Bloodstone – 1973 – Unreal
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Another Great Soul band and album.
This is one of my favorite in the 70’s.
A must for the soul brothers.
Bloodstone comprised of:
Charles McCormick (lead vocal, bass guitar)
Charles Love (lead vocal, guitar)
Willis Draffen (vocal, guitar)
Henry Williams (vocal, percussion)
Eddie Summers (drummer)
1. Outside Woman
2. What Did You Do To Me? (Part 1)
3. What Did You Do To Me? (Part 2)
5. Everybody Needs Love
7. Keep Our Own Thing Together
8. Let Me Ride
9. Traffic Cop, The (Dance)
10. Moulded Oldies: Hound Dog / Searchin’ / So Fine
Bloodstone had a long and storied career as a five-piece Soul outfit. They originally started as a Doo Wop group in High School in Kansas City. They then went on the road, landing in Las Vegas before going to LA. There they learned how to play instruments and became an actual band. That wasn’t the end of their journey however. Still not finding any interest by record companies, in 1971 they moved to London where they finally got a record deal and found success. The band shows off their Soul roots with the opening power ballad Outside Woman that sounds a bit like the Chi-Lites. Then there’s the more upbeat What Did You Do To Me? Part 1. Part 2 of the song is a slow grooving, let’s get down and dirty follow up. There’s also the funky Everybody Needs Love that starts off with a drum break. Bloodstone is much better at sticking to their lush Sweet Soul sound however on tracks like Keep Your Own Thing Together and Unreal.
In fact, Bloodstone was a very good funk-soul group using the Hendrix-derived licks of Charles Love and Willis Draffen against multiple percussion ideas to underpin a vocal blend that still owed its soul to gospel and doo wop. Bloodstone received no record company interest in L.A., however, so at the advice of its manager, the group relocated to London in 1971. There, they teamed up with Mike Vernon, founder of the Blue Horizon label, who’d made his bones producing an album with the great Chicago pianist Otis Spann; white blues acts like Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown; and early Euro-rock with Focus. Vernon took Bloodstone into the studio and by early 1973, its debut single, “Natural High,” had cracked the RB and pop Top Ten, becoming the group’s defining song.
Vernon produced the first five Bloodstone albums, which garnered seven Top 20 RB singles, almost all of which made the pop Top 40. The group was a big concert draw, and its album sold well, if not spectacularly. Somehow, all of this was parlayed into a 1975 film deal. Train Ride to Hollywood is arguably the funniest picture of the whole ’70s blaxploitation film boom, derived in equal parts from the Marx Brothers and such early spoofs as The Palm Beach Story and International House. Somehow, amidst the slapstick and the reefer jokes, Bloodstone wedges in a fairly complete history of black vocal harmony music from the Mills Brothers to the Coasters to their own bad selves. They do it even better on the soundtrack album. The group then faded from popular view, despite a brief stint at Motown, until the early ’80s, when it hooked up with the Isley Brothers’ T-Neck and scored a commercially and artistically successful album, We Go a Long Way Back, produced by the Brothers. The title track returned them to the RB Top Ten in 1982, but although several other T-Neck singles charted, the group’s recording career essentially ended there. Nevertheless, this heartland group had made a significant mark and can lay fair claim to being one of the first to figure out its particular era’s future.