Before Chicago or the Electric Flag
R. Lindeboom | Paso Robles, CA USA | 06/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can still remember when I first heard this one... There was simply *nothing* like it at all. I saw them perform this album live and the band was impeccible live. The critics always point to the horns first or Al Kooper -- me, I always noticed their rythym section first. There was Jim Fielder, the greatest bassist I had ever heard up to that point (play 'My Days Are Numbered' -- it even sounds great crunched on RealPlayer!). Then on drums, was Bobby Colomby who went on to be a producer himself and work on other record and film projects. But before all that, he was one of the most brilliant drummers ever! I have little doubt that he inspired Chicago's Danny Seriphine to play with such intensity and abandonment in later days. Then, above such a venerable rythym section were Al Kooper's great keyboard antics and the BS&T horn section -- the first bunch of horns in rock that ever mattered. (Well, besides the Stax Horns!) These guys could cook! This was some of the most exploritive and original rock ever recorded and it spawned others like the Electric Flag and Chicago, Ides of March and Lighthouse, as well as others too derivitive and banal to be remembered. The only weak spot in the line-up was Steve Katz, whose playing never seemed up to the caliber of the rest of the band. I always felt like Al Kooper had him there because guitarists were mandatory in rock bands at that point but it seemed Kooper wanted the focus on him and the horns. It worked. But the Steve Katz songs add a sense of romanticism to the album and that's probably why Kooper had him along; he was to Kooper what Bryan Maclen was to Arthur Lee in the band 'Love' of the same period. (And don't get me wrong, I love Bryan Maclen.) BS&T were one of the first bands ever to fuse rock and jazz -- sure, The Zombies had done some of that within their early works but this was a whole different type of jazz; call it a 'New York style', if you will. This was a big sound, full of intricate passages and nuances that challenged and took the listener into some of the most original ground ever recorded up to that point. 'I Can't Quit Her' and 'My Days are Numbered' still work today 33 years later. 'I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know' is also something that is worth its weight in RIAA-certified Gold! 'House In the Country' had a great horn passage and was the cut that 60's AM radio played -- figures! It's one of the few cuts on this gem that doesn't hold up well! (Who ever said radio programmers have a good sense of what's good?) This is an absolute 'must have' for anyone who is either a fan of the great horn bands of the late 60s, BS&T in particular, or of rock history, in general. A brilliant album that set the stage for many others and opened a door for the slick and polished more jazz/soul-centric BS&T of later vintage. This is a more blues-focused yet jazz-embellished BS&T. A powerful mix and a brilliant work -- one not to be overlooked."
Not What You're Expecting - But Better!
Steven R. Seim | Beaver Dam, WI United States | 07/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Child is Father..." is not what most people think of when they think of Blood, Sweat & Tears - but it is a lost
classic of '60s jazz-rock. David Clayton-Thomas had not yet joined the group and turned it into Chicago's
main soul-pop rival. For BST's first album, the group's brainchild and leader was keyboardist Al Kooper, a
New Yorker with a knack for sounding British. Kooper must be credited with fusing the horn section with the
rock band, and BST's classic horn riffs are clearly evident on this recording. However, unlike more popular
BST recordings, "Child is Father..." has a more eclectic jazz- and folk-rock sound. Try combining equal parts
early Chicago, Steve Winwood's Traffic, and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, and you'll have a pretty good
idea of the sound. It is, quite simply, a unique classic."
Arye Mirovski | Haifa Israel | 11/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It sounds so good even today, but only few can understand the progress that BS&T made by that album. In the 60's it sounded so special, so uniqe, and today it sounds "just" as a great album, one of the best in rock music. No need to review every song, though there are few well known ("I love you more than you'll ever know", Harry Nilsson's "Withoiut her", "I can't quit her", "Morning glory"). The album from "Overture" to "So much love" is one solid gold unit."