The Glass House
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1969-72)
- Ty Hunter (RIP
line up 2 (1972)
NEW - Eric Dunham -- vocals
- Ty Hunter (RIP
NEW - Sylvia Smith -- vocals
- The Classics (Larry Mitchell)
- The Embraceable (Pearl Jones)
- Ty Hunter (solo efforts)
- The Originals (Ty Hunter)
- The Romeos (Ty Hunter)
- Jean, Scherrie & Lynda (Scherrie Payne)
- Scherrie Payne (solo efforts)
- Scherrie and Susaye (Scherrie Payne)
- The Sierras (Larry Mitchell)
- The Supremes (Scherrie Payne)
- The Voice Masters (Ty Hunter)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Inside the Glass House
Country/State: Detroit, Michigan
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap; opened
Catalog ID: 1055
When Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland left Motown Records and established the Invictus imprint, they found themselves cut off from the Motown pool of talent having to identify and recruit new talent for their label. The Glass House was one of the first acts they signed, but it was a manufactured entity, literally pulling together four individuals who'd never worked together and didn't seem to have a great deal of personal chemistry, or even a shared musical vision - not that the latter mattered since they were a studio entity.
Ty Hunter was the oldest member of the group and the only one with any professional experience having worked with Lamont Dozier in The Voice Masters. Hunter had also recorded material with The Romeos and as a solo act. Pearl Jones' background included a stint with The Embraceable, extensive was as a background singer, and running a children's choir. Larry Mitchell had spent some time singing in The Classics and The Sierras, but his professional background was in advertising. Scherrie Payne (for some reason the liner notes showed her first name as 'Scheerie'), lacked any professional musical experience, but had nepotism on her side in the form of older sister Freda Payne who had already been signed to Invictus.
left to right: Hunter - Payne - Jones - Larry Mitchell
Produced by Ronald Dunbar, William Weatherspoon, and Greg Perry, the group's 1969 single served as the first release for Invictus:
- 1969's 'Crumbs Off the Table' b/w 'Bad Bill of Goods' (Invictus catalog number 9071) # 59 pop; # 7 R&B
Invictus quickly released a pair of follow-on singles:
- 1970's 'I Can't Be You (You Can't Be Me)' b/w 'He's In My Life' (Invictus catalog number 9076) # 90 pop; # 33 R&B (For anyone interested, YouTube has a clip of the group lip-syching the tune for a television program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5YeT02HNDA)
- 1970's 'Stealing Moments From Another Woman's Life' b/w 'If It Ain't Love (It Don't Matter)' (Invictus catalog number 9082) #121 pop; # 42 R&B
On the strength of decent sales, Invictus had the quartet recorded a supporting album - 1970's "Inside the Glass House". Even though Payne co-wrote three of the album's nine tracks, The Glass House were totally a studio entity and completely at the mercy of their producers. That meant the album was quite diverse with the Holland-Dozier-Holland organization using the collection as an opportunity to trot out a diverse assortment of styles and material; much of it not particularly well suited for the quartet. You almost got the feeling this was an opportunity for the label's songwriters to clear out their creative closets. With a pseudo-doo-wop feel, the opener 'Look What We've Done To Love' was seemingly written to showcase Hunter, as was the ballad 'You Ain't Lovin' Unless You're Lovin''. Elsewhere the album seemed oriented to showcase Payne in a more contemporary light. In addition to her writing credits, she handled lead vocals on most of the album highlights including the funky ' I Surrendered', the previous single 'Crumbs Off the Table', and 'Touch Me Jesus'. Her only real misstep came in the form of the Norman Whitfield-styled 'Hotel' where she came off as trying too hard. Shame the second and third singles and the original 45 'B' side 'Bad Bill of Good' weren't included on the album.
