Sunday, 10 October 2010

"Tasteful Soul"/"Bitter Sweet" by THE MAIN INGREDIENT. A Review of the 2010 CD Reissue Of These Rare Seventies Soul LPs.

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:


“…Before You Do Anything Rash…Dig This…”

Released August 2010, this mid-price CD makes available two lesser-seen Seventies albums by the New York Soul group THE MAIN INGREDIENT. SuperBird Records SBIRD 0027 CD breaks down as follows (68:16 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 10 are “Tasteful Soul”, released March 1971 in the USA on RCA Victor LSP-4412
[Lead Singer: Donald McPherson]

Tracks 11 to 20 are “Bitter Sweet”, released June 1972 in the USA on RCA Victor LSP-4677
[Lead Singer: Cuba Gooding, Snr.]

Excepting the track “Brotherly Love” (which is on the “L.T.D.” album from 1970), this release will also allow you to sequence the following five USA 45’s issued around the albums:

1. “Need Her Love (Mr. Bugler)” b/w “I’m Better Off Without You”, released 1970 on RCA Victor 74-0382
2. “I’m So Proud” b/w “Brotherly Love”, released December 1970 on RCA Victor 74-0401
3. “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)” b/w “Magic Shoes”, released April 1971 on RCA Victor 74-0456
4. “Everybody Plays The Fool” b/w “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)”, released July 1972 on RCA Victor 74-0731
5. “You Got What It Takes (If You Want It)” b/w “Traveling”, released January 1973 on RCA Victor 74-0856

The 8-page colour booklet has detailed liner notes by JERRY EWING on the history of the albums and the band itself. It’s mastered by ROGER LOMAS at Ro-Lo Studios and although the sound is good in places (upfront bass), the vocals often feel ever so slightly distorted at the top end - muffled and cluttered – almost like it’s been mastered off good vinyl and cleaned up. It doesn’t mention master tapes anywhere, so I don’t know… The best way of putting is that it’s very good in places – it’s just not great… and it’s kind of sloppy too not to include the B-side of “I’m So Proud” as a bonus track. Edsel would have done this better…

Highlights include their lovely cover of “I’m So Proud” by The Impressions (a Curtis Mayfield tune) on the very accomplished “Tasteful Soul” album, while the equally impressive “Bitter Sweet” LP gave up the huge Number 2 hit “Everybody Plays The Fool” (lyrics above). There’s also covers of two David Gates/Bread tracks – “Make It With You” and “Look At Me” and a top ballad in “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” – a tune initially featured in the Sixties Broadway musical production of “The Roar Of The Grease Paint – The Smell Of The Crowd”. Tony Bennett had a hit with the track in late 1964 – it’s the sort of song that lends itself to soulful interpretation.

But for me there’s two absolute nuggets on here that sum up The Main Ingredient’s sound (a lush Delfonics, Chi-Lites, Dells type of vocal-group soft soul) – the slow and tasty “That’s What Fate Will Do” and the fabulous “You’ve Got To Take It (If You Want It)” which was co-written with Ed Townshend of Marvin Gaye’s “Let's Get It On” fame. Both are worth the price of admission alone.

The 1st album also benefited greatly from the beautiful vocals of Donald McPherson who tragically succumbed to Leukaemia in July 1971 – only months after the album’s release. His replacement was band collaborator Cuba Gooding Snr (his son is Cuba Gooding Jnr, the Oscar winning actor) – an equally impressive set of pipes.

For lovers of lush vocal-group soul – strings and brass galore – then this is a nice release – and despite my niggles about the sound quality on some tracks – it’s recommended.

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