Some music

June 22, 2022 • 4:50 pm

I came across a reference today to the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, and it immediately drew me back to their first album—”Child is Father to the Man” (1968) which came out during their best years: when Al Kooper was in charge rather than David Clayton Thomas.

The first side of that album has several fantastic songs. Here’s one of them:

That album is one of the three great underappreciated folk/rock/pop albums of my halcyon years. And all are debut albums.

The other two are “Lightfoot!” (Gordon Lightfoot’s first album, a magnificent work from 1966) and More Than a New Discovery by Laura Nyro (1966, reissued in 1969 as The First Songs in 1969).

Here’s one song from each album; these were hard choices.

“The Way I Feel”, by Lightfoot:

And “Blowing Away” by Nyro. (The best song on that album by far is “And When I Die,” but I’ve already featured that one. Her “Wedding Bell Blues“, a big hit for the Fifth Dimension, is also great And how can I neglect “Sweet Blindness” from her second album?)

5 thoughts on “Some music

  1. Thanks for reminding me of of these. I listen to the Super Sessions once in a while, as well as other BS&T, and go back to Laura Nyro pretty often, usually when I hear someone else covering her, but Gordon Lightfoot really doesn’t come up often for me, but should.

    BS&T used to be one of the carts in the bag when I used to do long drives (along with King Crimson, Boz Scaggs, and so on). Couldn’t count on radio in a lot of areas, and a 12 hour drive needs music.

    I don’t drive like that anymore, thankfully. No clue how I did back then.

  2. Saw Nyro live in Berkeley in the early 70s. Fantastic! Seen Gordie a few times in Toronto. Great songwriter!

  3. Thanks for this. I would have picked “Early Morning Rain” or “That’s What You Get For Lovin’ Me” from Gordon’s first album, though the message of the latter would be considered “hurtful” these days and probably require a trigger warning. I was at UC Irvine when the album came out and my Ph.D advisor, who was a huge Dylan fan, liked to get my goat by referring to “Gordon Lightweight.” I think Gordie’s staying power—still doing concerts at 83 (same age as me)—has proven him wrong.

  4. Great stuff, thanks! Never think to listen to BS&T.

    I like Lightfoot’s song “A Long Way Back Home,” with its world-weary lyrics that lapse into cryptic Dylanesque lines at the end (“the rats in the rafters/They’re after my shoes”).

  5. Back when I trained for long distance bike races, I had “Lightfoot” as one of three or four cassettes that I listened to a lot. Like hundreds of times.

    I am unfamiliar with Nyro, but I plan to listen to her discography over the next few days.

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