started a Joke 

Sorry, but the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the early works of the Bee Gees probably won’t make the cut…  – Yours truly, January 1, 2018 in my inaugural post on this blog, discussing the parameters of my loosely planned content. This is now an inaccurate statement, but that’s alright. I’ve always liked this track. Richie Havens did a nice version as well.


12/26/68:  Led Zeppelin make their US debut in Denver

And the Hammer of the Gods came down from the mountain…


Up next, my Year-End Top 25 Albums from 1968.

Thanks for reading!


February 21 – Blood, Sweat and Tears Debut

Blood, Sweat and Tears – Child Is Father to the Man

The debut album by Blood, Sweat and Tears, Child Is Father to the Man, was released a half-century ago today.  While later albums by the band contain the radio hits, this one is the realization of founding member Al Kooper’s vision of adding brass and strings to a blues/jazz/pop blend to create a music hybrid not heard before (Chicago Transit Authority was released a little over a year later).  The eight man brass section on the album includes trumpeter Randy Brecker.  There’s no Spinning Wheel here, but the album doesn’t need it.  There’s not a weak track, and it has maintained solid positive critical acclaim throughout the years.

The original Blood, Sweat and Tears lineup.  Al Kooper is far right.

I suppose this is as much of an Al Kooper post as it is a B, S & T post, as the band’s glory years were just around the corner.  Al is one of my favorite peripheral (for lack of a better word) musicians in rock history:  In 1965, after tricking producer Tom Wilson into letting him onto the session, Kooper improvised the famous Hammond Organ part on Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone.  He then went on to form The Blues Project before establishing Blood, Sweat and Tears.  He left the band after this debut album on which he does the majority of lead vocals, and later in the year re-emerged in studio with guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills for the seminal-but not-as-famous-as-it-should-be album, Super Session.


Side One:

  1. Overture
  2. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
  3. Morning Glory
  4. My Days Are Numbered
  5. Without Her
  6. Just One Smile

Side Two:

  1. I Can’t Quit Her
  2. Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes
  3. Somethin’ Goin’ On
  4. House in the Country
  5. The Modern Adventures of Plato, Diogenes and Freud
  6. So Much Love/Underture

Did you know:

That the French horn at the beginning of You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones was played by… AL KOOPER!