Blood, Sweat & Tears

New City

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In the late '60s and early '70s, Blood, Sweat & Tears was at the forefront of the rock with horns movement. But after lead singer David Clayton-Thomas' 1972 departure, both he and the band lost their commercial footing. New City finds Clayton-Thomas reconvening with Blood, Sweat & Tears after a three-year absence. Jimmy Ienner, who produced hits with the Raspberries, Grand Funk Railroad, and Three Dog Night, is behind the boards for this 1975 album. It does sound promising, but, in all honesty, New City fortunes seemed doomed from the start. The cover of the Blues Image's "Ride Captain Ride" turns out to be more than a perfunctory exercise and gives the band a chance to show its jazz chops, and Clayton-Thomas wails to his heart's content. Allan Toussaint's "Life" gets an irreverent and funky treatment. Strangely enough, the workouts on here pale in comparison to the ballads. The best track, the poignant "I Was a Witness to a War," is delicately arranged in the perfect key for Clayton-Thomas' subdued vocals. Janis Ian's "Applause" sustains interest, even as Clayton-Thomas' dramatic flourishes make Richard Harris seem remote. After a few ho-hum tracks, this closes with an energetic but anti-climatic cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life." Although New City failed to get the band back to the top of the charts, a listener might be pleasantly surprised to hear that the band did proceed through the '70s accordingly.

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