Lydia Pense - vocals, percussion; Larry Field - lead guitar; Raul Matute - Hammond organ, piano; Danny Hull - tenor saxophone; Jerry Jonutz - baritone, alto and tenor saxophones; Larry Jonutz - trumpet; David Padron - trumpet; Rod Ellicott - bass; Sandy McKee - drums, vocals; Guest: Jeff Stanton - vocals; Guest: Michael Stanton - vocals
Along with Tower of Power, Cold Blood pioneered the Bay Area's brass heavy funk-rock sound. After debuting at the Fillmore in 1969 and initially signing to Bill Graham's new record label, they had developed into one of the most high-energy bands in all of San Francisco by the time this recording was made in 1971.
Fronting as the proverbial little girl with a big voice, Lydia Pense was impossible to ignore. Her powerful, soulful chops proved the perfect complement to Cold Blood's funk-charged instrumentals. Larry Fields was an inspired and creative guitar player; Raul Matute's Hammond organ playing is infectious; and the rhythm and horn sections are tight and powerful. Together, they make for an irresistible combination, and this particular set showcases the band at their expressive best.
They kick it off with an expanded version of the group's debut single "You've Got Me Hummin.'" From the opening number, the high energy level is more than apparent. Over the course of their 90 minute set, the band pulls out all the stops and really work the audience. Even James Taylor's "Lo & Behold" gets an adrenaline-injected treatment, and by the time the set is half way finished, the band is playing at a stratospheric level, obviously feeding off the responsive, energetic audience.
The second half of this show is truly a killer performance. Beginning with "Watch Your Step" and continuing to the instrumental "Shop Talk," the band hits a serious groove. The rest of the set primarily focuses on the strongest material from their debut album, and the loyal audience is certainly getting off on it. The set ends with their classic version of Willie Dixon's "I Just Want To Make Love To You," ultimately released on the film Fillmore: The Last Days.
Cold Blood seemed to be overshadowed by Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Tower of Power and other more commercially successful horn-driven bands of the era, but their biggest curse was the relentless comparison of Lydia to Janis Joplin amongst critics. Cold Blood appeared often at the Fillmore West often, in addition to numerous major concerts and pop festivals, but never really caught on beyond the Bay Area. Even so, this set offers a fantastic time capsule of an accomplished band at the most promising stage of their career.