Song of the Day: Cold Blood “Valdez In The Country”
My Donny Hathaway fandom led me to this funky treat from ’70s Bay Area funk rock band Cold Blood. Hathaway’s “Valdez In The Country” from his 1973 Extension Of A Man album is my go-to sunny day driving music, and you’ll hear it pop up in my cocktail hour playlists during wedding season.
But on a recent day plummeting down a YouTube rabbit hole, I discovered that Hathaway wrote this tune for Cold Blood as recorded on First Taste Of Sin, their third album released in 1972. Hathaway produced and played keys on this album and you’ll also find the Escovedo brothers Pete and Coke bringing shades of Latin rock bands Santana and Malo to the proceedings.
Cold Blood is often compared to fellow brass driven contemporaries Tower of Power as well as Janis Joplin due to their powerhouse frontwoman Lydia Spense, but spending some time with First Taste Of Sin reveals what makes them unique.
According to Spense herself, the band was sitting around trying to figure out where to go creatively after their second album and they were all listening to a lot of Donny Hathaway. A bit of blue-sky thinking led to a discussion with management that successfully connected him to the band and the rest is history.