Dave Bargeron - trombone; Bobby Colomby - drums, vocals; Jim Fielder - bass, vocals; Jerry Fischer - vocals; Lou Marini - sax, flute; Lew Soloff - trumpet, flugelhorn; George Wadenius - guitar; Larry Willis - keyboards; Chuck Winfield - trumpet
This performance is important not only because it is one of the few professional live recordings made of the Jerry Fisher-led version of BS&T, but because it was recorded for the very first broadcast of a legendary radio series. On February 18, 1973, the King Biscuit Flower Hour launched the first syndicated radio series of the rock era to reach North American radio listeners with live concert performances. Securing an agreement with Columbia Records, the premiere KBFH program featured a triple bill of Blood, Sweat and Tears, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and an unknown by the name of Bruce Springsteen, each recorded live in concert just weeks before. This BS&T concert was part of a benefit show with proceeds going to relief efforts for the Managua, Nicaragua earthquake of December, 1972.
This recording comes from a period when Blood, Sweat and Tears and their label, Columbia Records, were trying to repeat the enormous success the band had seen just a few years prior. From 1969 through 1972, BS&T were among the most popular rock bands in the world, and along with Chicago, one of the first to effectively blend the big band horn sound with contemporary rock, pop, and jazz. They debuted in 1967, led by ex-Blues Project members Al Kooper (keyboards and vocals) and Steve Katz (guitar and vocals). After one acclaimed album and the FM radio hits, "I Can't Quit Her," and "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," Kooper left and was replaced with Canadian vocalist David Clayton-Thomas.
The band's breakthrough album, Blood, Sweat and Tears (1969), scored three Top 10 hits ("You've Made Me So Very Happy," "Spinning Wheel," "And When I Die ") and firmly established the band as a Top 40 hit-making machine. More hits followed in the next two years, but by 1971 problems within the group and its record label surfaced. The members and the label execs were divided between wanting to head in more straight forward jazz direction or recording more commercial pop songs. David Clayton-Thomas had stayed neutral in the debate for a year, before finally deciding to go solo in 1972. Many industry insiders saw Clayton-Thomas's departure as the end of the band, but they replaced him with vocalist Jerry Fisher and decided to carry on.
The songs included in this set are mostly from the two studio albums BS&T did with Fisher, No Sweat and New Blood. The group's distinct brass-oriented sound is apparent on "Lonely Man" and "I Can't Move No Mountains," but things move in a different direction, with the band's version of "Snow Queen," written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and originally recorded by King's short-lived rock band with Danny Kortchmar, the City. Next up is an interesting version of the Herbie Hancock jazz classic. "Maiden Voyage." They close with a re-working of their 1969 hit, "And When I Die," "So Long Dixie" and an instrumental encore. This may not the Blood, Sweat and Tears that many music fans are familiar with, but it's a historical testament to a group of excellent musicians at a pivotal moment in their careers.