The Impressions


Band members                            Related acts

  line up 1 (1957-58)

- Arthur Brooks -- vocals 

- Richard Brooks -- vocals 
- Jerry Butler -- vocals
- Samuel Gooden -- bass vocals 
- Curtis Mayfield -- lead vocals, guitar 

 

  line up 2 (1958-62)

- Arthur Brooks -- vocals

- Richard Brooks -- vocals 
NEW - Fred Cash -- tenor vocals 
- Samuel Gooden -- bass vocals 
- Curtis Mayfield -- lead vocals, guitar 

 

  line up 3 (1962-70)

- Fred Cash -- tenor vocals 
- Samuel Gooden -- bass vocals 
- Curtis Mayfield -- lead vocals, guitar

 

  line up 4 (1970-73)

- Fred Cash -- tenor vocals 
- Samuel Gooden -- bass vocals 

NEW - Leroy Hutson -- lead vocals (replaced Curtis Mayfield)

 

  line up 5 (1973-76)

- Fred Cash -- tenor vocals  
- Samuel Gooden -- bass vocals  
NEW - Ralph Johnson -- lead vocals
NEW - Reggie Torian -- lead vocals 

 

  line up 6 (1976-3)

- Fred Cash -- tenor vocals 

NEW - Nate Evans -- baritone vocals (replaced Ralph Johnson)

- Samuel Gooden -- bass vocals 
- Reggie Torian -- lead vocals 

 

 

 

- Jerry Butler (solo efforts)
- Leroy Hutson (solo efforts)
- Curtis Mayfield (solo efforts)
- Mystique (Ralph Johnson)

 


 

Genre: soul

Rating:  **** (4 stars)

Title:  Keep On Pushing

Company: ABC Paramount

Catalog: ABCS-492

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Year: 1965

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: BB hole; original inner sleeve; minor water stain on back cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $12.00

 

 

While the previous two sets had their isolated moments, 1964's "Keep On Pushing" marked the trio's first classic release. Behind Mayfield's writing and playing, tracks such as "Talking About My Baby", "I've Been Trying" and "Keep On Pushing" were remarkable for their tunefulness and subtle nods to spirituality and black pride. Regardless of how you felt about the religious and social commentaries, this was literally one of those LPs where virtually every song was worth hearing. Personal favorites included the bluesy "Somebody Help Me" (sporting a great guitar solo) and "I've Been Trying". Propelled by a pair of top-10 singles in the title track b/w "I Love You (Yeah)" and "Amen" b/w "Long, Long Winter" (one of their lamest singles), the album also served as the trio's commercial breakthrough peaking at #8. (Always loved Don Bronston's Jaguar XKE album cover.)

"Keep On Pushing" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Keep On Pushing   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:30
2.) I've Been Trying   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:45
3.) I Ain't Supposed To   (Curtis Mayfield - Jerry Butler) - 2:28
4.) Dedicate My Song To You   (Curtis Mayfield - Alice Beard) - 1:52
5.) Long, Long Winter   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:48
6.) Somebody Help Me   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:15

 

(side 2)
1.) Theme from Lillies of the Field (Amen)   (Jerry Goldmsith) - 3:25
2.) I Think Heaven   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:30
3.) Talking About My Baby   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:33
4.) Don't Let It Hide   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:20
5.) I Love You (Yeah)   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:07
6.) I Made a Mistake   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:3

 

 

1


Genre: soul

Rating:  *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Never Ending Impressions

Company: ABC Paramount

Catalog: ABCS-468

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Year: 1965

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: mono pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1294

Price: $15.00

 

Given "The Never Ending Impressions" was written and recorded within a matter of months of their label debut, it was understandably a mixed success. With Curtis Mayfield again responsible for the majority of material, tracks such as 'Sister Love', 'Little Boy Blue' (sporting some wonderful horn charts) and 'Girl, You Don't Know Me' were good, if not quite up to the caliber of the sterling debut. Less impressive were the four covers. One assumed MOR numbers such as 'Satin Doll', 'You Always Hurt the One You Love' and 'September Song' were included purely as filler. Still, Mayfield and company were simply too talented to turn in a complete aural disaster. Propelled by the top-20 single 'I'm So Proud' b/w 'I Made a Mistake' (one of Mayfield's prettiest ballads), the parent album hit #52

