Thursday, February 06, 2014

Thursday Essay Question: Special An Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Good Edition

All late '60s/early '70s horn bands -- with the single exception of the original Blood Sweat and Tears with Al Kooper -- suck big time.


I should add that the above song -- which popped into my head, completely unbidden, yesterday -- is what inspired today's post.

God, that song sucks.


Sal Nunziato said...

In June of 2012, I bought a dream record collection of approx. 7,000 LPs. I've sold most. I kept plenty. And in storage there is one box left of nothing but Lighthouse LPs.

BUT...I will make a case for the first two Chicago LPs. I actually like the first eight, but I will only make a case for the first two.

Also, Sons Of Champlin-Loosen Up Naturally is not terrible.

"One Fine Morning" is indeed cringe-making.

FD13NYC said...

I disagree, the song's not that bad. Vehicle by Ides Of March is pretty driving. I went up to 11 with Chicago. Of course the first BS&T's album is sort of a classic.

Gummo said...

Oh, wow, haven't heard this one in decades. As a David Clayton-Thomas-style BS&T ripoff, it's pretty good.

I mean, it's catchy, fun and harmless. Sometimes that's enough.

Shriner said...

I would agree "One Fine Morning" is a passable song. Not as good as "Vehicle", though.

But these were one-off singles. No idea if the albums are not

Anonymous said...

The first CTA album isn't to shabby.


Ken J Xenozar said...

The lyrics are not compelling. But I did listen twice. So no. Not bad. There are much worse offenders.

steve simels said...

The Lighthouse drummer -- who may be the singer, too, I can't recall -- was earlier in a vastly superior Canadian folk rock band called the Paupers.

Made one classic psych single called "Magic People."

Sal Nunziato said...

"Skip Prokop also drums in a London, Ontario rock/funk/Christian band called Mercy Train. He is currently working on smooth jazz album with IAM Studios in Brantford, Ontario, to be released in 2012 titled The Smooth Side Of Skip Prokop."

This guy sounds like a blast.

Anonymous said...

Also, Sons Of Champlin-Loosen Up Naturally is not terrible.

Agreed. Although I don't know if it holds up without any mind-altering substances to help it along.

Okay, it's the 80's not the 70's but I always liked Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.

buzzbabyjesus said...

It's no worse than half of what you plug here.

steve simels said...

Probably true.

Billy B said...

I love the tune. Always have. So blow me.

Also the first few Chicago albums were great. Still listen to them. So blow me, again.

Anonymous said...

The lead singer on "One Fine Morning" wasn't actually the drummer Skip Prokop; it was Bob McBride. McBride had a really good voice and made several solo albums after he left Lighthouse in "73. Unfortunately, his post-Lighthouse career was also a story of cocaine- and heroin-addiction, robberies, disease and a head injury. He died in 1998 from a heart attack, at age 51. If you want to read the sad details of this talented man's life, check:

J. Lag

steve simels said...

Just in case anybody wondered, I was obviously being difficult about this.

J.Lag -- how terribly sad about the Lighthouse singer.

And finally, and this not hyperbole, but nothing in the entire history of suckitude sucks as badly as the David Clayton Thomas version of BST.

"Lucretia McEvil" my pasty white Jewish ass.

Sal Nunziato said...

"nothing in the entire history of suckitude sucks as badly as the David Clayton Thomas version of BST."

As I live and wheeze, I said almost those exact words on Monday when a friend tried to convince me otherwise.

This adds to my hatred of BST..if I may...

Years ago I went to a short-lived comedy club on Broome and Mercer. 1994, maybe. It was me and my wife at one table and 12 extremely loud and rude people at another. That was it. The comedian? A very young and unknown Jon Stewart. He was basically playing for us because the table of 12 were drunk and yakking amongst themselves.

Stewart finally asked, "So what's so important over there?" (or something like that.) And some douche got up and said, "We are celebrating the 25th anniversary tour of Blood, Sweat & Tears. What's it to you?" It was David Clayton Thomas.

I wish I could remember Stewart's come back, but I can't. I just remember the three of us rolling our eyes and probably thinking, "Who the fuck cares?"

Anonymous said...

Ooh, Stevie, you just so damn bad...

J. Lag

steve simels said...

Sal --

I really was glad that Steve Katz got rich off of BS&T -- all the members of the original Blues Project should be on Mount fucking Rushmore, in my opinion.

That said, BS&T with Clayton-Thomas were beyond awful.

Elroy said...

Got to add one more vote for several of the earlier Chicago albums.

Of course as a high school band trombone player, Chicago was about the only cool trombone music you could hear on the radio then.