Way too inconsistent to be labeled a classic album, but still worth checking out and you can still find reasonably priced copies.
the Glass House" track listing:
1.) Look What We've Done To Love (Ronald Dunbar - Edith Wayne) - 4:26 rating: *** stars
With a cheesy spoken word introduction and a distinctive '50s doo-wop feel, 'Look What We've Done' was atypical for both the Invictus catalog and Glass House. Mind you Ty Hunter and Larry Mitchell turned in a nice performance, but it was definitely old school and seemed very out of place compared to the rest of the album. It did make for a nice slow dance tune. The song was tapped as a single.
- 1971's 'Look What We've Done To Love' b/w 'Heaven Is There To Guide Us' (Invictus catalog number Is 9097) # 101 pop
2.) You Ain't Lovin' Unless You're Lovin' (Ronald Dunbar - Edith Wayne - D. Dumas) - 3:00 rating: ** stars
'You Ain't Lovin' Unless You're Lovin'' was a pretty ballad showcasing Hunter's fragile tenor. The refrain was nice, but I found Hunter's performance to be on the shrill side.
3.) I Surrendered (Ronald Dunbar - Greg Perry) - 3:08 rating: **** stars
Gifted with the best voice in the group, 'I Surrendered' put the spotlight on Payne. In spite of the fact the song was slightly overdramatic, Payne had such an amazing voice, it simply didn't matter. Personally, this was one the tracks I would have tapped as a single.
4.) Hey There Lonely Girl (E. Shuman - L. Carr) - 3:26 rating: ** stars
I'm not certain, but think Mitchell had lead on 'Hey There Lonely Girl'. The problem with covering a tune like the Eddie Holman hit stemmed from the fact it was so well known there was no chance the cover was going to come off in a favorable light. Their version didn't even come close.
Unlike most of the album which featured one of the members on lead with backing from the others, the breezy 'If It Aint Love (It Don't Matter) ' showcased all four members taking a turn at the spotlight. On the basis of this one, Jones and Mitchell should have gotten more spotlight time, Regardless, it was one of the best performances on the album.
2.) Hotel (Scherrie Payne - Greg Perry) - 3:05 rating: ** stars
One of three tunes co-written by Payne, 'Hotel' sounded a bit like they were trying to pull a page out of Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong catalog of contemporary commentary. Payne and company actually sounded like they were simply trying too hard on this one, though the opening fuzz guitar was a nice touch.
3.) Touch Me Jesus (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Angelo Bond) - 3:37 rating: **** stars
I've never fully understand the reason Holland-Dozier-Holland used the Dunbar-Wayne credits on many of their early-'70s tunes. Why this one showed up under their true names is a complete mystery to me. Another album highlight, 'Touch Me Jesus' managed to blend Gospel-inspired lyrics with a blazing, highly commercial pop-soul melody. Easy to see why it was tapped as a single.
- 1971's 'Touch Me Jesus' b/w 'If It Ain't Love (It Don't Matter)' (Invictus catalog number 9090)
4.) Heaven Is Here To Guide Us (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Scherrie Payne) - 2:46 rating: *** stars
'Heaven Is Here To Guide Us' found the group at their funkiest, though Hunter didn't seem particularly comfortable on this one; his falsetto sounding strained and shrill throughout. (The 8th Day, another Invictus group, also recorded the tune.)
5.) Crumbs Off the Table (Ronald Dunbar - Edith Wayne - Scherrie Payne) - 2:46 rating: **** stars
With Payne again handling lead vocals, 'Crumbs Off the Table' was a classic slice of Invictus- styled soul. A great, slightly funky melody coupled with some clever lyrics and that great yes-I'm-pissed-off delivery from Payne, made this one of the album's stand-out performances. The only downside was the song was too short. Invictus actually released it as the group's debut in advance of the parent album.
