I could be the president of General Motors baby, or just a tiny grain of sand…”
As a founding member of Blood Sweat & Tears, Jim Fielder’s bass playing captivated millions by way of the band’s extraordinary run of hits and classic albums, including the monumental Child Is Father to the Man (1968), and BS&T (1969) both of which were a groundbreaking meld of rock, jazz, rhythm & blues, and pop music. Note: BS&T’s following two releases, creatively entitled 3 (1970), and 4 (1971) respectively, weren’t too shabby either.
The towering Texan also contributed to landmark albums by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention (Absolutely Free), Buffalo Springfield (Again), George Benson (Tell It Like It Is), Tim Buckley (s/t, Goodbye and Hello), Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, and Al Kooper among others.
Profoundly inspired by James Jamerson, Fielder likely helped Fender sell many a Precision bass in the late 1960s as his warm gritty tone, and soulful improvisations within Blood, Sweat & Tears’ amazing repertoire were a constant presence on AM/FM radio. To my ears, Fielder’s best recorded performances with BS &T included “Something’s Goin’ On,” “Smiling Phases,” “Blues Pt. 2” “Lucretia MacEvil,” “John the Baptist (Holy John),” and “Down in the Flood.”
After his time in BS&T, Fielder became Neil Sedaka’s musical director/bassist for several years. Blood Sweat & Tears and their iconic founder Al Kooper are long, long, long overdue for Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame honors.