ARTIST: The Chi-Lites
TITLE: 20 Greatest Hits
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 10: Give It Away (#88 US, #10 R&B), Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) (#72 US, #8 R&B), (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People (#26 US, #4 R&B, #32 UK), Have You Seen Her (#3 US, #1 R&B, #3 UK), Oh Girl (#1 US, #1 R&B, #14 UK), The Coldest Days of My Life (#47 US, #8 R&B), A Letter to Myself (#33 US, #3 R&B), Stoned Out of My Mind (#30 US, #2 R&B), Homely Girl (#54 US, #3 R&B, #5 UK), There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is at the Conference Table) (#63 US, #8 R&B), Too Good to Be Forgotten (#10 UK), Toby / That’s How Long (#78 US, #7 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: That’s about everything right there.
LINEUP: Marshall Thompson, Robert ‘Squirrell’ Lester, Eugene Record, Creadel ‘Red’ Jones.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Outstanding early 70’s soul vocal group was almost equal to the Temptations of the time.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While each hit by the Chi-Lites falls into pretty distinct categories (funky, pleading, socially aware) and each category has a similar sound (especially when “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl” hit it big), the Chi-Lites Brunswick singles catalog is deep and mighty.
Eugene Record was the mastermind behind most of the hits – writing and producing the tracks sometimes with help by Barbara Acklin. The sound was great with Red Jones with the bass lines, and Record with the soaring tenor and funky backing musicians from Chicago. During their heyday they were snappy dressers with matching suits and afros. They had it all – for a while.
Their later hits featured some missteps, and thankfully this ends after they started to shed members due to Brunswick’s trouble. This is a good collection for those who dig the early 70’s soul sounds.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Marshall Thompson still has a version of the group going.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A-: A couple of meh tracks, but when they were on top of their game they were great.