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Thanks I Needed That
Country/State: Detroit, Michigan
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: SOLD
Price: SOLD $50.00
Prior to the release of their second album, the group released a non-LP single:
- 1972's 'Playing Games' b/w 'Let It Flow' (Invictus catalog number IS 9111)
Produced by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, 1972's "Thanks I Needed That" wasn't a major change in musical direction for the group. On a song-by-song basis, the sophomore set was probably more consistent than the debut with at least first-rate performances. Whereas the debut seemed intent on showcasing Scherrie Payne, this time around the spotlight was more equitable with all of the members getting a moment to shine. Ty Hunter's best performance was the entrancing ballad 'Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore'. Co-written and sung by Peal Jones, 'The Man I'll Never Have' had a nice old-school feel. Payne shined on 'Don't Let It Rain On Me'.
Needed That" track listing:
1.) V.I.P. (Angelo Bond - Greg Perry - General Johnson) - 3:55
Showcasing Scherrie Payne on lead vocals, 'V.I.P.' was a breezy, highly commercial ballad that would have made a nice single. Curiously the song was also released as a Payne solo track - appearing as the flip side to her 1972 Invictus debut 'It Ain't The World (It's The People In It)' (Invictus catalog number IS 9114). The 45 had a slightly different mix than the album cut. rating: **** stars
2.) A House Is Not a Home (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) - 3:17
With Pearl Jones handling lead, their cover of the Bacharach-David chestnut was simply too MOR-ish for their own good. Jones' vocal was nice enough, but the hideous quasi-Broadway-ish arrangement was tough to get through. rating: ** stars
3.) I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Scherrie Payne) - 3:44
One of the album's standout performances, 'I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore' had everything going for it including a sweet melody, one of Ty Hunter's better vocals, and some really interesting backing vocals from the rest of the group. Another one that had significant commercial potential. The tune's been sampled by a number of acts including Brotherly Love. rating: **** stars
4.) Horse and Rider (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Scherrie Payne) - 5:11
A bit heavy on the camp factor (it actually sounded a bit like a late-inning Supremes tune), and it took a moment to struggle through the cluttered opening, but Payne redeemed herself by turning in a nice vocal on this sweet ballad. rating: *** stars
5.) The Man I'll Never Have (Brenda Holt - Pearl Jones) - 3:08
'The Man I'll Never Have' was the first Jones composition to appear on a Glass House release. Musically it had a distinctive old-school, almost '50s feel that was probably better suited to Ty Hunter's voice (his brief appearance on the tune kicked it up a niotch). Still, Jones gave it her all and with all the attention being paid to Payne, Jones may have been the group's unrealized secret ingredient. rating: **** stars
1.) Thanks I Needed That (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) - 2:45
The performance credits on the second album get fuzzy with a couple of references indicating Sylvia Smith handled the lead vocals on this stomper. It certainly wasn't Scherrie Payne, but for some reason I always thought it was Pearl Jones. rating: **** stars
2.) Giving Up the Ring (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland - Ty Hunter) - 2:39
One of the few tracks featuring the guys, 'Giving Up the Ring' was a classic HDH tune with one of those cutesy lyrics wrapped in one of those patented bubbly melodies that I've always found irresistable. The song was also interesting as the only Ty Hunter writing credit in their catalog. rating: **** stars
3.) Don't Let It Rain On Me (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Scherrie Payne) - 3:28
Another catchy tune that sounded like a late-inning Supremes performance. Payne certainly had a killer voice and I've always liked the distorted lead guitar solos. rating: **** stars
4.) Stealing Moments from Another Woman's Life (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier) - 2:35
Previously released in the form of the group's sophomore 45, 'Stealing Moments from Another Woman's Life' showcased Jones on lead vocals. Kicked along by her growling voice and some nice fuzz guitar, this was one of their toughest and most impressive performances. rating: **** stars
5.) Let It Flow (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Scherrie Payne) - 2:57
Released as a single,
6.) Don't Go Looking for Something (You Don't Want To See) (Edith Wayne - Ronald Dunbar) - 3;33
The album spun off two singles:
- 1972's 'Let It Flow' b/w 'Giving Up This Ring' (Invictus catalog number IS 9118)
- 1972's 'Thanks I Needed That' b/w 'I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore' (Invictus catalog number IS 9129)
With Invictus running into business problems, that was it for the group.
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