What happened to the group singers? As we celebrate Black Music Month, I must ask what happened to the soul groups? Once upon a time there were trios and quartets. Remember The Four Tops, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Spinners, The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, The Emotions, The Chi Lites, The Supremes and so many more. They started, sometimes known as doo wop singers, and then the main singer left for solo careers like Diana Ross and Teddy Pendergrass. These were the pioneer days of Rhythm and Blues. A couple of nights ago, I was viewing Richard Steel on public television talking about soul music and the singing groups. Where are the singing groups who danced and harmonized on stage and were the sounds of the blue night parties. Remember?
In Chicago there is a sound -- Soul. And it was largely pioneered by The Impressions, started by Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. The Impressions sing the music that Curtis Mayfield wrote. Their first song, a real gem of a classic, "For Your Precious Love" was an instant hit and is still a signature song sung exclusively by Jerry Butler.
Soul Music of this sort is appreciated today in European filled stadiums more than in the United States. James Brown told me once, that he was a King in Europe.
The Impressions are quintessential Chicago Soul. Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield both became solo artists and the group stay in tack as they sold 60 million records around the world. The group continued with some of the most distinctive vocal music under Mayfield’s guidance. Their style is airy, feather-light harmonies and understated Latin rhythms. Their sound is sweet and rich with a soulful thanks to their grounding in gospel tradition. Their music is classic soul, classic r&B.
Their three part vocal trade offs were common in gospel but rare in R& B at the time they made it popular. The group was originally called The Roosters. Their manager renamed them. Their first hit was For Your Precious Love. They went to New York to record for ABC Paramount and their fist single Gypsy woman was a smash. They appear on stage as elegant gentlemen who stand and sing real music with not so much electronic and flashing lights.
The trio of elegant gents is comprised of Fred Cash, Sam Gooden original members and Reginald Torian Their biggest hits include “It’s All Right” ” and “We’re a Winner” Their music is best known as message music of the civil rights movement. “People Get Ready” is rated as one of the greatest songs of all times. They are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
They continue to pack audiences worldwide and appear live in concert on June 30 for one night only with Aretha Franklin at The ARie Crown Theater.
Their music is uplifting, determined and affirmative. At the NDIGO GALA you will hear real soul music. It’s a show you don’t want to miss.
For Legends de Soul Call tickets call, Ticket master at the Arie Crown Theater or visit ndigo.com. It will be a soulful evening to remember.