Hi-De-Ho ~ Blood, Sweat & Tears

Blood, Sweat & Tears is an American music group, originally formed in 1967 in New York City. Since its beginnings in 1967, the band has gone through numerous iterations with varying personnel and has encompassed a multitude of musical styles. What the band is most known for, from its start, is the fusing of rock, blues, pop music, horn arrangements and jazz improvisation into a hybrid that came to be known as “jazz-rock“. Unlike “jazz fusion” bands, which tend toward virtuostic displays of instrumental facility and some experimentation with electric instruments, the songs of Blood, Sweat & Tears merged the stylings of rock, pop and R&B/soul music with big band, while also adding elements of small combo jazz traditions.

Al Kooper, Jim Fielder, Fred Lipsius, Randy Brecker, Jerry Weiss, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz, and Bobby Colomby formed the original incarnation of the band.

“Blood, Sweat & Tears” was the name chosen by Al Kooper, inspired by both the 1963 album with this title by Johnny Cash and after a late-night gig in which Kooper played with a bloody hand. Kooper was the group’s initial bandleader, having insisted on that position based on his experiences with The Blues Project, his previous band with Steve Katz, which had been organized as an egalitarian collective. Jim Fielder was from Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention and had played briefly with Buffalo Springfield. But undoubtedly, Kooper’s fame as a high-profile contributor to various historic sessions of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and so forth, was the catalyst for the prominent debut of Blood, Sweat & Tears in the musical counterculture of the mid-sixties .

The music of Blood, Sweat & Tears slowly achieved commercial success alongside similarly configured ensembles such as Chicago and the Electric Flag. Kooper was forced out of the group and became a record producer for the Columbia label, but not before arranging some songs that would be on the next BS&T album. The group’s trumpeters, Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss, also left after the album was released, and were replaced by Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield. Brecker joined Horace Silver’s band with his brother Michael, and together they eventually formed their own horn-dominated musical outfits, Dreams and The Brecker Brothers. Jerry Weiss went on to start the similarly-styled group Ambergris.


“Hi-De-Ho” was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and was one of several songs covered by the band on Blood, Sweat & Tears 3.  The album itself received lukewarm reviews mostly because of the band’s participation in an unpopular U.S. government-sponsored tour of Eastern Europe.

Music critic William Ruhlman wrote a review calling the album “a convincing, if not quite as impressive, companion to their previous hit. David Clayton-Thomas remained an enthusiastic blues shouter, and the band still managed to put together lively arrangements… although their pretentiousness, on the extended “Symphony/Sympathy for the Devil,” and their tendency to borrow other artists’ better-known material rather than generating more of their own, were warning signs for the future.” Another critic Robert Christgau wrote “Just figured out how David Clayton-Thomas learned vocal projection: by belching. That’s why when he gets really excited he sounds as if he’s about to throw up. But it’s only part of the reason he gets me so excited I feel like I’m about to throw up.”

A bit harsh, I think.

Hi De Ho
Hi De Hi
Gonna Get me
A piece of the sky
Gonna get me
Some of that Old Sweet Roll
I’m singin’ Hi de hi de hi de hi de Hooooo

I’ve been down so low
Bottom looked like up
Once I thought that seconds saves
was enough to fill my cup
Now I offered all I got
And that ain’t no way to live
Being taken by the ones who got
The least amount to give

Hi de ho
Hi de hi
I’m gonna get me a piece of the sky
Gonna get me some of that old sweet roll
I’m singing hi de hi de hi de hi de hooooo.

<instrumental interlude>

Once I met the devil
He was mighty slick
Tempted me with worldly goods
Said -you can have your pick-
But when he laid that paper on me
And he showed me where to sign
I said thank you very kindly
But I’m in too great a need of mine

Hi de ho
Hi de hi
I’m gonna get me a piece of the sky Lord knows
I’m gonna get me some of that old sweet roll
Singin’ hi de hi de hi de hi de hooooo.
Hi de ho
Hi de hi
Gonna get me a piece of the sky
Gonna get me some of that old sweet roll
Singin’ hi de hi de hi de hi de hoooo

  • Audio from the 1970 album, Blood, Sweat & Tears 3
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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