"The Never Ending Impressions" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Sister Love   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:23
2.) Little Boy Blue   (Curtis Mayfiel
d) - 2:17
3.) Satin Doll   (Duke Ellington - Johnny Mercer) - 2:19
4.) Girl, You Don't Know Me   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:18
5.) I Gotta Keep On Movin'   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:41
6.) You Always Hurt the One You Love   (Allen Roberts - Doris Fisher) - 2:05

(side 2)

1.) That's What Love Will Do   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:00
2.) I'm So Proud   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:48
3.) September Song   (Kurt Weil) - 2:15
4.) Lemon Tree   (Will Holt) - 4:08
5.) Ten To One   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:18
6.) A Woman Who Loves Me   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:22

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating:  ** (2 stars)

Title:  One By One

Company: ABC Paramount

Catalog: ABCS-523

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Year: 1966

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: mono

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $12.00

 

 

Pulling an ill advised page out of the Berry Gordy marketing strategic planning guide, 1965's "One By One" found the group striving for middle American acceptance. Surrounding Mayfield and company with some of the era's dullest MOR material and horrendous elevator music arrangements (blame Johnny Pate), may have been a sure fire way to expand their audience. Unfortunately, the effort came at great expense - resulting it one of their dullest albums. Was anything here worth hearing? While far from classic tunes, the three Mayfield originals ("Just One Kiss from You", "Falling In Love with You" and "Lonely Man") were at least better than the nine worthless covers. Hardly there finest moment (bet Mayfield cringed when he heard their cover of "It's Not Unusual"), even though it wasn't very good, the set hit #104 on the pop charts.

"One By One" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Twilight Zone (Morty Nevins - Buck Ram - Al Nevins - Artie Dunn) - 2:17
2.) I Wanna Be Around (S. Vimmerstedt - Johnny Mercer) - 2:15
3.) Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez) - 2:24
4.) Just One Kiss from You (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:37
5.) I Want To Be with You (Strouse - Adams) - 3:17
6.) Answer Me, My Love (Carl Sigman - Herhard Winkler - Fred Rauch) - 2:43

(side 1)

1.) It's Not Unusual (Reed - Mills) - 2:20
2.) Without a Song (Rose - Eliscu - Youmans) - 3:18
3.) Falling In Love with You (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:56
4.) My Prayer (Kennedy - Boulanger) - 2:58
5.) Mona Lisa (mana Zucca - Sallie Sefrit) - 2:28
6.) Lonely Man (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:43

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ridin' High

Company: ABC Paramount

Catalog: ABCS-545

Year: 1966

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor pops throughout, though no skips; stereo pressing; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4444

Price: $20.00

 

 

Had any group other than The Impressions released an album as strong as 1966's "Ridin' High", they would have become major stars.  As it was, this was widely viewed as just another middling to possibly under-inspired set in an ongoing string of albums that Curtis Mayfield and company released through the mid and late 1960s.  

 

Again produced by Johnny Pate, the album serves as another showcase for Mayfield, who handled almost all of the lead vocals, arranged and was responsible for penning all eleven tracks.  While critics tend to forget about this one, it's one of my favorites due in part to the fact it avoided much of the MOR filler that plagued earlier releases.  To my ears the only lame number is the sappy 'Let It Be Me'.  The set's also kind of interesting in that it features a number of songs that were originally written by Mayfield, but previously recorded by other groups. Otherwise the set isn't a major change in direction - your usual mixture of great group harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and mesmerizing melodies.  While it's hard to pick favorites on this one, Mayfield's unique blend of Gospel and soul moves makes tracks such as 'I Need To Belong To Someone', 'Right On Time' and 'Too Slow' (sporting a great Mayfield guitar solo) irresistible.  A good place for the curious, or casual fans to start ...  

