Album Reviews

Blood Sweat & Tears – Child Is The Father To The Man

Artist:     Blood Sweat & Tears

Album:     Child Is The Father To The Man (SACD re-issue)

Label:     Columbia/Audio Fidelity

Release Date:     11/11/2014

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In retrospect, it could be considered one of the most brilliant debut albums ever recorded. Yet at the time it wasreleased in 1968, Child Is Father To The Man was largely overlooked, a victim of its ambitious intentions. Up until then, horns had never been integrated into a basic rock regimen — Chicago were still a year away from their own inception — and the concept of incorporating such sophisticated arrangements was something the music biz apparently wasn’t prepared for. As Al Kooper, the band’s mastermind and resident genius, claims in the liner notes to this newly remixed edition, the band was turned down by both Warner Bros. and Atlantic Records before Clive Davis famously took a shot and signed them to Columbia Records.

A mix of Kooper originals and covers by such still budding songwriters as Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Tim Buckley, the album flowed with a kind of symphonic splendour. Kooper’s compositions in particular — “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” “I Can’t Quit Her” and “House in the Country” among them — flourished in the embrace of the sumptuous settings provided by brass and strings, and even today, some 46 years later, the album is as stunning as ever.

As a result, the opportunity to experience it again in SACD Surround Sound is simply a joy. Like Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper and Dark Side of the Moon, it’s an album that practically begs for this audio treatment. The depth and separation are remarkable, and each instrument is dramatically illuminated like never before. Rarely has a concept been executed so effectively, and now, given the advances in audio technology, Child Is Father To The Man is wonderfully and rightfully revived.

– Lee Zimmerman

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