CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN
Christmas 1966 my folks gave me the only gift I truly wanted, an AM-FM portable AC powered radio with a battery backup.They got me one of the best, a PANASONIC which lasted until 1976 when my friend, Bobby T. threw it against the wall after a NY Yankees loss. Not one of his best tantrums but close as his best was throwing an ashtray through the TV after losing at a game of “Spades”. But I digress. My portable radio had a pull out antenna and in the gift box was a strange looking wire. I asked my Dad if he ever saw this kind of wire as he was an electrician for the NYTA. He laughed, went to his workbench downstairs and came back with a small spool of the identical wire. He told me when the wire is attached to the pull out antenna the clarity of sound of distant stations would probably be clearer. Clearer I could not imagine as the sounds emulating from this radio was already amazing. Pulling in distant stations was intriguing. So I got a ladder, climbed up the tree next to my upstairs bedroom window, shimmied up to the upper branches, as high as I could go (remember, I am afraid of heights) and attached the wire to the tree bark with a few heavy duty staples. The other end of the wire was attached to the side of my night table which when needed I would hook to my radio. WHEW…I could pick up all sorts of stations, especially at night when I could get the Canadian station CKLW (The Big 8). One night I heard ITCHYCOO PARK (Small Faces) on that station.
My neighbor across the street, an older guy by 4 years, had an eclectic taste in music and occasionally would lend me albums like The Blues Project, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and such. I nagged him about taking me to see The Lovin’ Spoonful to which he said he would but my Dad nixed it before it got any further. What’s this got to do with “Blood Sweat and Tears”? Well, one night (Spring of 68) while reading a book under the lamp in my bedroom with the radio playing softly in the background I heard something that caught my attention…”I Can’t Quit Her”, a nice little ditty, piano leading with horns. “WOW”, I thought, “This is good, who is it?” ROSKO, one of the Dj’s on the new WNEW-FM format announced it was “BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS”. I thought, “That’s a weird name for a band”. A few weeks later while perusing the record department in TSS Stores I saw a strange looking album cover with an even stranger title ,“CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN” by BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, needless to say I purchased it.
As per my usual procedure I awaited until evening for the darkness and comfort of my bedroom before partaking of the sounds recorded on that 12 inch vinyl. I lit up my Marlboro Red, dropped the stylus down and …”The Overture” to which I thought, “What’s with that laughing?” … and then, “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” an amazing song, all 5 minutes and 58 seconds of it. Then, the cacophony of horns as intro to “Morning Glory” (with what later in another incarnation of BS&T the organ/arrangement becomes “You Made Me So Very Happy”). I was mesmerized sitting there, then NILSON’s song “Without Her”, Side 2 with “I Can’t Quit Her”, “Something’s Goin’ On” and all the others. This album is a keeper.
As things turned out AL KOOPER the originator of the band was “fired” from his own band due to “creative differences” leaving BS&T to chart a different course, hit making pop music, as the second album BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS released at the end of 68 soared up the charts and included three (3) Top Ten singles. Critics hated the new version of the band but the record buying public loved it. Meanwhile, Alan Peter Kuperschmidt aka Al Kooper Summer of 68) had a TOP TEN album on the charts with “Super Session” featuring MIKE BLOOMFIELD and STEPHEN STILLS.