Swiss Movement, The
Band members Related acts
- Albert Booker Jr. -- vocals
- Herbert Clifton -- vocals
- John Hodges -- vocals
- Ronald Williams -- vocals
- Louisiana Purchase
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: It's Time for the Swiss Movement
Company: RCA Victor
Country/State: New Orleans
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: still in shrink wrap; small cut out notch along edge
GEMM catalog ID: 5307
Not to be confused with an equally obscure Austin-based mid-1960s garage band, I'm not even going to try to explain why virtually every online reference to this mid-1970s soul group traces back to a Japanese website, though it may have something to do with the fact Japanese soul fans have excellent taste when it comes to overlooked American groups.
That dearth of information leaves Detroit DJ Ray Henderson's vague liner notes to provide some barebones information on the group:
"It all started in New Orleans with Booker, Herbert (more affectionately known as "Super Chicken") and Ronnie. (The addition of the Movement, Johnny, was made later in Detroit.) Together they are something else!
The Swiss Movement is already making the night club and concert circuit around the nation and fast becoming one of the most refreshing vocal combinations on the business. As can be expected, the Swiss Movement works with precision, but it's coupled with soul. In this first album the group comes through with sparkling performances that run the gamut for the sprightly .. to the soulful ..."
Yeah, like that told you anything ...
Featuring the talents of vocalists Albert Booker Jr., Herbert Clifton, John Hodges and Ronald Williams, the group's initial break came in the form of Temptations members Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams and Temptations musical director/guitarist Cornelius Grant. Impressed with the group, Franklin, Williams and Grant signed the quartet to a contract with their D.O. Productions group, helping them land a contract with RCA Victor.
Over the next three years RCA released a string of four instantly obscure singles:
- 1971's 'Bring Back Your Love' b/w 'This Moment' (RCA catalog number 48-1008)
- 1973's 'Take a Chance On a Sure Thing' b/w 'Take a Chance On a Sure Thing' (instrumental) (RCA catalog number 74-0699)
- 1973's 'Take Me Back Again' b/w 'Keep On Loving You' (RCA catalog number 74-0921)
- 1973's 'Take Some Time' b/w 'If You Need Somebody To Love' (RCA catalog number 0092)
Apparently meant as an attempt to recoup earlier investments, in 1973 RCA compiled the earlier singles ('A' and 'B' sides) along with a couple of other tracks into the LP "It's Time for the Swiss Movement". The funny thing is that in spite of it's haphazard birth, this LP was nothing short of great ! Boasting four accomplished vocalists, tracks like 'Take a Chance On a Sure Thing', 'Take Me Back Again' and 'Bring Back Your Love' offered up gritty, but highly commercial old school soul that could have easily been mistaken as a Motown product (perhaps not a surprise given Franklin and Williams co-produced much of the set). It certainly wasn't something that I'd have expected RCA to be peddling. While nothing here was particularly original, the results were still thoroughly enjoyable, with tracks like 'Come Around Here' and 'The Grass Is Greener' recalling a strange mixture of Eddie Kendricks-era Temps ('If You Need Me'), The Jackson Five, Smokey ('Take Me Back Again'), and stuff that Holland-Dozier-Holland might have recorded for their Invictus and Hot Wax labels ('Bring Back Your Love'). Not one of the eleven tracks was a turkey and the collection was a blast in terms of playing 'spot-the-influence'. Personal favorites included 'If You Need Somebody To Love' and the sweet, should've been a hit 'The Moment (I Just Want It To Last Forever)'. The album also served to make you wonder why these guys were totally overlooked by audiences and radio, while far less talented competitors sold millions of records. Who knows ... One of my favorite recent soul discoveries !!!
for the Swiss Movement" track listing:
1.) Take a Chance On a Sure Thing (Melvin Franklin - Otis Williams - Cornelius Grant - Eugene Current) - 3:17
2.) Take Me Back Again (Randazzo Pike - Mozian - Claymore - 2:52
3.) Bring Back Your Love (Melvin Franklin - Otis Williams - Cornelius Grant - Eugene Current) - 2:47
4.) If You Need Me (Mozian - Claymore) - 2:49
5.) Come Around Here (Mozian - Claymore) - 2:43
6.) Keep On Loving You (Fox - Tyme - Kay) - 3:26
2.) If You Need Somebody To Love (Fox - Tyme - Kay) - 3:14
3.) Come On Sunday (Tyme - Fox)- 4:38
4.) The Grass Is Greener (Mozian - Claymore) - 3:15
5.) Take Some Time (Melvin Franklin - Otis Williams - Cornelius Grant) - 3:57
The group struggled on with follow-up singles for the Casablanca, Gold and Musical labels before calling it quits.
- 1974's 'Try Something' b/w ' A Change Had Got To Come' (Casablanca catalog number 805)
- 'One In a Million' b/w ''I Wish Our Love Would Last Forever' (Gold catalog number GR-02 A/B)
- 'Just Ask Me' b/w '' (Musical catalog number ???)
Reportedly a couple of the group members subsequently reappeared as a member of The Louisiana Purchase.
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