Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Blood, Sweat & Tooth

David Clayton-Thomas - Soul Ballads (2010); Mike Harrison Meets The Hamburg Blues Band - Touch (2002)

A quick post to highlight two great male vocals - having looked at the ladies - and this pair truly represents greatness and doing so at a more contemporary arc in their long, legendary careers: David Clayton-Thomas, lead vocalist from Blood, Sweat & Tears; and Mike Harrison, lead vocalist from Spooky Tooth.

Both albums are wonderful but significantly different to one another. Soul Ballads is a collection of soul standards like Midnight Train to Georgia; A Change is Gonna Come; People Get Ready, and Dock of the Bay. Clayton-Thomas brings his distinctive vocal to all just above conventional arrangements, his voice never being thrust out and bringing charm and elegance to these covers rather than any dynamic impact. I stress this because it is the tone that controls these songs, all of which have established and iconic original renditions. He performs a beautiful version of the classic Sunny, my favourite on the album.

Touch is a a more rock-focused performance with Harrison's vocal punching out its glorious growl alongside the excellent playing of The Hamburg Blues Band. There are ten original numbers and each is an old-fashioned, rock-simple template over which Harrison and the band construct driving anthems or raw ballads. There is an eleventh track, a live reincarnation of the majestic Spooky Tooth song Waitin' for the Wind.

Both these albums are simply great fun to hear. Nothing original and all the more authentic for this.

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