Child Is Father to the Man is the debut album by Blood, Sweat & Tears, released in February 1968. It reached number 47 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart in the United States.
A teenaged Al Kooper went to a concert for jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson in 1960. Ferguson’s performance served as the catalyst to start a rock band with a horn section. Originally in a band called The Blues Project, Kooper left after the band leader rejected his idea of bringing in a horn section. He then left for the West Coast and found bassist Jim Fielder who believed in the songs that Kooper wrote. Though Kooper had big ideas for his next project, he didn’t have the money to bring his ideas to fruition. He then threw a benefit for himself and invited several musicians he previously worked with, such as Judy Collins, Simon & Garfunkel, David Blue, Eric Andersen and Richie Havens. All of the performances were sold out, which led Kooper to believe that the gigs helped him. Unfortunately, the owner of the Au Go Go added numerous expenses to the gross receipts that the net receipts after the performance wasn’t enough to get a plane ticket or a taxi to the airport.
He later called Fielder and convinced him to come to New York. He also asked Bobby Colomby, Anderson and Steve Katz, who was his bandmate in his former band The Blues Project. Colomby called Fred Lipsius and the band placed an ad in The Village Voice for more horn players. Within a month, the band assembled an eight piece which also contained Randy Brecker, Jerry Weiss and Dick Halligan. Kooper then asked John Simon to produce them, after being fresh off from producing Simon & Garfunkel’s album Bookends. The album was recorded in two weeks in December 1967. Simon asked all of the members to record their material in one take so he could study songs and make useful suggestions to the arrangements.
After a brief promotional tour, Colomby and Katz ousted Kooper from the band, which led to Child is Father to the Man being the only BS&T album on which Kooper ever appeared. The band would later have a number one album and several Grammys, although Kooper felt they were playing music that he didn’t agree with. Despite being asked to leave Blood, Sweat & Tears, Kooper felt everything worked out well for him and the band.
In the United States Child Is Father to the Man peaked at #47 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart. It failed to generate any Top 40 singles, although “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” and “I Can’t Quit Her” found some play on progressive rock radio.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 264 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The title is a quotation from a similarly titled poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, slightly misquoting a poem by William Wordsworth called “My Heart Leaps Up”. (by wikipedia)
Child Is Father to the Man is keyboard player/singer/arranger Al Kooper’s finest work, an album on which he moves the folk-blues-rock amalgamation of the Blues Project into even wider pastures, taking in classical and jazz elements (including strings and horns), all without losing the pop essence that makes the hybrid work. This is one of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late ’60s, a time when you could borrow styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mix them into what seemed to have the potential to become a new American musical form. It’s Kooper’s bluesy songs, such as “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” and “I Can’t Quit Her,” and his singing that are the primary focus, but the album is an aural delight; listen to the way the bass guitar interacts with the horns on “My Days Are Numbered” or the charming arrangement and Steve Katz’s vocal on Tim Buckley’s “Morning Glory.” Then Kooper sings Harry Nilsson’s “Without Her” over a delicate, jazzy backing with flügelhorn/alto saxophone interplay by Randy Brecker and Fred Lipsius. This is the sound of a group of virtuosos enjoying itself in the newly open possibilities of pop music. Maybe it couldn’t have lasted; anyway, it didn’t. (by William Ruhlmann)
Randy Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Bobby Colomby (drums, percussion, vocals)
Jim Fielder (bass)
Dick Halligan (trombone)
Steve Katz (guitar, lute, vocals)
Al Kooper (keyboards, ondioline, vocals)
Fred Lipsius (piano, saxophone)
Jerry Weiss (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals)
Anahid Ajemian (violin)
Fred Catero (sound effects)
Harold Coletta (viola)
Paul Gershman (violin)
Al Gorgoni (organ, guitar, vocals)
Manny Green (violin)
Julie Held (violin)
Doug James (shaker)
Harry Katzman (violin)
Leo Kruczek (violin)
Harry Lookofsky (violin)
Charles McCracken (cello)
Melba Moorman (background vocals)
Gene Orloff (violin)
Valerie Simpson (background vocals)
Alan Schulman (cello)
John Simon (keyboards, cowbell)
The Manny Vardi Strings
01. Overture (Kooper) 1.32
02. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know (Kooper) 5.57
03. Morning Glory (Beckett/Buckley) 4.16
04. My Days Are Numbered (Kooper) 3.19
05. Without Her (Nilsson) 2.41
06. Just One Smile (Newman) 4.38
07. I Can’t Quit Her (Kooper/Levine) 3.38
08. Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes (Katz) 3.24
09. Somethin’ Goin’ On (Kooper) 8.00
10. House In The Country (Kooper) 3.04
11. The Modern Adventures Of Plato, Diogenes And Freud (Kooper) 4.12
12. So Much Love/Underture (Goffin/King/Kooper) 4.47