 

"Ridin' High" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Ridin' High   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:25

2.) No One Else   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:37

3.) Gotta Get Away   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:28

4.) I Need To Belong To Someone   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:25

5.) Right On Time   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:43

6.) I Need a Love   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:25

 

(side 2)

1.) Too Slow   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:44

2.) Man's Temptation   (Curtis Mayfield) - 4:45

3.) That's What Mama Say   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:34

4.) Let It Be Me   (Curtis Mayfield - C. Becand - P. Delance) - 3:02

5.) I'm a Tellin' You   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:41

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  We're a Winner

Company: ABC Paramount

Catalog: ABCS-635

Year: 1968

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: stereo pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5312

Price: $25.00

 

Like most Impressions LPs, 1968's "We're a Winner" offered up a strange mixture of contemporary social and political commentary and old fashion pop moves.  In the former category the title track stood as one of Curtis Mayfield's most inspired songs and a hallmark of the civil rights movement (yes it was recorded in front of a live audience), while the ballad 'Little Brown Boy' was close though it lacked the formers subtlety.  Bolstered by a great melody and some thought provoking lyrics the title track was easily the stand out track on the LP.  At the other end of the spectrum tracks like 'Moonlight Shadows', 'I'm Gettin Ready' and 'Nothing Can Stop Me' were pretty, but buried under Johnny Pate's heavy orchestration sounded extremely dated (think 1962 rather than 1968) and were simply too MOR to be of much interest to a younger crowd.  At least 'No One to Love' and 'I Loved & I Lost' sported slightly more updated soul grooves.  As for the decision to include a Jimmy Webb cover - who knows.   Released as a single the title track b/w 'It's All Over' (ABC catalog number 11022) was rewarded with a partial ban by radio stations (though it still managed to hit # 14 on the pop charts).  In spite of sporting one of the year's ugliest covers, the LP managed to hit # 4 R&B and # 31 pop.  It also marked the end of the group's longstanding partnership with ABC Records.  Mayfield and Emanuel Thomas subsequently launched their own Curtom label.

 

"We're a Winner" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) We're a Winner   (Curtis Mayfield) 2:25

2.) Moonlight Shadows   (Curtis Mayfield) 3:11

3.) Let Me Tell the World   (Curtis Mayfield) 3:16

4.) I'm Gettin Ready   (Curtis Mayfield - Phil Upchurch) 2:31

5.) Nothing Can Stop Me   (Curtis Mayfield) 3:16

 

(side 2)

1.) No One to Love   (Curtis Mayfield) 2:31

2.) Little Brown Boy   (Curtis Mayfield) 2:44

3.) I Loved & I Lost   (Curtis Mayfield) 2:31

4.) Romancing to the Folk Song   (Curtis Mayfield) 2:35

5.) Up Up & Away   (Jimmy Webb) 3:17

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  16 Greatest Hits

Company: ABC 

Catalog: ABCS-727

Year: 1970

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6009

Price: $15.00

 

Most of the time I shy away from 'best of'' sets, but in the case of The Impressions, I'll make an exception to the rule.  That's based on the size and scope of their catalog (when this set was released in 1970 the group had already released 12 studio sets and at least two compilations) and the fact their albums are choked full of filler.

 

So here's a case where the advertising tells it like it is.  Released as the group was switching it's recording allegiance from ABC to Curtis Mayfield's Buddah-affiliated Curtom label, 1970's "16 Greatest Hits" pulled together the cream of the group's ABC commercial successes.  Yes you could clearly argue over what had been left off the album, but the fact of the matter was that this was a great place for the casual fan, or for someone curious about the band.

