Music Memories 8: Blood, Sweat & Tears

Blood, Sweat & Tears: You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

Self-titled album
Self-titled album

The first time I heard Blood, Sweat & Tears was when I was a student at IU in Bloomington. They had just released their second album Blood, Sweat & Tears and the song You’ve Made Me So Very Happy was getting radio air play. It may be a false memory, but it seems to me that when I first heard the song, a few friends and I were in the married housing trailer of Chuck and Lois, sitting around, drinking beer, and just generally acting like college kids. As I recall, it was me, Chuck, Jerry, and Hank.

When we would go to their trailer, Lois would greet us and then go into the bedroom and close the door until we left. She must have been soooo happy to see us show up on their doorstep, often unannounced. I better understand her actions now. When Cindy’s friends come over to play cards, I retreat either to the bedroom or basement and close the door. I do that to avoid the cigarette smoke, the loud voices, and the coarse language. Let me say a belated, “Sorry,” to Lois. 

Once when we were there, drinking beer and having a good time, Jerry decided to regale us with stories from his days as an alter boy. My goodness, the things those lads got up to. At some point Jerry decided to tell us about a Catholic mass. Jerry substituted potato chips for the host and a can of beer for the wine. Being protestants, Hank and I were paying close attention to this bit of arcana. But, being a little worse for wear, since we had been imbibing for quite a while, Jerry picked up a beer can and took a huge gulp of wine substitute. Wrong beer can. Jerry had grabbed a can that Hank and I were using as an ash tray, and he wallowed soggy ashes and at least one cigarette butt. The mass came to an early end. For years after, Hank called it Jerry’s black mass.

Back to B,S&T. I stopped buying their albums after their fourth or fifth. It seemed to me that they were losing their creativity. Then, a few years later, I saw them on Soundstage with Janis Ian. By golly, they sounded great to me, and I bought their then current album as well as the next two or so. Over the years they have given me a great deal of pleasure. I still listen to their albums on a regular basis, and every once in a while, when I hear You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, I think of Jerry’s black mass.