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The Impressions One By One - Ridin' High (CD)

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The third CD in a series of four, featuring two original Impressions albums. Painstaking... more

The Impressions: One By One - Ridin' High (CD)

The third CD in a series of four, featuring two original Impressions albums. Painstaking research in Universal's vaults finally unearthed the original masters, presented here on CD for the first time.

This is our third CD by the Impressions featuring two original ABC Paramount albums on one CD. The first two were THE IMPRESSIONS (ABC 450) / THE NEVER ENDING IMPRESSIONS (ABC 468) - CDKEND 126 and KEEP ON PUSHING (ABC 493) / PEOPLE GET READY (ABC 505) - CDKEND 130.

The first album on ABC demonstrates that crucial period in the history of soul music where doo wop segues into what we now call "The Birth of Soul" (see CDKEND 123 & CDKEND 147). Their previous Vee-Jay material shows the same youthful innocence in Curtis' songwriting as many of the songs on the first ABC album. The difference lies in the groundbreaking arrangements created by Johnny Pate. His work with the Impressions and others is recognised as one of the keystones on which "uptown" soul music was built.

The first taste of a change in direction in Curtis' songwriting came with It's All Right, their biggest pop hit. This showed the first inklings of Curtis' famous anthems to black awareness that were to reach fruition in the third and fourth albums with Keep On Pushing and People Get Ready. The second album in many ways reflected a regression from what was to come, with its sprinkling of standards blended in with Curtis' more romantic side, such as the splendour of I'm So Proud.

With the fifth album there is a return to standards with just a few Curtis-penned gems. It's as though they were practising for the supper club circuit in case the hits dried up! Thankfully Curtis' songwriting skills were so powerful that the hits never did dry up and his songs are still revered to this day. Fortunately Johnny Pate's arrangements are so scintillating and Curtis' unique soaring falsetto so alluring that even the old chestnuts sound great. Sandwiched in between the standards is one of Curtis' most underrated songs Just One Kiss From You.

Finally to the sixth album we have a return to all Curtis material with a difference. Here you have new songs such as Ridin' High and Too Slow coupled with many songs made hits by others, now sung by Curtis himself, with lots of that special guitar sound only Curtis can play. In an interview with Alan Warner he explained how he re-tuned the guitar to suit himself as he preferred it to the standard tuning.

We have two more original albums to come with THE FABULOUS IMPRESSIONS (ABC 606) and WE'RE A WINNER (ABC 635) where Curtis' full crossover into black consciousness reached fruition and took him on to his famous solo recordings.

ABC released a final album called THE VERSATILE IMPRESSIONS which contained a selection of previously unreleased material. We are hoping to release a last CD mopping up all the unreleased material and other sides that did not make it to albums.
by Trevor Churchill

Article properties: The Impressions: One By One - Ridin' High (CD)

  • Interpret: The Impressions

  • Album titlle: One By One - Ridin' High (CD)

  • Label KENT UK

  • Genre R&B, Soul

  • Artikelart CD

  • EAN: 0029667215220

  • weight in Kg 0.1
The Impressions Gypsy Woman Without the richly burnished baritone leads of Jerry... more
"The Impressions"

The Impressions

Gypsy Woman

Without the richly burnished baritone leads of Jerry Butler, who had fronted their soulful breakthrough ballad For Your Precious Love (you'll find it on our 1958 disc), The Impressions were finding it hard to come up with a second hit. Butler had quit the Chicago group amidst jealousy from some members over Vee-Jay Records unexpectedly giving him featured billing on the single.

Chicago native Curtis Mayfield, all of 16 when he played guitar and sang high tenor behind The Ice Man on For Your Precious Love, took over lead duties for The Impressions. He'd attended Wells High School while living in Cabrini-Green, the massive housing project on Chicago's near North Side. Even before that, he doo-wopped with The Alphatones on the West Side and sang hymns with the Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers. That's where he took up guitar, tuning his axe to a very unusual F# chord that gave Mayfield his highly distinctive sound.

The Impressions brought Fred Cash up from Chattanooga, Tennessee to replace Butler. He'd been in The Roosters there along with tenor-singing brothers Arthur and Richard Brooks and baritone Sam Gooden, who now comprised the rest of The Impressions. With Mayfield's airy high tenor out front, the quintet stuck around Vee-Jay's Abner label for a short while, but A&R man Calvin Carter didn't care for Curtis as a front man, so they were dropped. The Impressions made a single for Bandera Records, owned by Vi Muszynski, who had brought them to Vee-Jay in the first place, but Listen didn't reverse their fading fortunes. Curtis took a break to tour as Butler's guitarist, the pair co-writing three major R&B sellers for Jerry at Vee-Jay in 1960-61: the R&B chart-topping He Will Break Your Heart, Find Another Girl, and I'm A Telling You.

"In the writing of them, we would mess around, he would wind up singing the hook with me. So we decided to record 'em that way, and it turned out very well," says Butler. "I think a lot of that had to do with the way Curtis played guitar."

Eddie Thomas brought The Impressions to the major label ABC-Paramount, recording in New York with arranger/conductor Roy Glover, Jr., who decorated Mayfield's exotic Gypsy Woman with castanets and hushed backing. Cut in July of 1961, Gypsy Woman was a #2 R&B/#20 pop hit late that year (another Mayfield ballad, As Long As You Love Me, was its flip side). The Impressions were back.

Various Street Corner Symphonies 1961 Vol.13
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/various-street-corner-symphonies-1961-vol.13.html
Copyright © Bear Family Records

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