 

"16 Greatest Hits" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Gypsy Woman   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:20

2.) It's All Right    (Curtis Mayfield)- 2:48

3.) We're a Winner   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:22

4.) Woman's Got Soul   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:23

5.) Keep On Pushing   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:30

6.) We're Rolling On   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:15

7.) Riding High   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:26

8.) Never Let Me Go   (Joe Scott) - 2:30

 

(side 2)

1.) Amen   (Jester Harrison) - 3:25

2.) I'm So Proud   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:48

3.) People Get Ready   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:37

4.) Talking About My Baby   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:33

5.) You Must Believe Me    (Curtis Mayfield)- 2:30

6.) Sad Sad Girl and Boy   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:40

7.) Grow Closer Together   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:21

8.) I'm the One Who Loves You   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:28

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating:  **** (4 stars)

Title:  This Is My Country

Company: Curtom

Catalog: CRS 8001

Year: 1971

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: 4" seam split on bottom edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3107

Price: $20.00

 

Produced by Curtis Mayfield, 1968's "This Is My County" was the Impressions' first release on the Curtom label (formed by Mayfield and Emanuel Thomas and affiliated with Buddah Records).  The album title and cover photo showing the group standing in front of a decrepit inner city tenement were certainly thought provoking, but the contemporary and seemingly activist packaging was actually largely misleading.   Certainly the title track and the single 'They Don't Know' aptly reflected the group's activist stance, but the majority of these ten songs (mostly written by Mayfield), focused on conventional love ballads.  That wasn't intended as a criticism of Mayfield and company.  'I'm a Fool For You', 'Stay Close To Me', 'You Want Somebody Else', and 'So Unusual' were all top-notch ballads showcasing Mayfield's instantly recognizable voice and the silky smooth backing from Fred Cash and Sam Gooden.  Yeah, the two activist tracks were clearly the album highlights, but with the exception of the lame 'My Woman's Love', the whole album was worth hearing.


"This Is My Country" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) They Don't Know   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:47  rating: **** stars

'They Don't Know' was one of two overtly political songs on the album.  In typical fashion, Mayfield brought his calm and insightful view of recent losses and setbacks in the fight for racial equality as an opportunity to move forward  ...  At a time when the civil rights movement was fracturing along various divides, it was somehow reassuring to hear Mayfield supporting a non-violent approach and faith in the system's ability to change.   Sure, the lyrics were a little clunky ( "ever brother is a leader ... every sister is a breeder"), but still a magnificent performance.

2.) Stay Close To Me   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:02   rating: **** stars

Mayfield at his most pop and commercial orientation ...  Hard to believe this one wasn't tapped as a single.  Of course that allowed The Five Stairsteps (and Cubie) to grab it for one of their 45s.

3.) I'm Loving Nothing   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:27   rating: *** stars

Maybe not one of their best tunes, but 'I'm Loving Nothing' gave you a nice taste of their sweet harmonies and Mayfield's prowess on guitar.  

4.) Loves Happening   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:07   rating: *** stars

Sweet ballad, but the happenin' lyrics (did he really reference "flower children" ?) made it an also-ran on the set.  

5.) Gone Away   (Curtis Mayfield - Donny Hathaway) - 3:42   rating: *** stars

I'll readily admit, the MOR-ish opening was a major turnoff.  The tune improved a little when the melody managed to rise above the hideous arrangement and when  Fred Cash and Sam Gooden kicked in on harmony vocals.  Unfortunately the sappy strings and horns kept coming back and burying the entire tune in a saccharine ribbon.

 

(side 2)

1.) You Want Somebody Else  (Billy Griffin - Donny Hathaway) - 3:12   rating: **** stars

Ironic this one sounded like a classic Mayfield tune - breezy and highly commercial.  Ironically he didn't write it - band member Billy Griffin and collaborator Donny Hathaway.   Sweet, loveable ballad that would have made a dandy single.  

2.) So Unusual   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:56   rating: **** stars

One of the album's standout ballads - Mayfield and company at their "love men" best.  Silky smooth and 

3.) My Woman's Love   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:02   rating; ** stars

Blame Johnny Pate's sappy orchestration, but the ballad 'My Woman's Love' was simply too MOR-ish to make much of an impression.

4.) Fool For You   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:52   rating: **** stars

One of their best performances, combining a driving 9/4 beat with a wonderful lyric.  Hard to believe that this one is largely forgotten.  The first Impressions single released on Mayfield's Curtom label ...  

