The Independents: Just As Long - The Complete Wand Recordings 1972-74 (CD)
The Independents were a pretty big deal in the soul world in the early and mid-70s, with an impressive eight R&B chart hits, including a #1 smash – five of which crossed over to the Hot 100 – and two bestselling albums. They had highly capable lead vocalists in Charles Jackson, Marvin Yancy, Maurice Jackson (no relation) and Helen Curry, and in founder members Jackson and Yancy a formidable writing team that kept the hits coming for nearly three years. They also enjoyed the sponsorship of Chi-Town legend Jerry Butler, for whom Jackson wrote several 1970s hits. As prime exponents of Chicago group soul, there aren’t many who can equal their excellence.
This month Kent brings you “Just As Long”, a collection that finally gathers together all of the group’s recordings. An act with such outstanding qualities in every department has long deserved an anthology, so it’s something of a surprise they have been so poorly served in the CD era until now. Anyone who was buying mainstream soul in the early 70s will need no reminder of how great the group’s Wand 45s are. Time has done nothing to impair the brilliance of such hits as ‘Baby I’ve Been Missing You’, the chart-topping ‘Leaving Me’ and their fabulous two-part debut ‘Just As Long As You Need Me’. These and others like them are what kept Chicago soul in the public eye at a time when the Philly sound dominated. Rather than wait until their career was on a downward spiral, the Independents broke up while they were still full of potential and scoring big on the charts. It’s a shame they didn’t record more, but what they left is all here in this vital compilation.
Article properties: The Independents: Just As Long - The Complete Wand Recordings 1972-74 (CD)
|Independents - Just As Long - The Complete Wand Recordings 1972-74 (CD) CD 1|
|01||I Just Want To Be There|
|02||Our Love Has Got To Come Together|
|03||Can't Understand It|
|04||Just As Long As You Need Me Parts 1 & 2|
|06||Baby I've Been Missing You|
|07||I Love You, Yes I Do|
|08||Couldn't Hear Nobody Say (I Love You Like I Do)|
|09||Here I Am|
|10||It's All Over|
|12||The First Time We Met|
|13||Show Me How|
|14||Arise And Shine (Let's Get It On) (Vocal)|
|15||I Found Love On A Rainy Day|
|16||Let This Be A Lesson To You|
|17||No Wind, No Rain|
|18||The Same Old Way|
|19||In The Valley Of My World|
|20||One Woman Do Right Man|
|22||I Love You, Yes I Do (Tom Moulton Remix)|
Never one to rest on his laurels, singer Jerry Butler knew first-rate songs were the key to sustaining his hitmaking ways. He founded a songwriters’ workshop that gave a boost to several talented young Chicago composers, including Chuck Jackson (not the big-voiced New Yorker who hit with Any Day Now) and Marvin Yancy.
This Chuck Jackson, born March 22, 1945 in Greenville, South Carolina, was the brother of Rev. Jesse Jackson. At one of the reverend’s events, he met Yancy, born May 31, 1950 in the Windy City. The two sat down at Butler’s workshop and wrote Just As Long As You Need Me. Former Impressions manager Eddie Thomas convinced Chuck to sing it himself. That’s how The Independents were born.
Chuck and Marvin, who doubled on piano, added Maurice Jackson (no relation to Chuck, he was born June 12, 1944 in Chi-Town and had been a solo artist with a Donny Hathaway-arranged single, Lucky Fellow, on the Lakeside and Candle Lite logos) and Helen Curry. Thomas’ judgment was confirmed when the uplifting Just As Long As You Need Me, Part 1 climbed to #8 R&B in the spring of 1972 on New York-based Wand Records (Jerry’s brother, guitarist Billy Butler, shared authorship). I Just Want To Be There charted for them before year’s end.
The Jackson/Yancy-penned Leaving Me vaulted to #1 on the R&B charts and #21 pop for The Independents on Wand during the spring of ’73. Cut at Paul Serrano’s P.S. Studios in Chicago with arranger Tom-Tom Washington providing a lush backdrop, it was a ballad with an easy sway. Leaving Me went gold, making The Independents stars. Utilizing Chicago’s top arrangers (notably Floyd Morris, Richard Evans, and Tom-Tom) in their quest for more hits, they came right back with the #4 R&B charter Baby I’ve Been Missing You that summer and a #12 R&B entry in the fall, It’s All Over. Yancy had receded into a behind-the-scenes role, Chicagoan Eric Thomas taking his place for The Independents’ sophomore set.
1974 brought three more R&B hits for the group, all again on Wand: The First Time We Met, Arise And Shine (Let’s Get It On), and the #7 seller Let This Be A Lesson To You. Before long, Chuck and Marvin would have another priority that finished off The Independents: masterminding the rise to stardom of Natalie Cole.
- Bill Dahl -