Chuck Bennett - trombone; Gaylord Birch - drums; Paul Cannon - guitar; Pete Christlieb - flute, tenor sax; Smith Dobson - piano, vocals; Rod Ellicott - bass; Max Haskett - trumpet, Vocals; Paul Hubinon - trumpet; David Luell - saxophones; Raul Matute - organ, keyboards; Lydia Pense - vocals; Michael Sasaki - guitar; Bobby Shew - trumpet
By the time Cold Blood recorded this rare radio broadcast as part of the "Live at the Record Plant" series, they had essentially become a completely new band from the 69-71-era line-up that had been a staple at the Fillmore West. Only lead vocalist Lydia Pense, keyboardist Raul Matute, and bassist Rod Ellicott remained from the original group, and the sound of the band had gone from a hard-hitting horn-based blues band (designed to compete with Janis Joplin & her Woodstock-era group), to a sophisticated jazz-funk outfit that had become Pense's musical vehicle.
Regardless, this version of the band was still brilliant. Pense was a petite powerhouse who could belt out vocals like no other female vocalist of her time, and the band had finally found more commercially viable material to connect with. They had just released Lydia, the first of three albums designed to really make Pense the star of the band. Stax superstar Steve Cropper of Booker T. & the MG's had been brought in to produce the group, and he is credited with taking it in a less bluesy and more soulful direction. He even wrote and co-wrote material for Lydia, which they perform during this show.
This show features a mix of the older material and the songs from the band's Lydia and Thriller albums. "Valdez In The Country," which opens the show, is from the band's third album, First Taste Of Sin, and was originally written by the late Donna Hathaway. "Too Many People" and "Funky On My Back," date back to Sisyphus, the band's sophomore release, and the rest of the songs such as "Under Pressure," "Feel So Bad," and "Down To The Bone" are from the discs they released circa 1973 and 1974. One highlight of this show is a medley of two songs from Lydia, "Simple Love Life," and "Consideration", which, at over ten minutes was the pinnacle of the show. The latter was written by Cropper and is one of the best songs the band ever recorded. Also included is an outtake of "Simple Love Life."
In the end, the public seemed to be less accepting of this version of Cold Blood, because their draw in and around the Bay Area and the rest of the country was never as strong as it had been during the time Bill Graham managed the band. They made one more studio album (1976's Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, again designed to make her the star of the band), before splitting up so Pense could pursue raising a family and ultimately retire from performing.
It would be in the mid-1990s that Cold Blood with many of the original members and of course, Pense, re-grouped to play a number of west coast festivals. The released an album of new material, Transfusion, in 2005, and continue to do occasional live dates today.