Blood, Sweat & Tears – Complete Columbia Singles (review)

Blood, Sweat & Tears – The Complete Columbia Singles (Real Gone Music)

All the A & B sides from the peak years of Blood, Sweat & Tears

Blood, Sweat & Tears had two Platinum and three Gold Albums, two of which went all the way to number one, yet this marks the first time that all their singles, including B sides, are available in one collection.  The real selling point for The Complete Columbia Singles is the first eight tracks on disc one, which collect both sides of their first four singles, all available in their original, mono format.

“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “And When I Die,” and “Spinning Wheel” all went to number two on the charts in 1969, and all sound punchier in their single versions.  “Spinning Wheel” is especially nice – the mix has less echo, and although shorter than the album version, it does contain a guitar solo that’s unique to the single mix.

Nothing else on this collection matches the dizzying heights of that trio of hits, but there’s still plenty of good material to delve into – the gospel-infused “Hi-De-Ho” and the hard-rocking “Lucretia Mac Evil” were highlights from their next album, while the charging “Go Down Gamblin’” and the soulful “Lisa, Listen to Me” should’ve been bigger hits.

Disc two opens with a new lead singer – David Clayton Thomas exited and was replaced by a similarly gruff-voiced Jerry Fisher.  “So Long Dixie” is an okay ballad that sounds like a Chicago outtake, while “Roller Coaster,” with its funky groove, is one of the big surprises.  “Tell Me That I’m Wrong” sounds like Philly soul.

Clayton-Thomas returns for the excellent Beatles’ cover, “Got to Get You Into My Life,” which surely had to be inspiration for another horn-based band that was just starting out, Earth, Wind & Fire.

The inclusion of all the B sides adds more flavor to the disc – “House in the Country” sounds like something from Dr. Demento, while “Blues Part II” takes “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Spoonful” and melds them together.  There’s a nice page in the booklet devoted to some of the behind the scenes of these lesser-known tracks.

All the hits, plus some oddball rarities makes The Complete Columbia Singles an excellent Blood, Sweat & Tears collection.  —Tony Peters