Anonymous said...


Were you with me when I saw Lighthouse open up for the Dave Ball version of Procol Harum in Passaic, NJ in 1972?

I remember Lighthouse not offending but not being the least bit interesting.

Also I think you are overestimated the value of the two Pauper albums. I downloaded them a few months ago and found them ok at best. The one track I really love by them is "Think I Care".

Allan R.

steve simels said...

Al --

Don't recall seeing Lighthouse with you.

As far as the Paupers, their second album has almost totally different personnel than the first and completely sucks. The first one is a period piece, but with a couple of good tracks, including "Magic People."

Dave said...

Since this is an essay question, I guess I need a thematic statement. Mine is: I disagree with the assertion. There are several examples of one-hit wonders where horns were crucial to their success: the aforementioned Ides of March, the Spiral Staircase and the metaphysical "I Love You More Today than Yesterday," to the crucial horns of the Bar-Kays ("Soul Finger") and Mar-Keys.

But couldn't you call Sly & the Family Stone a horn band just as much as Chicago or BST? How about James Brown's band(s)? How about the Average White Band (which had some highs along with the dull)? Southside Johnny & the Asbury Dukes?

Even if you don't accept any of the above as horn bands, as I do, how about the transcendent Harvey Scales and the 7 Sounds?

steve simels said...

I think the Beatles "Got to Get You Into My Life" qualifies as horn band.

No larger point, just saying.

Sal Nunziato said...

"But couldn't you call Sly & the Family Stone a horn band just as much as Chicago or BST? How about James Brown's band(s)? How about the Average White Band (which had some highs along with the dull)? Southside Johnny & the Asbury Dukes?"

No. No. No. No. No.

Guitar, bass and drums. Power trio? Not if it's John Mayer, Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan.

I think the "horn bands" used the instruments the way rock bands used guitars. Sly's music never relied on the brass. None of the bands you mention, Dave, relied on the brass. Maybe JB, but I won't touch his work.

I think there is a huge difference between what BST, Chicago (who I love), Lighthouse, Sons Of Champlin, etc. put out and what Sly, Southside, and AWB put out.

Billy B said...

I didn't mention I agree completely on BS&T. Al Kooper's version was great. David C-T was a clown. I put on "Sympathy for the Devil" once 40 years or so ago and my buddy said he didn't know the song by the Stones but by BS&T. I said, "What?" He played it and I just laughed.

pete said...

"Rock of Ages" - the Band at their peak with horns by Allen Toussaint. For my money nobody touches it. AND they did it live. It's the real Last Waltz.

Dave said...

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, Sal. I remember seeing Sly & the Family Stone right after their first album came out, and I think it's fair to say that the brass was almost as important to them as CTA in its early days. It's announced in the opening notes of their first hit, "Dance To the Music." Believe me, they weren't using the brass as accents. (The bass and keyboards were crucial to their sound, of course).

In interviews, Al Kooper often talks about how BS&T (as opposed to the Blues Project) were inspired by the brass arrangements in the Buckinghams's records. And over the years, BS&T post-Kooper have toured with the Buckinghams.

But my beef isn't with you, Sal. It's with Steve's soul-music exemption, which I am going to reverse in a class-action suit. :-)

GLLinMO said...

Everyone’s got opinions with their own personal exectpions. Where would Aerosmith’s comeback have been without some horn laden songs. Ok – SS has a point.
But my favorite Alice Cooper song – Elected – is quite horn laden. Wouldn’t change a thing. Esp with the promo video from ’72. A politician that admitted they were slimey. Love it.

Mark said...

I'm partial to some of IF's albums, and especially 1972's WATERFALL album on Metromedia.

And coming from the other end of the spectrum, Don Ellis' 1970 Columbia album, AT THE FILLMORE, was pretty good.

I recall having seen BS&T with Al Kooper (for me, a big Blues Project fan, a natural decision), and then going to see BS&T again (at Queens College, I think), where it was announced that Al Kooper was no longer with the band (the audience, including myself, booed) and that a Canadian singer, David Clayton-Thomas, would now lead BS&T (again, booing).

BS&T with DC-T, at Queens College, and at the beginning (at least) were pretty powerful. No CHILD IS THE FATHER TO MAN stuff, but pretty powerful anyway.

Anonymous said...

Skip Prokop was also the drummer the Live Adventures of Kooper and Bloomfield, I think.

Chicago ruled b/c they sang reasonably well. Chase, the Flock, Colloseum, Tower of Power, Cold Blood, even If who I liked, were all vocally challenged. About the only other one that wasn't challenged was Osibisa, and only the first album was a real keeper.