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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Jazz > Vocal > Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969/Super Audio Compact Disc/SA-CD/SACD Stereo Version/Columbia Records)

Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969/Super Audio Compact Disc/SA-CD/SACD Stereo Version/Columbia Records)


DSD 2.0 Stereo Sound: B+     Music: B



The Best Album Grammy Winner in 1969, the second album by the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, a self-titled release, was also a huge mega-hit and after being established by Al Kooper on their debut album, producer James William Guercio took over and the band found themselves one of the hottest bands around.  Sony issued the Super Audio Compact Disc of the classic in their advanced DSD (Direct Stream Digital) sound format that will only play on SA-CD (aka SACD) players and even Playstation 3 machines.


The songs include the following:


1)     Variations On A Theme By Erik Satin (1ST & 2ND Movements)

2)     Smiling Phases

3)     Sometimes In Winter

4)     More & More

5)     And When I Die

6)     God Bless The Child

7)     Spinning Wheel

8)     You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

9)     Blues – Part II

10)  Variations On A Theme By Erik Satin (1st Movement)


11)  More & More (live)

12)  Smiling Phases (live)



Along with new lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, the big three hits from this album (tracks 5, 7 and 8) put a new kind of Jazz/Rock/Pop sound on the map and Guercio would continue making it for this on their follow-up album, plus the first eleven albums for Chicago.  It is a sound that was new, fresh, distinct and palpable.  Though some songs on this album are better than others of the remaining tracks (6 is the big mistake here) including some instrumental works, it is enough of a classic that its release on Super Audio CD makes sense.


You would think that the hits being played millions of times and counting all over the radio worldwide would make them tired and boring, but the great thing about an SA-CD like this is that it is like you never heard them before.  Though there is sadly no 5.1 mix, the DSAD 2.0 Stereo is a big surprise in its clarity, warmth, detail, depth and richness to two-channels.  My previous references for Guercio in a high definition audio format are the out of print, exceptional and now very collectible DVD-Audio releases by Rhino Records of Chicago (aka Chicago II) and Chicago V, which are great older releases, but the tape sources can sound a bit worn.  That is amazingly not the case here.


Instead, you will find it hard to believe these recordings are 40 years old now.  They sound clean, clear and even fresh, with Thomas’ vocals even better than you might have first considered.  The result is one of the best two-channel SA-CD back catalog releases to date.  Today, this album and the band are still popular enough that their titles stay in print and if you are interested in B, S & T as they are also referred to as, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs have reissued this very album and issued the third album (simply called 3) in the SA-CD format as we.  However, Sony’s first version of this classic on SA-CD is smooth and an audiophile winner.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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