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Friday, January 6, 2012

Cold Blood - s/t

Name: Cold Blood
Album: s/t
Year: 1969
Style: R&B, Soul, Jazz
Similar Bands: Janice Joplin, Etta James, James Brown, Blood Sweat & Tears, Blues Project, Gossip
"One-Word" Review: Free-Form Relationship Soul-Jazz
Based Out Of: San Francisco
Label: San Francisco, Atlantic
Cold Blood - Cover & Record
Cold Blood - Back & Record

Cold Blood (1969)
  1. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free 5:58
  2. If You Will 5:35
  3. You Got Me Hummin' 5:47/
  4. I Just Want To Make Love To You 5:13
  5. I'm A Good Woman 3:00
  6. Let Me Down Easy 5:35
  7. Watch Your Step 5:27
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Fred Catero - Engineer
Frank Davis - Drums
Willie Dixon - Composer
Rod Ellicott - Bass
Larry Field - Guitar
Mick Gillette - Horn, Trumpet (Tower of Power)
Wrecia Holloway - Composer
Danny Hull - Sax (Tenor), Saxophone, Vocals
Jerry Jonutz - Sax (Alto), Sax (Baritone), Saxophone, Trumpet
Larry Jonutz - Trumpet
Carl Leach - Trumpet
Raul Matute - Arranger, Keyboards, Organ, Piano
James McDougal - Composer
David Padron - Trumpet (Tower of Power)
Bobby Parker - Composer
Lydia Pense - Vocals
David Rubinson - Producer
Rick Griffin - Cover Art

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band, and I literally have no idea what to expect. From comparing the front and the back, the woman on both is most definitely the leader of the band. But will this be groovy psychedelic music from San Fran in the 60’s? Will it be bluesy / coarse R&B like Janice Joplin? The outfits of the rest of the band are colonial or just plain odd and add nothing to the guesswork. I do like the cartoon artwork on the cover, which reminds me of Monty Python. So needless to say, I’m very interested on what is on this record.

Album Review: “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free” combines the strong-willed feeling of female soul and gospel with its vocal-only introduction. It is a cover that originates back in 1963, written for the author’s (Billy Taylor) daughter. The first stanza is gospel with the piano and only truly comes alive the second time around, with Gossip like singing and praise with an extremely bold horn section. The song ends back where it began, with quiet, vocal only crooning the desperate message.
“If You Will” is a slow, bluesy, sultry/sexy mood setting piece. It is a jazz song presenting the vocal range of the singer, Lydia Pense. Her vocals are rough and slightly raspy but the intensity in her voice tightens the reigns and creates a melody impossible to fall for. The vocals are nicely complemented with the crashing backing brass and piano accompaniment when the chorus is sung, and a complex sax and instrumental section bridges vocal sections. The song plods along slowly, as if she could sing over this melody forever. With a minute left to go, her vocals get very intense and really remind us of Janice Joplin’s the chaotic looseness.
“You Got Me Hummin'” begins with simple a garage/pop-bass line and her vocals come on super soulfully. The song feels very much like Motown, especially in the build-up bridge between chorus and the next verse. The mood is excited, in a shy and sexy way. The instrumental sections are characterized by the Hammond organ that brings a classy sound to the basic pop hook layered underneath. The second instrumental, the bass and organ trade places in the spotlight. The last two minutes of the song are a breakdown of the melody, reinterpreted in an almost improvised way, completely departing from the great hook in the chorus.

“I Just Want To Make Love To You” starts out side two with a jazzy blues cover of this familiar song, written by Willie Dixon, & made famous by Muddy Waters. It evolves into more of a free flowing jazz number, much like “If You Will,” that carries a slightly familiar melody throughout the song, but really offers plenty of room for the vocals to be whatever they want to be. The brass instrumentals are solid, and the perfect length to not give the song too much big band feel. “I'm A Good Woman” shows the pain of trying to recapture a woman’s worth. Whether it’s because of cheating, or trying to outbid the competition, there is a self-worth in the vocals that make it hard to even believe there is a contest. Yet there is a youthful ego in the vocals that might make the singer overstep her bounds. But with an upbeat melody and show-stopping jazz composition, her case is made boldly if only a little shrilly. The song nearly comes to a halt as the singer begs how good she is.
“Let Me Down Easy” transitions without pause from the last song, telling the story of the girl who realizes she’s “not the one” and the mood changes to a sad mood, fighting whether to accept or fight more for her position. Ultimately, the sorrow becomes the full perspective, and she embraces the sorrow. The music accompaniment might as well be a blues swagger, giving canvas for the singer so sing in any range or any melody he/she would wish. There are bombastic full brass sections bringing the mood down, like the surprised look of falling from a skyscraper in slow motion. The song slowly winds down, begging and pleading, until only the bass remains as accompaniment.
“Watch Your Step” brings a bit of the garage pop back with a catchy, simple bass line and the organ and horns all sharing the stage. As the story line progresses, this song is warning the love interest of the past two songs. The format is free-formed singing over the instruments. They do come together for the chorus, but it feels like a live recording. The vocals almost sound hoarse by now, as if this was recorded in order, and the strain of the situation was heavy on the singer’s soul. The song ends quite dramatically, with a big grandiose finish and final flourish and wind down of the instruments.

Stand Out Track: You Got Me Hummin'

Links:small town pleasures

1 comment:

  1. That first cover looks sick! cold bloooooooood