Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Little Knight Music

For me Gladys Knight began around 1972 as I beginning to hear new music for myself, listening to the radio, watching what were all too brief muisc shows on tv and even venturing out with my parents and siblings to that  institution called "The Record Store" to buy new music.

I think - cos it's a mighty long time ago - the first album I heard by her and her band The Pips was Greatest Hits and the first I remember getting myself because it was an import was the British compilation Help Me Make It Through The Night which was issued in 1973 which I still own followed by that first Buddah album 'Imagination'.

Of late I've gotten around to collecting the five cd series issued by Motown UK in 2006 that features 10 albums by Gladys knight and the pips spread with two albums per cd.
It's not like I'm unfamiliar with some of these titles as I have lps of them some in mono as issued by Tamla-Motown in the UK and so the stereo is new to me although I'd of preferred to have mono for the earlier albums as it's that nothing in centre, with all else hard left and hard right stuff that is so distracting especially on headphones.

Following a period whilst signed to two labels releasing the 45's Letter Full Of Tears and Every Beat Of My Heart re-recorded for their Motown Greatest Hits album, they signed up in 1965 to Motown, recognizing the talent but it's fair to say Berry Gordy didn't really know what to do with them.

Everybody Needs Love issued in 1967 was their first Motown album and is a mixture of songs written for them and covers showing from the get go the call and response Gospel infused style they were to become famous for.The Tittle track, Take Me In Your Arms (and love me) ans well as they take on I heard It Through The Grapevine. The first cd couples this with Feelin' Bluesy from 1968 which is all covers as Berry Gordy didn't want then muscling on the Supremes territory but this nonetheless proved to be great vehicle for displaying Gladys voice on tracks like It Should Of been Me (Yvonne Fair had a top 5 UK hits with this in 1976) and The End Of Our Road.

The second disc in the series sees Silk 'N Soul issued in 1968 and is another covers but they were teamed with Norman Whitfield who just put another of a twist to enable the material to become theirs.with songs such as The Look Of Love, I Wish It Would Rain and Every little Bit Hurts.
1969 saw the issue of the second album on this cd, Nitty Gritty, a rousing piece of psychedelic Soul that contains not only the title track, a re-interpretation of Cloud Nine and Didn't You Know You have to Cry Sometime.

Disc three is a gem containing the If You Were My Woman and Standing Ovation albums from 1971.
The first album is a mixture of songs written for the group such as the title track and I don't Want To do Wrong as well as covers such as Let It Be and One Less Bell To Answer.
Standing Ovation was an album of covers - the group felt very much pushed back and were to leave for Buddah Records soon - but among the covers includes their sensual remake of Help Me Make It Through The Night and Make Me The Woman Go Home To written for by Clay McMurray

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