Bloodstone - Biography
Bloodstone is a group who, between 1973 and 1984, charted thirteen times. Bloodstone have described their mix of gospel, dance-oriented funk, rock-influenced soul, and Quiet Storm as embodying "The Kansas City Sound."
High School students Melvin Webb (drums), Roger Durham and Harry Williams (percussion), Charles Love (guitar and lead vocals), Charles McCormick (bass), and Willis Draffen and Ronald "Ronny D" Bell (guitar) began performing together in Kansas City, Missouri in 1962 as The Sinceres. They began as a doo-wop act but by 1968, playing in Las Vegas alongside Sonny Charles & The Checkmates, they’d moved in an increasingly soul direction. In Los Angeles, performing with Los Angeles’ Younghearts and fellow Missourians, The Ike and Tina Turner Revue, they began learning other instruments, honing their craft and further hybridizing rock, funk and soul. In the meantime, McCormick’s first recording was singing in the 1970 UK film, Blues Likes Showers of Rain.
The Sinceres made their first trip to London in 1972. They played the Roundhouse Auditorium in support of Al Green and Carla and Rufus Thomas. The appearance led to their signing with Decca, who insisted they change their name to something more modern. The Sinceres became Bloodstone. Their debut, Bloodstone (1972 Decca), was followed by their first big hit, Natural High (1973 Decca), which sold over one million copies. The title track reached the Top Ten in the US but were more popular in the UK, where they returned to record with the London Symphony Orchestra, The Who and Elton John. Meanwhile, the group underwent their first line-up change when Webb left the group (he died of diabetic complications in 1982).
Unreal (1973 Decca) was recorded at the Chipping Norton Recording Studios in Oxfordshire in the spring of 1973. The group suffered another blow when Durham died after falling off a horse on July 17th. With drummer Steve Ferone joining the band, they recorded and released I Need Time (1974 Decca) and Riddle of the Sphinx (1975 Decca), after which Ferone joined The Average White Band. The remaining four starred in and wrote the music for the film, Train Ride To Hollywood (1975). In 1976, Eddie Summers became Bloodstone’s new drummer and they released Do You Wanna Do a Thing (1976 Decca), Lullaby of Broadway (1976 Decca) and the score to Train Ride to Hollywood (1978).
After their contract with Decca ended, Bloodstone recorded Don't Stop (1978 Motown) for Motown. On it, McCormick, Love, Williams and Draffen only provided vocals and session musicians provided the music. Their stay with Motown proved short and, after Ron Wilson replaced the outgoing McCormick, they signed with the Isley Brothers' T-Neck Records. While there, they released We Go a Long Way Back (1982 T Neck Records) and Party (T-Neck Records), after which they went on extended hiatus. In the early 1990s, a line-up of Bloodstone began performing live at home and abroad. Back in KC, founding member Willis Draffen died on February 8, 2002 at the age of 56 from diabetic complications. In 2004, they returned to recording, releaseing Now! ...That's What I'm Talkin' About (2004 Check It) through their own label.