Sunday, May 24, 2009


In 1970, Blood Sweat & Tears released their 3rd album. It was called “Blood, Sweat & Tears” not “Child Is Father To The Man” like you think a third album might be called but that was actually the name of their first album which I never heard and didn’t want to hear much. Still, for some reason during that summer, which was a beautiful summer which I should have been playing outside, I spent my daytime hours instead staring at the cover of Blood, Sweat & Tears–not exactly in love, but truly soaking it in although I am not sure why, because it didn’t have eight musicians on it sitting with child-size versions of themselves on their laps in a kind of creepy, interesting child-is-father-to-the-man way. What it did have was just a sort of a photograph with nine print-stamp men wearing coats that look like peacoats on it, plus two trees in the foreground, plus a misty fog that seems to rise just to their stomachs (although not quite since the men are different sizes and the misty fog is always the same size and some of them were sitting down and some of them were standing up.)

The two colors on the album, other than white which doesn’t count, are black and a sort of interesting pink-grey. I really love pink-grey, I discovered that for sure in 1970. Boy, I probably spent ten hundred hours over three months staring at that cover, at those men, and the pink-grey fog and at the trees. I don’t know why, but I really loved it, the whole thing. And I was afraid to buy it because then I could look at it all the time, afraid to not buy it because then I couldn’t look at it when I wanted to during shopping hours if somebody else bought it instead. I wasn’t really sure what Laverdier’s restocking policy was, and jazz-rock albums weren’t really that popular quite yet. I guess you could say that I didn’t know what to do, and so I spent an unhealthy amount of time at the Laverdier’s Drug Store in Rockport, Maine in the summer of 1970 when it was sunny and beautiful outside and the blueberries were unsually scrumptious, but I don’t think about it that way, at least now, and I don’t regret it at all. It was a good thing and I was having a really good time and I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could.

But as the summer came to a close, luckily or unluckily, I decided to go ahead and buy Blood, Sweat & Tears one late August day for $3.99. I walked into Laverdier’s Drug Store, and without even looking at the cover, at least very closely, I picked it up out of the rack and walked straight over to the cashier and passed the Sky Bars
and Zero Candy Bars and 100 Grand candy bars without even considering them, which was pretty unusual for me because of my sweet tooth. And even though I have never plopped down money on a counter before for any reason, I did this time, PLOP, with my four dollars which I was very excited about as something to have in my pocket but even more as something to use to buy a Blood, Sweat & Tears album and still get a penny in change.

The next thing I know, the cashier is staring at my four dollars and saying: “Whoa, Honey, you owe me 15¢” because sales tax in Rockport, Maine in 1970 was 4%. Oh no!

$4.15! How could that be? I hadn’t even listened to my brand new Blood, Sweat & Tears album yet and already I was upset. Sales tax? What? I asked. OK, OK, and I paid it, even though it was quite a surprise. Good thing I didn’t slow down near the 100 Grand candy bars. And from there on, things just got worse.

The next week was rainy all week and we lost our Basenji. The week after that I left for boarding school for the first time in my life and I was miserable and lonely for four whole years. I won’t go into the details, because being unhappy is really uninteresting. And it was unhappy/miserable, not horrible, like, say, Bangladesh. But still, miserable is bad enough, and I will say, though, that I left my Blood, Sweat & Tears album at home, since I didn’t think that they should have to go through boarding school just because I did because it hadn’t done anything wrong and it didn’t deserve it and it had already made me happy for two weeks even though it was raining and I missed my Basenji.

And so I only got two weeks to listen to the new Blood, Sweat & Tears album before I left for boarding school. On the other hand, I was miserable in boarding school for FOUR WHOLE YEARS. Still, it was a terrific album, I don’t care what happened or what anybody says, even the people in boarding school who call it ‘facile’, uggh and no matter what or where I give Blood, Sweat & Tears my most heartfelt recommendation for any bona fide lover of tasty servings of jazz rock music (not fusion) with a dash of classical that inspired so many others like Chicago, Electric Flag, Chase, and the Ides of March even and suggest that you go out and buy it right away, listen to it a lot, look at the cover as much as you can, but don’t go to boarding school and if you must go to boarding school go for, say, an afternoon, or maybe, just the earlier part of one morning before lunch.*

* not four whole years

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