Tuesday, 7 September 2010

“Natural Four/Heaven Right Here On Earth’ by NATURAL FOUR. A Review Of Their Two Classic Seventies Soul Albums Now On A 2010 CD With Added Bonuses.

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


“…What’s On The Inside…” - Natural Four/Heaven Right Here On Earth by NATURAL FOUR (2010 Soul Brother CD Remaster)

Putting two Curtom Records LP rarities back out in the marketplace (and with 4 bonus tracks tagged on) smacks of a good idea to me. THE NATURAL FOUR aren't as well known as their label mate Curtis Mayfield for sure - but these two platters contain wonderful Seventies Soul - and in this great sound quality - it's a proper blast to hear them again. Here are all natural details... Released April 2010 in the UK (reissued September 2010) - Soul Brother CD SBPJ 41 (Barcode 5013993674122) breaks down as follows (76:33 minutes):

1. Can This Be For Real
2. You Bring Out The Best In Me
3. Try Love Again
4. You Can’t Keep Running Away
5. This Is What’s Happening Now
6. Love That Really Counts
7. Try To Smile
8. Love’s Society
9. Things Will Be Better Tomorrow
Tracks 1 to 9 are their debut album "Natural Four" issued 1974 in the USA on Curtom CRS 8600 (No UK release)

10. Heaven Right Here On Earth
11. Love’s So Wonderful
12. Count On Me
13. Baby Come On
14. What Do You Do
15. Give This Love A Try
16. What’s Happening Here
17. While You’re Away
Tracks 10 to 17 are their 2nd album "Heaven Right Here On Earth" issued 1975 in the USA on Curtom CU 5004 and August 1975 in the UK on Curtom K 56142

Track 18 is a rare USA-only 7" single issued in late 1973 on Curtom CR 1984 - it's a cover version of Curtis Mayfield's "Eddie You Should Know Better". The original Mayfield version is on his 1972 "Superfly" soundtrack album – here it’s given a different arrangement here by The Natural Four.
Tracks 19, 20 and 21 are "I Think I Found The Girl", "How Have You Been" and "Get It Over With" - taken from their 3rd album "Nightchaser" issued in 1976 in the USA on Curtom CU 5008 and April 1976 in the UK on Curtom K 56224

Charly reissued "Natural Four" on CD in 1996 and Sequel reissued both albums in 2000 - but this is the first time they've been paired together and had 4 bonus tracks thrown in too (from their 3rd LP). But the big draw on these albums for Seventies Soul and Funk fans is the songwriting genius and involvement of LeROY HUTSON - not to mention the fact that original vinyl issues of these 2-Step monsters have been costing punters huge amounts of money for years. The booklet is a fairly basic 8-page colour affair with liner notes by Laurence Prangell and musician/album credits. It doesn't say who remastered what and where but the sound quality is superb - very clear, clean and good on the ear.

This is classy Soul - sort of Philly International meets Cadet meets Brunswick - funky love songs one minute ("Try Love Again" - lyrics above) and social commentary tunes the next ("Things Will Be Better Tomorrow"). When they slow it down on "Can This Be Real" (a R&B chart hit Stateside in December 1973) or the lovely "Heaven Right Here On Earth", you're reminded of The Dells, The Chi-Lites, The Main Ingredient, Blue Magic and of course - LeRoy Hutson solo stuff. There's even a Hall & Oates vibe going on in there too.

Genius choice goes to the lone 45 cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Eddie You Should No Better" sounding not unlike a more string-filled outtake - it's superb and a real rediscovery. They've even included the better dancer tracks from the disco-fuelled 3rd album which sounds like AWB with Ben E King in places, but you're likely to return to the first two albums more because that's where the real quality is...

Very tasty indeed - another excellent reissue from Soul Brother Records of the UK…

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