Formed 1967 by Al Kooper after quitting The Blues Project, it was intended to be BP+Horns, but the horns would akin to a big band, integral and prevalent, rather than the punctuation or interlocutor of an R'n'B context; a band called CTA also had this idea. This version lasted for one LP, Child Is Father to the Man, before the band mutinied and fired Kooper. With new lead singer David Clayton-Thomas, they became an OK pop band, with hits like "Spinning Wheel".


In addition to the great design work on the cover of their Child Is Father to the Man album, where each band member was shown with a puppet version of himself sitting in his lap, this is one of those efforts from the early days of modern music that still stands the test of time. In fact, it was way too good for its time. I don't think this album sold near as well as the later, more schmaltzy work, with David Clayton-Thomas.

You should give this a listen if you can get your hands on it. Steve Katz was the guitarist and vocalist, along with Al Kooper who also played the keyboards. The rhythm section was excellent, with Jim Fielder on bass and Bobby Colomby on drums. A future jazz all-star, Randy Brecker, did the trumpet work. It has an Overture opening written by Al Kooper, and then several very good songs. My favorites are Morning Glory, "Without Her" (written by Harry Nilsson), "Meagan's Gypsy Eyes" (a Katz song), and "House in the Country" (Kooper). It came out in February of 1968 and I saw them play this entire album live in 1970. They did a fairly respectable job with these quite complex arrangements.

The phrase "blood, sweat, and tears" derives from a speech Winston Churchill gave before the House of Commons on May 13, 1940. Churchill had just become prime minister and it was his first public statement. With his nation facing the greatest threat it had ever encountered, Churchill told the British people, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." This phrase, usually shortened to "blood, sweat, and tears," came to stand for Britain's spirit of resistance against the Nazis in her darkest hour.

I often bleed at work. Three of the five main tools I use are sharp. The dough cutter I use to smooth the backs of the tiles often catches an edge. I press it at an angle against the mold to make a coherent back and if I pull the edge too close, it can gash my fingers with the metal plate. The knife is a hazard if I use it upside down. The sharp tips of my trimming tools can jab me as I work on the surface of the slab roller. They poke and prod as I slide and spin the plaster molds. I bleed and my blood drips into the clay, into the tiles I am making to go into some kitchen somewhere. My fingers are of no danger to me.

I sweat because I work next to three kilns that fire to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. The sweat drips into the clay too. On humid days I consume gallons of water and I think the tiles should be worth more because of this. These tiles have my sweat and dry quick in the molds, so I don’t have to wait long to trim and smooth.

I cry because sometimes the tide of emotion turns inside out. I just go through the motions: wedge clay, roll it out, press it into the molds with my fingers, cover it with canvas, pound canvas and mound of clay into mold, scrape off excess clay, put a hook in the back, wait to dry, tap out, slice off the excess edges making a straight line, recycle excess clay into a plastic bag behind me, take off all bubbles in nooks and crannies with kemper knocker 423, smooth out lines and blemishes with smoother-outer, slap middle with the palm of my hand to prevent warping, rest on drying rack with delicate ease. Cry.

Cry for all the sorrow swallowed as a little boy making clay snakes on the back of encyclopedias. Kneeling on the rust covered landing of home, where the stairs turn I couldn’t have known. I weep for all the crushed dreams and the apathy anger that cursed the follow. Yearn for arms that might be able to hug. My lost opportunity eye leak falls into the clay and these tears I think are for free.

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