Bloodstone – 1973 – Natural High

Bloodstone Natural High front

Seminal work from Bloodstone, an album that may be the group’s best-remembered effort, and for good reason too! The album sets a whole new standard for harmony soul in the 70s,  one that’s tighter than some of the east coast groups, yet never too slick or polished, kind of a slow-building style that’s filled with warmth, but has some trippier elements on the funky cuts too, a really great mashing of styles that instantly set Bloodstone apart from their contemporaries!

At one level, the group seem to channel the fragile sounds of The Moments/Whatnauts – but at another, they pick up the heavier vibe of the Norman Whitfield-produced groups – with lots of bass at the bottom, and some psych soul production. The album includes their monster track “Natural High”, which has some killer harmonies.

Tracks
A1 You Know We’ve Learned 4:12
A2 Who Has the Last Laugh Now 5:38
A3 Peter’s Jones 4:10
A4 That’s the Way We Make Our Music 3:28
A5 Damn That Rock ‘n’ Roll: Bo Diddley / Diddley Daddy 3:37
B1 Natural High 4:50
B2 I Need Your Love 1:10
B3 Tell It to My Face 3:20
B4 Ran It in the Ground 4:52
B5 Never Let You Go 5:40

Bloodstone Natural High back

One of the first bands to help move soul music from doo wop and Motown slick toward more funk, rock, and gospel influences, Bloodstone’s Natural High is the album that exemplified the emerging ‘Sweet Soul Music’ sound of the 70’s and is a must addition for any representative collection. Admittedly the album does have some filler but as a whole, and especially for the audience intended, it served as one of the great albums that defined this emerging genre.

This album had two legitimate hits: “Natural High“, which went to #10 on the pop chart and #4 on the soul chart, while “Never Let You Go” went #43 and #7, respectively. Other songs on the album deserve some respect as well, especially the plaintive “Who Has the Last Laugh Now” and the clever upbeat intermezzo “I Need Your Love“. Beautiful harmonies with haunting refrains are the highlights of “Ran It in the Ground“.