Blood Sweat And Tears – Go Down Gamblin’

4d“Blood Sweat and Tears” has always been one of my top bands of the era. One that should be more remembered than it is and this song is definitely one of their under appreciated offerings. You rarely ever hear Go Down Gamblin’ on classic rock or oldies radio stations about the only song of theirs that ever gets any air time. The problem with BS&T was many rock fans didn’t consider them to be a real rock band. People who actually bought their records didn’t much care either way. The band started as an idea conceived by Al Kooper in July of 1967. On Al Kooper’s book “Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards”, he said, “One particular night, Jimi Hendrix, B.B King, myself, and an unidentified drummer and bass player were going at it all night at the Cafe Au Go Go. At daybreak, when we finished playing, they put the house lights on and somebody observed, “Christ! Look at the organ! There’s blood all over the keyboard!”. Sure enough, I had cut my hand playing, and in the state of bliss induced by my compatriot’s sound had not felt a thing. What a great album cover, I thought. No. What a great name for a band”. Then Al Kooper had been toying with notion, growing out of his admiration for Maynard Ferguson, of forming an electric rock band that would include horns and use jazz as the basis for their work. No American rock group ever started with as much daring or musical promise as BS&T or realized their potential more fully and then blew it all as quickly. From their origins as a jazz-rock experiment that wowed critics and listeners, they went on in a somewhat more pop vein to sell almost six million records in three years but ended up being dropped by their record label years after. Nevertheless most people were surprised when singer David Clayton-Thomas picked up electric guitar for Go Down Gamblin’ way back in 71s. The composition was definitely the loudest track of them ever put on vinyl. It’s about a gambler who never wins at any game he plays, yet he doesn’t feel like a loser because even though the “cards are ‘bound to break me I’ve been called a natural lover by that lady over there”. So in the protagonist’s world, all is well. Unfortunately, this song didn’t do a thing for the band’s reputation. It still wasn’t hard enough for the rockers, and it was an additional excuse for the jazzers to write them off completely. Yep, gamblers never win, dude. (nDy)

Album yg lama masuk dalam daftar paling dicari, akhirnya kudapat di Paddy’s Market di Sydney seharga 2 dolar Aussie saja, walau edisi remastered. Melengkapi koleksi pribadi seperti album konser Michael Franks & Crossfire, album New York Rio Tokyo milik Trio Rio yg ongkos kirimnya lebih mahal krn Euro dari Jerman langsung, padahal harga CD cuma AU $90 atau setara Rp 800 ribuan. Atau CD termahalku hasil menang lelang di e-bay, album Hunting Of The Snark versi orisinal karya Mike Batts nyaris 2 jutaan rupiah. Maka meskipun cuma 2 dolar atau belasan ribu rupiah, album Blood, Sweat & Tears IV ini paling berkesan. BS&T didirikan Al Kooper setelah bantu Bob Dylan untuk single “Like a Rolling Stone”, padahal Al sejatinya gitaris. Ia punya obsesi bikin ensamble blues megah mirip Maynard Ferguson, bersemangat ala pasukan tiup James Brown. Jadilah racikan gado2 unik dgn nama ajaib, Blood Sweat and Tears. Suatu ketika Al bareng Jimi Hendrix dan BB King bermusik santai di Cafe Au Go Go di New York. Setelah main, ada penonton berteriak, “Tuts organ-nya berdarah”. Rupanya jari Al terluka dan membekas, lalu disorot lampu remang kafe jadi dramatis. “Wah keren buat foto album”, kata Jimi. Lalu Al menanggapi, “Lebih keren lagi untuk nama sebuah grup baru”, seperti dikutip dari buku, “Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards”. Catatan yg juga menjelaskan kenapa Al minggat dari band yg dibentuknya dgn istilah “backstabbing bastards” alias ditikam dari belakang. BS&T merupakan kelompok unik yg memadukan semua ramuan musik dan elemen canggih di jamannya, blues, rock, jazz, funk, balada, prog, bahkan klasik. Justru berbalik menyulitkan reputasi mereka sbg musisi jenis apa, semua gara2 ide liar Al Kooper. BS&T pula yg mempelopori kelahiran genre serupa lewat kelompok Chicago setahun kemudian, lalu Tower of Power, hingga Chase. BS&T juga musisi yg diundang tampil gagah di Festival Woodstock 1969, sejumlah pentas rock maupun konser jazz berwibawa di planet ini. BS&T jadi alasan terbaik buatku kenapa musik 60/ 70an tak akan pernah mati. (nDy)

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