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Saturday, January 17, 2015


Collection of Bloodstone

Bloodstone was a key group in creating the shift from the R&B and soul group concepts of the '50s and '60s to the funk and black rock ideas of the '70s and afterward.

The group began in Kansas City, while the original members were in high school, as an a cappella doo wop group, the Sinceres, around 1962. They evolved with the decade, and by 1968 were ensconced in Las Vegas, playing lounges like many other soul minor leaguers (Sonny Charles & the Checkmates, most notoriously). From there, they went to Los Angeles and did the unexpected: They learned to play instruments and became a band (like the Clash and Steely Dan, they never did settle on a permanent drummer).

In fact, Bloodstone was a very good funk-soul group using the Hendrix-derived licks of Charles Love and Willis Draffen against multiple percussion ideas to underpin a vocal blend that still owed its soul to gospel and doo wop. (If this makes you think of the Isley Brothers of "That Lady," you're on the right track.)

Bloodstone received no record company interest in L.A., however, so at the advice of its manager, the group relocated to London in 1971. There, they teamed up with Mike Vernon, founder of the Blue Horizon label, who'd made his bones producing an album with the great Chicago pianist Otis Spann; white blues acts like Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown; and early Euro-rock with Focus. Vernon took Bloodstone into the studio and by early 1973, its debut single, "Natural High," had cracked the R&B and pop Top Ten, becoming the group's defining song.

Vernon produced the first five Bloodstone albums, which garnered seven Top 20 R&B singles, almost all of which made the pop Top 40. The group was a big concert draw, and its album sold well, if not spectacularly. Somehow, all of this was parlayed into a 1975 film deal. Train Ride to Hollywood is arguably the funniest picture of the whole '70s blaxploitation film boom, derived in equal parts from the Marx Brothers and such early spoofs as The Palm Beach Story and International House. Somehow, amidst the slapstick and the reefer jokes, Bloodstone wedges in a fairly complete history of black vocal harmony music from the Mills Brothers to the Coasters to their own bad selves. They do it even better on the soundtrack album. (All of the Vernon-produced Bloodstone albums contain versions of '50s and '60s oldies.)

The group then faded from popular view, despite a brief stint at Motown, until the early '80s, when it hooked up with the Isley Brothers' T-Neck and scored a commercially and artistically successful album, We Go a Long Way Back, produced by the Brothers. The title track returned them to the R&B Top Ten in 1982, but although several other T-Neck singles charted, the group's recording career essentially ended there. Nevertheless, this heartland group had made a significant mark and can lay fair claim to being one of the first to figure out its particular era's future. Allmusic by Dave Marsh

Album: Bloodstone (1972)

01. Sadie Mae
02. Take These Chains
03. You Don't Mean Nothin'
04. Little Green Apples
05. This Thing Is Heavy
06. Friendship
07. Lady Of The Night
08. Dumb Dude

Album: Natural High (1973)

01. You Know We've Learned
02. Who Has the Last Laugh Now
03. Peter's Jones
04. That's the Way We Make Our Music
05. Damn That Rock & Roll: Bo Diddley/Diddley Daddy
06. Natural High
07. I Need Your Love
08. Tell It to My Face
09. Ran It in the Ground
10. Never Let You Go
11. Girl (You Look So Fine)
12. Judy, Judy
13. Sadie Mae
14. Take These Chains
15. You Don't Mean Nothin'
16. Little Green Apples

Album: Unreal (1974)

01. Outside Woman
02. What Did You Do to Me?, Pt. 1 & 2
03. Unreal
04. Everybody Needs Love
05. Something
06. Keep Our Own Thing Together
07. Let Me Ride
08. The Traffic Cop (Dance)
09. Moulded Oldies

Album: I Need Time (1974)

01. Closer Together
02. Funky Park
03. That's Not How It Goes
04. Out Of My Life
05. Loving You Is Just A Pastime
06. I Need Time
07. Little Linda
08. Believe You Now
09. Get Up (Or Get Out)
10. We Did It

Album: Riddle Of The Sphinx (1975)

01. Intro - Proposed The Sphinx
02. For The First Time
03. I Just Learned To Walk
04. Sign For Me Dad
05. My Little Lady
06. Something's Missing
07. A Time For Reflection
08. This World Is Funky
09. Young Times, Old Times
10. Wasted Time (Theme From 'Riddle Of The Sphinx')
11. Nobody But You
12. Save Me
13. The Still

Album: Do You Wanna Do A Thing (1976)

01. Stand Up, Let's Party
02. If You Wanna Be My Baby
03. Just Like In The Movies
04. Do You Wanna Do A Thing
05. Shake The Building
06. This Is It
07. When We're Doin' It
08. Give Me Your Heart

Album: Lullaby Of Broadway (1976)

01. Lullaby Of Broadway
02. Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)
03. On The Street Where You Live
04. I Guess I'll Get The Paper And Go Home
05. Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue
06. I Found A Million Dollar Baby
07. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
08. Baby Face
09. Cheek To Cheek
10. Prisoner Of Love

Album: Train Ride To Hollywood (1976)

01. As Time Goes By
02. Yakety Yak
03. Train Ride
04. What Do I Have To Do
05. Hooray For Romance
06. Rock & Roll Choo Choo
07. Go To Sleep
08. Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye
09. I'm In Shape
10. Sh-Boom
11. Money (That's What I Want)

Album: Dont Stop! (1978)

01. Don't Stop
02. I'm Just Doing My Job
03. Throw a Little Bit of Love My Way
04. It's All Been Said Before
05. She Wants to Hear the Words
06. Just Wanna Get the Feel of It
07. You Bring Out the Best in Me
08. It's Been a Long Time

Album: We Go A Long Way Back (1982)

01. Go On And Cry
02. How Does It Feel
03. We Go A Long Way Back
04. Funkin' Around
05. My Kind Of Woman
06. My Love Grows Stronger
07. Nite Time Fun

Album: Party (1984)

01. Bloodstone's Party
02. Feel The Heat
03. Contagious
04. Men Need Tenderness Too
05. Instant Love
06. It Feel So Good (With You)
07. I Adore You
08. Why By The First One Home

Album: The Ultimate Collection (1996)

01. Who Has the Last Laugh Now
02. You're Still a Young Man
03. Hypnotized
04. I'll Be Holding On
05. Natural High
06. We Go a Long Way Back
07. I Love You for All Seasons
08. It Should Have Been Me
09. Tell Her
10. Outside Woman
11. Show the World
12. Mary
13. I Love You
14. The Tables Have Turned
15. Do Me
16. Night Flight
17. Never Let You Go

Album: Go On And Cry (1999)

01. Go On And Cry
02. How Does It Feel
03. We Go A Long Way Back
04. My Kind Of Woman
05. Nite Time Fun
06. My Love Grows Stronger
07. Funkin' Around
08. Bloodstone's Party
09. Instant Love
10. It Feels So Good {With You)


1 comment:

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