Jim Capaldi: Short Cut Draw Blood (1975)

Again featuring contributions from Traffic members past and present, Short Cut Draw Blood produced the biggest hit of Jim Capaldi’s career with a discofied version of the old Everlys chestnut, “Love Hurts.” That song is a likeable but light number on an album that finds Capaldi stretching into everything from ska (“Johnny Too Bad”) to Dylanesque poetry (“Keep On Tryin’”). It’s his most stylistically varied album to date, although at its core it retains the percussion-propelled, dark musings of latter-day Traffic (“Goodbye Love,” “Short Cut Draw Blood,” “Boy With A Problem”). His last record was more consistent; this one is more surprising. As a bonus, the non-album single “It’s All Up To You” was included here; an outmoded lovesong that belongs somewhere between the British Invasion and Dave Mason. Short Cut Draw Blood does showcase Jim Capaldi’s range as an artist; the venomous “Living on a Marble” (one of my favorite tracks on here) and ethereal “Seagull” (a mini Traffic reunion of sorts) lie at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Of interest, Paul Kossoff plays on “Boy With A Problem,” a song written about Chris Wood’s struggles with alcohol that warns “Soon from this earth he will leave,” a warning Kossoff himself might have heeded. I would tell you that this record continues to make a case for Capaldi as the logical heir to Traffic’s legacy, but I say a lot of things in the course of a day and not all of it makes sense. He does seem capable of sustaining a solo career, which, in a world where Ringo reigned supreme, isn’t that surprising (“Love Hurts” was a ploy pulled directly from Ringo’s playbook). All in all, a bloody good record with a few cuts that would make my short list for the cream of Capaldi.

Original LP Version
A1. Goodbye Love (4:38)
A2. It’s All Up To You (4:10)
A3. Love Hurts (Boudleaux Bryant) (3:31)
A4. Johnny Too Bad (The Slickers) (4:16)
A5. Short Cut Draw Blood (4:25)
B1. Living On A Marble (4:30)
B2. Boy With A Problem (6:45)
B3. Keep On Tryin’ (7:26)
B4. Seagull (4:19)

All songs written by Jim Capaldi unless noted.

The Players
Jim Capaldi (vocals, percussion, drums, drum machine), Rebop Kwaku Baah (percussion), Roger Hawkins (drums, spoons), Steve Winwood (bass, piano, organ, guitar, synthesiser, acoustic guitar, mellotron, harpsichord) with Ray Allen (sax, percussion), Barry Beckett (piano, organ), Pete Carr (lead guitar, acoustic guitar), Philip Chen (bass on A2), Gerry Conway (drums on A3), Rosko Gee (bass on A3, B3), David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar, electric guitar, horn arrangements), Remi Kabaka (percussion, drums), Paul Kossoff (lead guitar on B2), Muscle Shoals Horns (horns on A4), Phil (guitar on B3), Rabbit (piano & clavinet on A2), Harry Robinson (string arrangements), Jess Roden (guitar on A2), Ricio Rodrigues (trombone on B3), Jean Roussel (piano on A3), Chris Spedding (rhythm guitar, lead guitar), Chris Wood (flute on B4), Peter Yarrow (acoustic guitar on A4). Produced by Steve Smith, Jim capaldi and Chris Blackwell.

The Plastic
Released on elpee and 8-track in June 1975 in the UK (Island, ILPS 9336), the US (Island, ILPS/Y8I-9336) and Germany (Island, 89 468 XOT); reached #193 on the US charts. 8-track features different track order. Released on cassette in Australia (Island, C35701). Re-issued on CD on December 17, 1996 in the UK (Edsel). Re-released on 2CD on February 27, 2012 in the UK (Raven, RVCD330) with The Contender.

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