Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bloodstone Riddle of the Sphinx London 1974

Bloodstone Riddle of the Sphinx London 1974 CAT# PS654

This appears to be the most ambitious effort from Kansas City's Bloodstone.  It's an attempt at a concept album.  Like most concept albums, it falls apart quickly and just becomes apparent that the concept was only carried through in artwork and the song titles, there's no unraveling or storytelling here; just a solid soul LP with a few spoken word interludes.

They band was playing their own instruments and writing all their own tunes at this time.  They run the gambit in terms of styles.  The first three songs go from silky soul, to black rock, to straight funk.  These 70's Bloodstone albums were exclusively produced by Mike Vernon, who got a crisp sound and allowed for experimentation.  In terms of the black rock movement of the 70's these guys were one of the better groups, blending the Hendrix inspired riffs of Charles Love and Willis Draffen with the vocal style of 60's Motown.  If you think Funkadelic, that's a bit too heavy, Bloodstone only experiments in the style.  It ultimately owes it's greatest due to soul music and the rock moments are few and far between.

I love the plaintive vocals of "Just Learned to Walk" and it's awkward rock style.  "This World is Funky" is solid piece funk with great guitar work.  The rest of the album meanders between MOR 70's funk and and great vocal soul outings.  No doubt, these dudes had a great vocal approach, one of the best at their craft in that regard, "Wasted Time" best exemplifies that aspect of the band.  There are some other definite highlights like the silky smooth, "For the First Time," and the outstanding ballad, "Young Times Old Times."

The World Is Funky
Wasted Time

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