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Artist: Climax Blues Band
Album: Gold Plated (Sire)
Couldn’t Get it Right was a no. 3 hit for the Climax Blues Band in May of 1977. They shared the charts with Stevie Wonder, with Sir Duke at number one, Leo Sayer with When I Need You at number two. Many will recognize the chorus but have a hard time placing the band:
But i kept on looking for a sign in the middle of the night,
But I couldn’t see the light,
The other song from the band that casual listeners will be familiar with, sappy but memorable with its “ooooooh I love you” is I Love You, which went to no. 12 on the Billboard charts in 1981. Although the songs are polished and the hooks are infectious, they are definitely not bluesy. They are more like disco-pop and soft rock.
The Climax Blues Band began in 1969 as Climax Chicago Blues Band, led by Colin Cooper who had been the frontman of the R&B band Hipster Image. They were not from Chicago, but Stafford England. They did start out as a British blues band. Whether they were a great blues band with a unique and inspiring sound, as some fans insist, or whether they were just adequate, seems to be open to debate.
When they switched to a pop and rock sound after almost ten years of unsuccessful blues, they had their first hit with Couldn’t Get it Right. The ‘Chicago’ had been dropped from their name by 1972 due to a dispute with the band Chicago, which was then still called Chicago Transit Authority.
Although the group didn’t have any more big hits past the early 1980s, they continued to record into the latter part of the decade, ending with Drastic Steps in 1988 and then coming back in 1994 with Blues from the Attic.
The original members of Climax Blues Band were Cooper on vocals and harmonica, Peter Haycock and Derek Holt on guitar, Richard Jones on bass, George Newsome on drums, and Arthur Wood on keyboard. Holt moved to bass after Jones left the band in 1969, and Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley. After Wood left in 1972 they became a quartet. At the height of their commercial success, they were drawing huge crowds of up to 20,000 people. Fans who remember them fondly from the small venues of their blues days may feel they sold out, but perhaps if they were on stage playing for such crowds, they would understand.
Listen to Couldn’t Get it Right – Climax Blues Band
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