Every Tuesday, the Analog Kid blog goes back in time and features some groovy R&B/soul songs from a specific year. Sometimes you’ll hear songs from individual artists, and other times you’ll get an entire full-length classic LP ripped directly from the Analog Kid’s vast vinyl vault. Warning: by R&B/soul, I also mean disco. I could go Patrick Hernandez on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
Groovy Tuesday: 1972
The Soul Children: “Hearsay” (West/Colbert)
From the album Genesis
Stax Records, 1972
The Soul Children had a string of minor hits for Stax Records in the late ’60s and early ’70s. “Hearsay” was one of their best-known songs, reaching #5 on the Billboard R&B charts and almost hitting the Top 40 on the pop charts. The Soul Children carried on until 1979, but sadly they never achieved the level of popularity that their talents warranted.
The Stylistics: “You’ll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)” (Bacharach/David)
From the album Round 2
Avco Records, 1972
Russell Thompkins, Jr. had one of the most recognizable voices in ’70s pop, and his amazing falsetto helped to establish The Stylistics as one of the most successful soul bands of the era. “You’ll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)” was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and it peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.
Curtis Mayfield: “Freddie’s Dead” (Mayfield)
From the album Super Fly
Curtom/Buddah Records, 1972
“Freddie’s Dead” was the lead single from Super Fly, one of the most influential records of the ’70s. The song went all the way to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and also earned Mayfield a Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues song.
Sad but true: my first exposure to “Freddie’s Dead” came via Fishbone and their Truth And Soul album. I imagine a lot of college kids from the late ’80s could make the same claim.
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway: “Where Is The Love” (MacDonald/Salter)
From the album Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
Atlantic Records, 1972
It took almost three years for Roberta Flack’s 1969 version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” to reach #1. An edited version of the song was released as a single after its popularity soared due to its inclusion in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty For Me, and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” finally hit #1 in April of 1972. “Where Is The Love” capitalized on Flack’s new-found success and soared into the Top 10 in July. Flack and Hathaway would team up again for “The Closer I Get To You,” a #2 single from 1978. Sadly, the long-troubled Hathaway committed suicide shortly after the song’s success.
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose: “Too Late To Turn Back Now” (Cornelius)
From the album Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
United Artists Records, 1972
I will always have a soft spot for Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (and for sister Billie Jo as well, who somehow was left out of the band’s name!). The group only made two proper albums before disbanding, but those albums contained some of the top soul singles of the ’70s. “Too Late To Turn Back Now” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1972, and I love the song so much that I surprised my wife with a live version of it at our wedding reception. My band still drops “Too Late To Turn Back Now” into our set on occasion, and I always see at least a few people in the audience recognize it and smile whenever we play this classic track.
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Fishbone: “Freddie’s Dead” (Mayfield)
From the album Truth And Soul
Columbia Records, 1988
Roberta Flack: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (MacColl)
From the album First Take
Atlantic Records, 1969
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway: “The Closer I Get To You” (Mtume/Lucas)
From the album Blue Lights In The Basement
Atlantic Records, 1977