Elemental Music, together with Sony Music Entertainment, presents 6 new additions to the best selection of 70’s R&B, Soul, Funk & Psychedelic Rock out of print titles from the vaults of classic labels such as Philadelphia International Records, Buddah or Columbia Records, among others.
INTRUDERS – ENERGY OF LOVE
As the first group to score hits with the production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, The Intruders played a major role in the rise of Philadelphia soul. Originally formed as a doo-wop group in 1960, they signed with Gamble and Huff’s fledgling Gamble label in 1966 and scored a Top 20 R&B hit that year with “(We’ll Be) United”. 1968 was their breakthrough year: “Cowboys to Girls,” a template for what would become Philly soul’s trademark sound, topped the R&B charts and climbed to number six on the pop side, giving the group their biggest hit. Gamble and Huff’s success with The Intruders helped convince Columbia to grant them the money to launch Philadelphia International, which became the most successful soul label of the early ‘70s. In 1974 The Intruders switched from the Gamble imprint to the Philly International subsidiary TSOP, and released Energy of Love, which is their last known recording and their final collaboration with Gamble & Huff. Although it did not reach the success of its predecessors, Energy of Love is full of great songs with the Gamble and Huff team contributing to several cuts (“Energy Of Love”, “A Nice Girl Like You”, “Lonely Lonely” and “Be On Time”). The Philly natives also sparkle on four remakes: Marvin Gaye’s “Jan,” William DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You Got,” Mary Wells’ “What’s Easy for Two Is So Hard for One,” and Paul Simon’s “Rainy Days and Mondays”, sounding especially frisky on DeVaughn’s hit. The album was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, and the four members of The Intruders were backed by M.F.S.B., whose lineup included the Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section, guitarists Bobby “Electronic” Eli, percussionist Larry Washington, vibes virtuoso Vince Montana Jr., and violinist Don Renaldo. The arrangers were Bruce Hawkes and Bobby Martin, while producers included Vince Montana Jr, John Davis and the above mentioned Gamble and Huff team. Essential Philly Soul Sound!
LOU RAWLS – ALL THINGS IN TIME
Lou Rawls’ debut with the Philadelphia International label. This album relaunched his career and turned him into one of the company’s most successful acts. Recorded at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios and produced by such luminaries as Philadelphia International Gamble & Huff, Bunny Sigler and Dexter Wansel, All Things in Time became an immediate success on the back of its celebrated single “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”, which gave Rawls the biggest hit of his career, topping the R&B chart and making #2 on the pop chart. The album was Rawls’ third R&B chart topper (the first since 1966), and reached #7 on the pop chart. All Things in Time has been highly rated by critics for the quality and variety of its material, faultless production standards and Rawls’ vocal performances. Its reputation has endured and it is often cited as the best album of Rawls’ tenure with Philadelphia International Records. Allmusic’s Jason Elias wrote that it’s “not only one of Rawls’ best albums, it’s also one of the finest from Philadelphia International”.
EDDIE KENDRICKS – VINTAGE ‘78
Vintage’78 was Eddie Kendricks’ first solo effort after he left Motown in the late 1970s and proved that he was still a superb vocalist during this period of his career. This masterpiece of sophisticated soul contains one of his biggest singles: “Ain’t No Smoke Without Fire”, one of the best disco jams The Temptations’ co-founder ever recorded. But what really shines here is Eddie’s finesse with the songs he loved to sing the most: love ballads (“The Best of Strangers Now”, “Maybe I’m a Fool to Love You”, “Your Wish Is My Command”, “Love, Love, Love”). Without a doubt Kendricks shows in this album that he was the best countertenor to come out of Motown and Vintage ’78 gives us a full view of his superb style of singing.
Recorded in 1969, this was the debut LP by the extended “Big-Apple” based ensemble Elephant’s Memory. It includes the songs “Jungle Gym at the Zoo” and “Old Man Willow”, from the celebrated Midnight Cowboy movie soundtrack. Formed between 1967 and 1968,by Stan Bronstein (saxophone, clarinet, and vocals) and Rick Frank Jr. (drums), in 1968 the band briefly added Carly Simon as a vocalist, and by 1969, the line-up had expanded to include John Ward (bass), Chester Ayers (guitar), Myron Yules (bass and trombone), R. Sussmann (keyboards), Michal Shapiro (vocals), Guy Peritore (guitar and vocals), and David Cohen (guitar, keyboards, and vocals). A further addition in 1970 was Chris Robison on guitar. Known around the Greenwich Village area as a politically active street band, Elephant’s Memory is also known for backing John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1971-73. For live performances with them, the band was known as the Plastic Ono Elephant’s Memory Band, and as such they recorded the double album Some Time in New York City in March of 1972. The album was released in June of 1972 in the United States and in September of 1972 in the UK. The group specialized in an eclectic Frank Zappa-like mix of psychedelia, jazz, and acid-tinged rock. One of the quintessential artifacts of the psychedelic era!
GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS – 2nd Anniversary
A milestone for long-running hitmakers Gladys Knight & the Pips, 2nd Anniversary was their fourth studio album recorded for the Buddah Records label. It was released in October of 1975 and spawned two Billboard R&B Top Ten singles with “Money” and “Part Time Love.” It was also their fourth consecutive Gold album, after their previous releases on the Buddah label: Imagination (1973), Claudine (1974) and I Feel a Song (1974).Knight and the Pips’ largest success came after they signed with Motown in 1966. Their top-40 hit “Everybody Needs Love,” was followed by the breakthrough success of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which became a number-two pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a number-one R&B hit for six weeks. The record sold 2.5 million copies, and at the time was Motown’s best-selling single ever. In late 1968, “Grapevine” would become an even bigger hit for Marvin Gaye, whose version, recorded before Knight’s but released a year afterward, was a number-one pop hit for seven weeks. Knight and the Pips departed Motown for Buddah Records in 1973. Knight later complained that she and the Pips were regarded as a second-string act, and that Diana [Ross] & the Supremes, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye were given the best songs, while “we took the leftovers.” In Knight’s autobiography she alleged that Diana Ross had the group removed from being The Supremes’ opening act on a 1966 tour for being too good.
US 69 – YESTERDAY’S FOLKS
A highly sought after record among collectors, Yesterday’s Folks was US 69’s only album, and is considered by some critics as probably the very best ever released by the Buddah Records label.This Connecticut-based band was made up of Bill Cartier (drums), Bill Durso (vocals, guitar), Bob DePalma (saxophone), Don DePalma (piano, trumpet), and Gil Nelson (bass, flute). Previously called The Mustard Family, they changed their name to US ’69 before they released any of their recordings. The band combines a great mix of eastern-influence music with sitar along with psychedelic, jazz, rock, soul, and funk. The album is strong from start to finish, opening with the excellent “I’m on My Way (A Patch of Blue)”, and closing with the stellar ten-minute epic trippy, colorful psychedelia of “2069: a Spaced Oddity”.