Bloodrock was an American hard rock band based in Fort Worth, Texas, that had success in the 1970s. The band emerged from the Fort Worth club and music scene during the early to mid-1970s.
Bloodrock initially formed in Fort Worth in 1963, under the name the Naturals. This first lineup featured Jim Rutledge – drums/vocals, Nick Taylor (1946-2010) – guitar/vocals, Ed Grundy – bass/vocals, and Dean Parks – guitar. They released their first single in 1965 “Hey Girl” b/w “I Want You” (Rebel MME 1003). Shortly thereafter they changed their name to Crowd + 1 and released three more singles: “Mary Ann Regrets” b/w “Whatcha Tryin’ to Do to Me” (BOX 6604), “Don’t Hold Back” b/w “Try,” and “Circles” b/w “Most Peculiar Things.”
In 1967, Parks left Crowd +1 to become the musical director for The Sonny & Cher Show (the beginning of a long career as a session musician). He was replaced by Lee Pickens on guitar. It was also at this time that Stevie Hill joined the group on keyboards and vocals. They continued as Crowd + 1 until 1969 when they changed their name to Bloodrock, conceived by Grand Funk Railroad manager/producer Terry Knight. They also recorded their first album under Knight, Bloodrock (Capitol ST-435). The album, released in March 1970, peaked at 160 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 1970, Rutledge moved from behind the drum set to take on lead vocal duties exclusively. Rick Cobb took over the percussive duties and added his voice to the group as well. This lineup recorded their next four albums: Bloodrock 2 (ST-491), Bloodrock 3 (ST-765), Bloodrock USA (SMAS 645), and Bloodrock Live (SVBB-11038).
Bloodrock 2 was their most successful album peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart in 1971, mostly on the strength of their single “D.O.A.”, which reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 6, 1971. “D.O.A.” also gave the band considerable regional exposure throughout the Southwest and West, particularly in Texas and Southern California. “D.O.A.” was probably the band’s most well-known and well-remembered single. However, some radio stations would not play the song because of the use of sirens. The concern was that the siren sound would confuse motorists.The motivation for writing this song was explained in 2005 by guitarist Lee Pickens. “When I was 17, I wanted to be an airline pilot,” Pickens said. “I had just gotten out of this airplane with a friend of mine, at this little airport, and I watched him take off. He went about 200 feet in the air, rolled and crashed.” The band decided to write a song around the incident and include it on their second album.
In 1972 Lee Pickens left to form the Lee Pickens Group and released the album LPG in 1973 on Capitol Records. Jim Rutledge also left Bloodrock in 1972, later releasing a solo album in 1976 on Capitol Records titled Hooray for Good Times. Bloodrock replaced Rutledge on vocals and guitar with Warren Ham on vocals, flute and saxophone. Stevie Hill on keyboards adjusted to Ham’s presence by shifting his own style. These changes to personnel and style moved the hard rock sound of the band in a lighter direction, more toward progressive rock, pop and jazz, alienating some fans. The subsequent album, Passage was the last time Bloodrock visited the charts. It peaked at number 104 on the Billboard 200 in 1972.
1973 brought another personnel change: Rick Cobb vacated the drums to be replaced by Randy Reader. This line up recorded one album: Whirlwind Tongues (1974).
The end of the road for Bloodrock came in 1975. Randy Reader left the group and an album, Unspoken Words, remained unreleased until 2000, when it was included as part of the CD release Triptych (along with Passage and Whirlwind Tongues). Unspoken Words featured Bill Ham (Warren’s Brother) and Matt Betton.
A reunion concert featuring all five members of the original lineup (Jim Rutledge, Lee Pickens, Ed Grundy, Nick Taylor, and Stevie Hill), plus Chris Taylor (Nick’s son) in place of drummer Rick Cobb III from the classic six-member lineup, was held on March 12, 2005, in Fort Worth, for the benefit of their keyboardist Stevie Hill, to help with medical costs related to his combating leukemia. The reunion concert was filmed and released on DVD. Stevie Hill died on September 12, 2013, from leukemia.
Bloodrock’s music has been categorized primarily as hard rock. Bloodrock’s 1970 self-titled debut album was described in the context of hard rock and early heavy metal by AllMusic’s Donald A. Guarisco. Bloodrock 2 was not as morbid and heavy, and more of a chart success, while Bloodrock 3 and Bloodrock U.S.A. saw the band introduce progressive rock elements. The band’s 1972 personnel changes shifted them toward prog rock, jazz and pop music.
Bloodrock 3 is the third album by the Texan rock band Bloodrock, released on Capitol Records in April 1971. (by wikipedia)
On their third album, Bloodrock makes a full return to the ominous hard-rocking sound that made their debut album such a solid release. For proof, look no further than “Whiskey Vengeance”: This gutsy rocker starts with a creepy wordless vocal intro, then breaks into a galloping riff that provides a blood-pumping backdrop for its tale of heartless revenge. Bloodrock 3 also plays up the progressive edge to the group’s sound that was only hinted at on previous songs like “Melvin Laid an Egg” and “D.O.A.” For instance, the album opener, “Jessica,” boasts some instrumental breaks that throw out surprisingly intricate riffs at breakneck speed. “Breach of Lease” is another prog-ish cut that runs for nine minutes, but manages to avoid wearing out its welcome through a carefully crafted arrangement that alternates eerie, quiet organ-led verses with a pulse-pounding chorus. Bloodrock also continues their Grand Funk-like attempts at social commentary with “Song for a Brother” and “America, America”:
The lyrics are a bit simplistic but are straightforward enough to get the point across and further benefit from being backed by energetic, well-arranged music. The group still has trouble with its ballads, though: “A Certain Kind” has a pretty piano-led melody but suffers from generic, mawkish love lyrics and a strained high-range vocal from Jim Rutledge. Despite occasional lapses like this, Bloodrock 3 is an effective hard rock album that boasts tight arrangements and a spirited performance by the band. It’s not for the casual listener, but anyone who enjoyed “D.O.A.” will probably enjoy this album. (by Donald A. Guarisco)
Oh yes … I enjoy this album very much !
Rick Cobb (drums, percussion, vocals)
Ed Grundy (bass, vocals)
Stephen Hill (keyboards, vocals)
Lee Pickens (guitar, vocals)
Jim Rutledge (vocals)
Nick Taylor (guitar, vocals)
01. Jessica (Nitzinger) 4.46
02. Whiskey Vengeance (Grundy/Rutledge/Cobb/Hill) 4.13
03. Song For A Brother (Hill) 5.19
04. You Gotta Roll (Rutledge/Nitzinger/Hill) 5.09
05. Breach Of Lease (Grundy/Rutledge/Nitzinger/Cobb/Hill) 9.03
06. Kool-Aid Kids (Nitzinger) 6.29
07. A Certain Kind (*) (Hopper) 4.19
08. America, America (Grundy/Cobb) 1.24
This song was originally performed by Soft Machine !