Category: The Impressions

The Impressions – People Get Ready: The Best of Curtis Mayfield’s Impressions

ARTIST: The Impressions

TITLE: People Get Ready: The Best of Curtis Mayfield’s Impressions

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Top 20: Gypsy Woman (#20 US, #2 R&B), It’s All Right (#4 US, #1 R&B), I’m So Proud (#14 US, #14 R&B), Keep On Pushing (#10 US), You Must Believe Me (#15 US), Amen (#7 US), People Get Ready (#14 US, #3 R&B), Woman’s Got Soul (#29 US, #9 R&B), Meeting Over Yonder (#48 US, #12 R&B), Can’t Satisfy (#65 US, #12 R&B). You Always Hurt Me (#96 US, #20 R&B), We’re a Winner (#14 US, #1 R&B), We’re Rolling On (#59 US, #17 R&B), I Loved and I Lost (#61 US, #9 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really. It’s packed with B-sides and deep cuts too.

LINEUP: Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden, Fred Cash. Session musicians. Richard and Arthur Brooks sang with them early in their ABC career.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A great and deep collection of the ABC / Paramount years for the Impressions, when Curtis Mayfield masterminded the sound and style.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Surviving the loss of lead singer Jerry Butler and moving to Chicago to record for ABC / Paramount, Curtis Mayfield guided the Impressions through the 60’s.

Mayfield was the songwriter for the Impressions and also wrote solo hits for Butler, and using his songs and production by Johnny Pate the vocal trio (they lost the Brooks brothers after 1962) went from standard R&B towards more socially conscious and uplifting songs, and a more contemporary soul sound, Everyone now knows “People Get Ready”, but from the original “Gypsy Woman” through “We’re a Winner” the group evolved without losing quality.

This collection scoops up 40 tracks recorded for ABC / Paramount before they left for Mayfield’s own record company. Mostly a singles act until 1967, this is the best way to experience the Impressions mid 60’s era. It’s full of great songs you know and gems hidden away.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Mayfield started to focus on albums with a message starting with We’re a Winner. The title of the album was also the motto for Curtom Records, Mayfield’s label

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE: A: One of the keystone soul acts of the 60’s gets the collection they deserve.

The Impressions – Their Complete Vee-Jay Recordings

ARTIST: The Impressions          impressions vj

TITLE:  Their Complete Vee-Jay Recordings

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: For Your Precious Love (#11, #3 R&B), Come Back My Love (#29 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really, no

LINEUP: Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks, Arthur Brooks

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early work from the long-standing soul vocal group – this features original lead singer Jerry Butler and focuses mostly on their ballad work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “For Your Precious Love” was one of the classics in the doo-wop era, and rightfully it propelled the Impressions and Jerry Butler’s career. It’s sublime and elegant, and doesn’t focus on many tropes that vocal groups relied on in that era.

Still, follow-up records didn’t do much, and Butler got an offer to split, so he did. Curtis Mayfield helped Butler with his solo career, made some bank, and got the Impressions back on track with his vision of 60’s soul.

Had the Impressions not been such an important group, I probably would have made this a quick hitter. Nothing else really stands out and they do get formulaic after a while, though Mayfield’s guitar work does stand out a bit. For a non doo-wop junkie, you can pass on most.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They were originally The Roosters.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. 

GRADE: C: They really get formulaic and stuck in the sleepy ballad mode for a long time. I exiled most of this.