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Thriller!

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Album Review

Thriller! — Cold Blood's fourth LP — is a continuation on the brass-intensive funky R&B that drove their previous efforts. In contrast to those discs, however, there is very little in the way of original material here, the singular exception being Max Haskett's rollicking "Live Your Dream," which features the Pointer Sisters on backing vocals. This was not the first collaborative effort between the two either, as the vocal trio had also made a few notable contributions to the Sisyphus album. One of the primary distinctions between Cold Blood and their Bay Area contemporaries the Tower of Power is lead vocalist Lydia Pense. She has developed from simply belting out the blues — à la Janis Joplin — to becoming an increasingly sensitive lyrical interpreter without diminishing her prowess or guttural growl. One prime example is her ease and agility on the cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" — which likewise includes some of the finest and most tasteful contributions from the horn section. The same can also be said of their cover of the Band's "Sleeping" — retaining much of the same charm as the original. Cold Blood contrasts the mellow with a few loud funkified fusion numbers, such as the lead track, "Baby I Love You," and "Kissing My Love" — which hearkens directly back to the double-jointed rhythms found in the band's eponymously titled debut album. Another highlight is Raul Matute's Hammond-organ on the classic blues "Feel So Bad" — which is similar to Ray Charles' original reading.

Biography

Formed: 1968 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

A San Francisco-based R&B band originally formed by guitarist Larry Field as the "New Invaders" in the wake of the Summer of Love, Cold Blood had the key elements of strong female vocalist, a fine guitarist, and a powerful horn section. After successful gigs at Golden Gate Park and at the Fillmore, they were signed by impresario Bill Graham to his new San Francisco Records label, on which they released their self-titled debut in 1969. Four more albums followed over the next five years —...
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Thriller!, Cold Blood
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