- 1968's 'Fool for You' b/w 'I'm Loving Nothing' (Curtom catalog number CR 1932) # 22 pop; # 3 R&B

5.) This Is My Country   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:48

Perhaps because it was cloaked in a sweet, breezy melody Mayfield's cutting lyrics ("I paid 300 years or more of slave-driving, sweat, and welts on my back / This is my country," were simply stunning.  The sad thing is four decades later the lyrics remain as effective as every.  Maybe our children will be able to make up for our own shortcomings ...   Curtom released the track as the album's follow-up single:

- 1968's 'This Is My Country' b/w 'My Woman's Love' (Curtom catalog number CR-1934)  # 25 pop; # 8 R&B

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating:  ** (2 stars)

Title:  Times Have Changed

Company: Curtom

Catalog: CRS 8012

Year: 1972

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear; gatefold sleeve

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $6.00

 

 

1972's "Things Have Changed" found Mayfield again handling production and contributing the majority of material (there was one cover song). Like so many soul acts, the album found Mayfield providing the trio (Cash, Gooden and Hutson) with an increasingly activist stance. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, material such as "Stop the War", a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" and "This Loves for Real" again exhibited Mayfield's ability to combine insightful political and social commentary without sounding overtly shrill or pompous. Sure, half baked string arrangements occasionally threatened to drown the group ("Our Loves Goes On and On") and it wasn't the trio's most original set, but it was still worth hearing. Perhaps because of it's activist leanings, the collection sold poorly, peaking at #192. (The LP was originally released with an embossed, gatefold sleeve.)

"Things Have Changed" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Stop the War (Curtis Mayfield) - 6:22
2.) Times Have Changed (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:15
3.) Inner City Blues (Marvin Gaye) - 3:12 
4.) Our Loves Goes On and On (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:28

(side 2)

1.) Potent Love (Curtis Mayfield) - 6:45 
2.) I Need To Belong To Someone (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:54
3.) This Loves for Real (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:50
4.) Love Me (Curtis Mayfield) - 4:14

 

 



Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Loving Power

Company: Curtom

Catalog: CU 5009

Year: 1976

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5889

Price: $10.00

 

 

1976's "Loving Power" saw The Impressions working with a series of producers including Chuck Jackson, Ed Townsend, Rich Tufo, and Marvin Yancy the results were surprisingly impressive.  True, none of the four principles had Curtis Mayfield's talent, but Fred Cash, Samuel Gooden, Ralph Johnson, and Reggie Torian were all talented singers and their harmony work was second to none (though largely overlooked).   

 

left to right:  Johnson - Gooden - Cash - Torian

 

"Loving Power" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Loving Power   (Chuck Jackson - Marvin Yancy) - 3:14   rating: **** stars

With all four members sharing lead vocals (Fred Cash, Samuel Gooden, Ralph Johnson, and Reggie Torian), the title track offered up a likeable adult contemporary ballad. Great chorus hook and the only complaint was that the song faded out just as they were starting to really get going.

2.) Sunshine   (Bunny Sigler - Phil Hurtt) - 6:06   rating: **** stars

Penned by Bunny Sigler and originally recorded by The O'Jays, 'Sunshine' was a big, old school ballad.  Showcasing Johnson on lead vocals, the result was highly commercial with a killer refrain, it was easy to see why this one got tapped as a single.  Yeah, the extended album version dragged a little - the mid-song vamps really didn't add anything to the performance.  Still, good song.  \

3.) I Can't Wait To See You   (Chuck Jackson - Marvin Yancy) - 4:17.    rating: *** stars

Another old school ballad, 'I Can't Wait To See You' opened up with an incredibly sappy spoken word vamp.  Frankly I thought this one was going to be a major loser, but once you got passed the opening it turned into a charming song with a great refrain.   

4.) If You Have To Ask   (Ed Townsend) - 5:06   rating: ** stars

'If You Have To Ask' had to be one of the most irritating songs I've ever heard.  The song actually had a decent up-tempo melody, but producer Ed Townsend's decision to get cute and include a female voice that constantly asked 'do you love me' was irritating beyond description.  After the tenth repetition you just wanted to scream out 'no, I don't love you - get the hell out of here !!!'  

 

(side 2)

1.) You Can't be Wrong (All the Time)   (Ed Townsend) - 4:58   rating: **** stars

Side two opened with my choice for the album's standout performance.  Ed Townsend's breezy ballad 'You Can't be Wrong (All the Time)' was a perfect showcase for the group's strengths.    rating: **** stars

2.) I Wish I'd Stayed In Bed   (Ed Townsend) - 4:50.    rating: *** stars

Fred Cash turned in a great lead on the hysterical 'I Wish I'd Stayed In Bed'.  Not sure what would be worse - bad hair day, dead car battery, or having your woman blow you off.   I've always wondered if Curtis Mayfield provided the slinky lead guitar solo .

3.) Keep On Trying   (Ed Townsend) - 4:45   rating: ** stars

With kind of an R&B edge, I kept waiting for 'Keep On Trying' to kick into gear and it didn't happen.    

Curtom tapped the album for a pair of singles:

- 1976's 'Loving Power' b/w 'First Impressions'  (Curtom catalog number CMS-0110) 

- 1976's 'Sunshine' b/w 'I Wished I'd Stayed In Bed' (Curtom catalog number CMS-0116) 

 

Maybe not the year's most original collection, but all told, a nice late-inning comeback for the group.  The album also marked the end of The Impressions long-standing relationship with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label.  Their next album would be released by the Atlantic-affiliated Cotillion imprint.

 

 

 

 



Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  It's About Time

Company: Cotillion

Catalog: SD 9912

Year: 1976

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo copy; promo sticker on cover (not shown in picture); cut out hole

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5194

Price: $10.00

 

Released in the wake of another personnel shift that saw Nate Evans replacing Ralph Johnson (who'd gone on to join Mystique), 1976's "It's About Time" found the quartet teamed with producer/writer McKinley Jackson.  McKinley had always displayed a knack for teasing out the commercial edge of acts he'd work with (check out his work for Holland-Dozier-Holland when associated wit Invictus Records) and that trait was on display throughout this set.  Evans was actually a better lead singer than Johnson had been and on tracks like 'You'll Never Find' and Same Old Heartaches' he seemed to connect with the rest of the group (Fred Cash, Sam Gooden and Reggie Toran) in a way that Johnson was never able to accomplish.  The irony was that while it may have been their most consistent and enjoyable post-Curtis Mayfield album, it really didn't sound like an Impressions release.  Largely penned by brothers Mervin and Melvin Steals, tracks like 'In the Palm of My Hands' and the Torian lead 'I Need You' could have easily been mistaken for the likes of The O'Jays, or any multitude of Philadelphia International acts.  It wasn't that the performances weren't enjoyable (okay 'Stardust' was pretty lame), rather the results were cloaked in an anonymous mid-1970s assembly-line soul group format that simply didn't have enough to distinguish it from the avalanche of competitors.  Call it a nice late-inning release and move on ...

 

Cotillion tapped the album for a pair of singles:

 

- 1976's 'This Time' b/w 'This Time' (Cotillion catalog number 44210)

- 1977's 'You'll Never Find' b/w 'Stardust' (Cotillion catalog number 44214)

 

"It's About Time" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) In the Palm of My Hands   (Mervin Steals - Melvin Steals) - 4:00

2.) You'll Never Find   (Mervin Steals - Melvin Steals) - 4:37

3.) Same Old Heartaches   (Mervin Steals - Melvin Steals) - 5:45 

4.) I Need You   (Mervin Steals - Melvin Steals) - 5:00

 

(side 2)

1.) This Is Time   (McKinley Jackson - Shirley Jones) - 4:48

2.) Stardust   (Mervin Steals - Melvin Steals) - 4:26

3.) I'm a Fool for Love   (Paul Richmond - Darryl Ellis) - 5:11

4.) What Might Have Been   (Mervin Steals - Melvin Steals) - 5:14

 

 

 

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